Friday, September 23, 2011

Damned if you do, damned if you do.

I have a problem.  I care too much.

I guess that's what you'd call it. After a family member told me they wanted my help and I started making the effort to get the changes they wanted, they backed off and said that I should too.  They called my efforts on their behalf meddling. Helping people is really confusing.  Should be simple but it's not.

When someone tells me about a problem, I tend to want to help them fix it.  Sometimes, though, they don't want it fixed.  They just want to complain about it and do nothing about it and that's something that is hard for me to comprehend.  My way of thinking is, if you want to complain, then take the steps to fix it so you won't have a reason to complain anymore.  I don't understand why someone will complain about the same things over and over but never take the obvious steps to fix the problem.  For example, there was a woman I knew who constantly complained about how horribly her ex-husband was treating her and her child.  Then the next minute, she was allowing her child to spend extra time with the ex, outside of court recommendations.  I'd say, "Do you not remember what he did to you a few weeks ago?  What he made that child go through?"  And she'd say, "Oh, he's been good lately," as if she'd forgotten that just a few months before, he'd been "being good" then, too.  She'd cave and let him see the child for extra time and he'd start right back up with the horrible behavior.  However, me pointing that out made ME the bad person.  Things haven't quite been the same between us since.

Other times, I see someone mistreated or hear about someone being taken advantage of and it breaks my heart; whether I know them or not.  I want to step in and protect those who are unaware.  But when I say something, I tend to get a "Why should you care?" lecture.  "These people are adults and could figure it out themselves if they were smart enough."  As if that absolved me of any responsibility.  It's like saying that if people didn't want to be mistreated or taken advantage of, they wouldn't allow it to happen to them.  Isn't that like "victim blame"?

I guess it goes back to the days when I was being mistreated on a daily basis.  No one spoke up for me and I didn't know how to speak up for myself.  So when I see these things happen to others, I feel like I have to say something. 

But as much as people say that more people in the world need to help each other out, I find more often than not that it all backfires.  I start helping someone and halfway through, they back out and make me look like an idiot.  I tell someone who is complaining how to change the circumstance they are complaining about and suddenly I'm "judging" them.  I mention that I want to help people who don't know they are being taken advantage of and I am told, "Why should you care?  It doesn't affect you."  It's very depressing and doesn't bode well for my outlook on the world.

I really don't know how NOT to care.  I try not to let this deter me from... well, being ME.  I try not to let these things make me lose faith in humanity.  I try.  Sometimes, it doesn't work.

Today I've lost faith.  I'll eventually get it back and then sometime in the future, I'll go down the same road as I get burned again.  And again.  I keep trying to tell myself that if I've helped just ONE person, REALLY HELPED one person, then all these instances of feeling hopelessly defeated would be worth it.

But for today, I'm just lost.

Peace, happiness, and (eventual) faith,


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