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Honesty without compassion........

Old 12-24-2007, 08:33 AM
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Honesty without compassion........

I am both in AA and Alanon, and I receive weekly readings online from a place called Wisdom of the Rooms. Today's reading is copied below. I found it very meaningful, because my sponsor mentioned to me that we can often "take our own inventories AT others in recovery. Although it is written by and for recovering A's, it applies to me as a recovering Codie as well.

"Honesty without compassion is hostility.

Before recovery, I had a lot of resentments I was unaware of. The burden of these buried feelings was heavy, and they were often expressed in a passive aggressive way when I gave my opinion or offered unasked for advice. Thinking I was just being honest, I've now come to see I was often lashing out and being mean.

When I started working my AA program, I discovered a tool for uncovering, discovering and eventually discarding these resentments. It's called a fearless and thorough 4th Step. When I first started it, I imagined I had one or two resentments at most, but I soon found that I had well over a hundred! No wonder I was so spiteful.

By working the rest of the steps, I've been able to let go of these resentments and something miraculous has happened - I've developed compassion for others (and myself). Freed from petty resentments, I now identify with the struggles we all share as we make our way through life. I'm not better than, nor worse than anyone else, and compassion now allows me to be open with and thus deeply connected to others.

Today my honesty is based on true compassion. "
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Old 12-24-2007, 08:46 AM
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That will be printed out and posted on my bulletin board by my computer and it will serve as a good reminder before I post here.

Thank you for sharing this Miss Communicat!
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Old 12-24-2007, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by miss communicat View Post
I am both in AA and Alanon, and I receive weekly readings online from a place called Wisdom of the Rooms. Today's reading is copied below. I found it very meaningful, because my sponsor mentioned to me that we can often "take our own inventories AT others in recovery. Although it is written by and for recovering A's, it applies to me as a recovering Codie as well.

"Honesty without compassion is hostility.

Hi Miss:

Honesty with compassion is the ideal. However, if I had to choose between honesty without compassion or compassion without honesty, I would choose the former rather than the later. It's much more difficult to speak the truth and be honest than it is to be compassionate. Nobody is going to hate you for being compassionate, but people may even kill you, in some instances, for speaking the truth. That is why we have witness protection programs. The most difficult thing in life is to be honest with yourself and honest with others, and that is especially true for addicts and codependents because of their hypersensitivity.

Compassion is one thing and sympathy is something quite different, but most addicts and codependents don't understand the difference. When I fall down and scrape my knees, it's my God, out of his compassion and mercy, who has provided me with band aids and antiseptic. If I am looking for sympathy from Him, I am looking in the wrong place because God doesn't love whiners. He expects me to get up, dust myself off, put the band-aid on, thank Him for the band-aid, and move on with my life. If I sit there feeling sorry for myself, or expecting others to feel sorry for me, then I am just going to waste my life sitting on the pity pot. On more than one occasion here at SR, I have seen pity being dressed up as support, or compassion, or something else, but the emperor has no clothes. Take the clothes off and it's nothing more than pity masquerading as something else. As I have said before, when people get done sitting on the pity pot, they need to remember to flush. I am just being honest here, but only honest people can appreciate honesty. People who are looking for sympathy are not looking for truth and honesty.

Peace.

Last edited by ccirider; 12-24-2007 at 01:29 PM.
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Old 12-24-2007, 02:38 PM
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I have to agree that if I could have one or the other only, I would choose honesty. But, it was not so long ago I might have made a different choice. The honesty of others on this board has sometimes forced me to be honest with myself. And after being dishonest with myself most of my life, that was incredibly painful. There is no easy, painless way to grow, unfortunately.

Having said that, I also think that both honesty and compassion are very subjective. My truth may not be your truth, nor does my idea of compassion always match what others consider compassionate.

I can say that in two years on SR, the times I have witnessed malicious or ill-intentioned posts have been extremely rare. On the other hand, I have seen quite a bit of hostility toward opinions that people don't want to hear. And I have been guilty of both expressing unpopular opinions, and reacting angrily to those I don't agree with. Just more proof that none of us would be here if we didn't still have things to work on.

L
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Old 12-24-2007, 04:36 PM
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Something I heard my grand-sponsor say many times:


"Truth without love is cruelty and confrontation without a real answer is brutality."
~Don P.

Jim
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Old 12-24-2007, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by LaTeeDa View Post
I have to agree that if I could have one or the other only, I would choose honesty. But, it was not so long ago I might have made a different choice. The honesty of others on this board has sometimes forced me to be honest with myself. And after being dishonest with myself most of my life, that was incredibly painful. There is no easy, painless way to grow, unfortunately.

Having said that, I also think that both honesty and compassion are very subjective. My truth may not be your truth, nor does my idea of compassion always match what others consider compassionate.

I can say that in two years on SR, the times I have witnessed malicious or ill-intentioned posts have been extremely rare. On the other hand, I have seen quite a bit of hostility toward opinions that people don't want to hear. And I have been guilty of both expressing unpopular opinions, and reacting angrily to those I don't agree with. Just more proof that none of us would be here if we didn't still have things to work on.

L
you've really expanded on the writing so eloquently that I am now thinking over the nuances of compassion and honesty. My current sponsor suggests that I strive to be truthful, and I carry in my mind the "rule of 3', before uttering MY truth to another. Its along the same lines as checking my motives. I ask myself first:

1. Is it true?
2. Is it kind?
3. Is it nescessary?

Now, being a hair-splitting rationalizer, I can twist each bit of unasked for advice into a truly nescessary kindness, but I am getting slower on the draw. This is goood.
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Old 12-24-2007, 07:47 PM
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eggsssactly

3. Is it nescessary?


eggsssactly, Some times you can see the light bulb go on, while the person is shareing. And who am I to hold up a (dark mirror.)

Being raised in a shame based violent family, a person would be very wise not to get up in my face with dark sarcasm, or brutal honesty.
I believe in A CAKE OF HONESTY, FROSTED WITH COMPASSION.
Some people have been beatin down enough, before they came here.
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Old 12-24-2007, 09:23 PM
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Oh my gosh! I had just been posting all my frustrations with my mother on the acoa board. I have wanted all day to just stuff a sock in her mouth. Worse yet, holding my toungue is getting harder and the moment I cross the line and be "honest" with her, I will hurt her terribly and I will feel like a villian.

I am so glad I came across this. It just stopped me from doing something awful.
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Old 12-24-2007, 10:39 PM
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Originally Posted by jimhere View Post
"Truth without love is cruelty and confrontation without a real answer is brutality."
Thank you for such a wonderful quote. My faith tells me to speak the truth in love. Unfortunately, my lack of patience with others who are "stuck" can sometimes make me come across as harsh or blunt. A real answer? I will have to ponder on that one. I confront my AH when I need to set boundaries. Why? Because the real answer is I can only take so much of his alcoholic nonsense, and then I have to draw the line for my own sanity. Is that the real answer for me? Yes. Is that the real answer for him? Unfortunately, no.
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Old 12-24-2007, 10:53 PM
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Originally Posted by miss communicat View Post
I ask myself first:

1. Is it true?
2. Is it kind?
3. Is it nescessary?
Mine are a little different, but not much.

1. Is it true?
2. Is it mean-spirited?
3. Is it necessary?

Not being mean-spirited isn't the same as being kind. I may or may not be kind to somebody when I am being truthful and honest, depending on the situation, but I don't ever want to be mean-spirited.

Peace.
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Old 12-25-2007, 04:10 PM
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Before I can determine if the words I say hold a "necesary truth" for another person to hear I first have to determine how it is that I came by the wisdom with which I can _know_ what is necesary for another person.

I always _knew_ what my alcoholic ex-wife needed to hear. I _knew_ the truth she needed to confront. In al-anon I have learned that I was in denial of my own arrogance. My ego had gotten so out of control that I deceived myself into believing i was _her_ Higher Power.

I know today that only a licensed health care professional has the education, schooling and experience to give advice to another person. For me to take on the role of a doctor when I am not one is the ultimate act of arrogance. To think that because certain truths were important for me to hear at one time makes those truths also important for another person to hear is an extreme example of showing contempt for that other persons individuality.

Alcoholics use their mouths to try and control others thru guilt and manipulation. As a codie, when I am active in my disease, I use my mouth to try and control others thru advice. Both addictions are diseases of the ego. The alcoholic thinks he's so smart he can talk anybody into anything, the "co-dependent" thinks they're so smart they can fix anybody by telling them their "necesary truths".

My sponsor tells me it is not necesary for me to believe in a Higher Power. Every time I open my mouth and give advice the whole world can see that I _do_ believe in a Higher Power, and that I believe It is me.

Mike
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Old 12-25-2007, 05:09 PM
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DesertEyes, thank you. Just as I had to learn I could not rescue my XABF, I need to remember that I cannot rescue or control anyone on here. Sheesh, I can't keep my own life under control; how could I have the arrogance to think I could someone else's life.
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Old 12-25-2007, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by DesertEyes View Post
Before I can determine if the words I say hold a "necesary truth" for another person to hear I first have to determine how it is that I came by the wisdom with which I can _know_ what is necesary for another person.
Hi Mike:

I can't speak for Miss, but I certainly didn't interpret her statements the way you are. She never claimed that she knew what is necessary for another human being to hear.

1. Is it true?
2. Is it kind?
3. Is it necessary?

It's just a checklist that she goes through before she opens her mouth.

Originally Posted by DesertEyes View Post
I always _knew_ what my alcoholic ex-wife needed to hear. I _knew_ the truth she needed to confront. In al-anon I have learned that I was in denial of my own arrogance. My ego had gotten so out of control that I deceived myself into believing i was _her_ Higher Power.
Mike, I don't think that Miss said what she said out of arrogance and ego.

Originally Posted by DesertEyes View Post
I know today that only a licensed health care professional has the education, schooling and experience to give advice to another person. For me to take on the role of a doctor when I am not one is the ultimate act of arrogance. To think that because certain truths were important for me to hear at one time makes those truths also important for another person to hear is an extreme example of showing contempt for that other persons individuality.
Mike, all of this because of what Miss said? I don't get it.

Originally Posted by DesertEyes View Post
Alcoholics use their mouths to try and control others thru guilt and manipulation. As a codie, when I am active in my disease, I use my mouth to try and control others thru advice. Both addictions are diseases of the ego. The alcoholic thinks he's so smart he can talk anybody into anything, the "co-dependent" thinks they're so smart they can fix anybody by telling them their "necesary truths".
The way I see it the person who has been doing the controlling and directing here has been you. After all, you are a moderator who struggles with codependency. That's not always a good combination.

Peace.
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Old 12-25-2007, 06:50 PM
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Ccirider, I truly appreciate your desire to be fair minded in our discussion, and feel very supported by your comments and at the same time, I actually learned a great deal, as always, from what Mike shared.

Specifically, it really does help for me to remember about arrogance in advice-giving. I certainly have been guilty of that alot in my lifetime.

However, as was pointed out, this reprinted snippet was simply offered as food for thought and discussion, and in no way was it meant to suggest that I am perfect in the way I conduct my missions of nescessary advisings, brutally truthful disclosures, and commentary to those whom I deem to be needing my input, nor should we try to argue with one another over who is more arrogant.

I LOVED what Mike said about remembering HOW I came to learn the things I have learned. And, hopefully, to come from THAT human place when and if I make suggestions for /to others about how they might proceed.

Caveat: I AM a licensed healthcare provider and it is often very hard for me not to live my professional role even when it has not been asked for.

Points well taken by this Codie.
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Old 12-25-2007, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by miss communicat View Post
Ccirider, I truly appreciate your desire to be fair minded in our discussion, and feel very supported by your comments and at the same time, I actually learned a great deal, as always, from what Mike shared.
It's your thread, and I have no desire to derail your thread. I didn't interpret what you said the way he did, but if you are happy with his interpretation, then I am happy for you. To each his own.

Peace.
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Old 12-25-2007, 07:47 PM
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peace back at you!
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Old 12-25-2007, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by ccirider View Post
... I can't speak for Miss, but I certainly didn't interpret her statements the way you are.....
Neither did I If you look thru my post you will note that I did not quote anybody. I was not answering anybody. I was sharing my experience on the _subject_ of the thread. As they say in al-anon, I am placing principles before personalities and discusing the _principle_ of "necesary truth" without involving any personalities.

That's the foundation of the rule discouraging cross-talk. When I direct my comments _at_ somebody I am discussing personalities. When I direct my comments at my personal experience with the principle being discussed I avoid personalities, and I avoid "triggering" myself, or others.

Originally Posted by ccirider View Post
...It's just a checklist that she goes through before she opens her mouth. ....
Yes, that was quite clear. I shared _my_ checklist.

Originally Posted by ccirider View Post
... Mike, I don't think that Miss said what she said out of arrogance and ego. ....
I totally agree. I don't think so either. What I said is that _I_ have a character defect where _I_ will speak out of arrogance and ego.

Originally Posted by ccirider View Post
... The way I see it the person who has been doing the controlling and directing here has been you. ....
Thank you for the observation. I'll be sure to share your opinion with my sponsor

Originally Posted by ccirider View Post
... you are a moderator who struggles with codependency. That's not always a good combination.....
That's the whole _point_ to a self-help group. We are all here _because_ we struggle with issues and we are all learning from each other. Be kind of silly for me to show up at a self-help group where I have _no_ issues, don't you think?

Mike
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Old 12-26-2007, 05:02 PM
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I didn't quite follow the volley of words up above. But I do want to address the topic of resentments bec that is where my struggle has been the last week. Probably fueled by Xmas. I have come to the conclusion today (I have the authority to change my mind as I become wiser or triggered LOL) That to get over resentments doesn't require anything from the person I am resenting. It is all about me and saving myself. When I am unable to communicate bec I don't have the courage or do not want a confrontation I can release the resentment. For example:I asked my two stepsons ea. to do something for me.
Neither of them even responded. I do want to talk to them about this at a later date but in the mean time I release the resentment by thinking why did I even ask them when they have never indicated that they want to do anything for me. Silly me for thinking it would be different this time. Also, I won't continue to give and give where it is not reciricated and then I won't build something to fester and turn into resentments at a later time.
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Old 12-26-2007, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Spiritual Seeker View Post
..... why did I even ask them {to do a favor} when they have never indicated that they want to do anything for me.

Silly me for thinking it would be different this time.


Also, I won't continue to give and give where it is not reciricated and then I won't build something to fester and turn into resentments at a later time.

I am finding my family life as well as other close relationships, have vastly improved and gotten more harmonious the more willing I am to keep the focus on myself. In a scenario such as needing help with something, I try to keep it simple. I ask for help. It complicates the heck out of things to overload the request with a scorecard of how often in the past, and to what extent, this person may or may not have come through for me.

I need to get and keep my emotional life simple and to that end, I must be self honest about my motives. Am I asking a person for help just so i can see if this person still loves me? Or because I need help? Could somebody else help me who does not carry baggage? If so, why have I not asked that person for help with the task? Am I giving help and favors to buy love and loyalty or because i want credit sometime in the future?

I am great at manipulation. And resentment. What I am aiming for for the next half of my life is healthier relationships, and, may they begin with me.
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Old 12-26-2007, 05:33 PM
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Alcoholics use their mouths to try and control others thru guilt and manipulation. As a codie, when I am active in my disease, I use my mouth to try and control others thru advice. Both addictions are diseases of the ego. The alcoholic thinks he's so smart he can talk anybody into anything, the "co-dependent" thinks they're so smart they can fix anybody by telling them their "necesary truths".
Diseases of the ego.....
Excellent share Mike!
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