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staying away from toxic people is cruel?

Old 04-04-2013, 10:08 AM
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staying away from toxic people is cruel?

The word "cruel" has come up several times this morning, in the same context of turning our back on an alcoholic as being cruel.

I am baffled by this!

The definition of cruel:
Causing pain or suffering: "I can't stand people who are cruel to animals".
Having or showing a sadistic disregard for the pain or suffering of others.

Synonyms
brutal - merciless - ruthless - ferocious - savage

So where is the idea that standing up for ourselves, protecting our lives (and careers, children, finances, etc) and staying away from toxic people cross the line into cruel behavior by us?!!

When I read the definition above - I am struck by how closely it describes the abusive behavior done to loved ones by alcoholics in the throes of the disease. And folks - just because they have a "disease" doesn't make it ok to be treated poorly.

Just because someone needs "help", doesn't mean you are morally obligated to be the one to put yourself in harm's way (physically or emotionally) to help them.

Sure, we "love" them. I am sure Ted Bundy had friends and family who loved him, too. But it didn't stop him from being a serial killer. Nor will your love stop your alcoholic from drinking and the consequences they incur.

When did we (us codies, me included here) become so arrogant as to think we would be "cruel" to leave someone who so obviously has a problem much, much bigger than we are.

Dr. Laura Schlessinger said it best in her Top 10 Reasons to Ditch a Guy (which can also be applied to ladies!):

"n general, people say you shouldn’t pass judgment on others. Well actually, when it comes to dating, you should. When you date, you’re supposed to discern what is good, bad, right, wrong, healthy, and unhealthy about a person. You need to know when to pull the plug because if you don’t, you’re going to experience misery, anguish, and frustration, and waste a hell of a lot of time."

And: "Reason #4: He has addiction issues
If he has had any trouble with drugs, gambling, or alcohol, don’t even bother. That often requires a whole lifetime of management and counseling. Instead of marrying into it, go to school and get a license to be a clinical social worker – that way at least you’ll get paid to do it."

Dr. Laura: Listen Up, Ladies! Ten Reasons to Ditch a Guy
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Old 04-04-2013, 10:10 AM
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Go Dr. Laura!!!
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Old 04-04-2013, 10:52 AM
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Well said Tuffgirl,
I am going to meet with a old friend soon who will likely have this opinion of me divorcing my A. But it is not my job to make her understand.

In the past I have struggled with characterizing my wanting a divorce (he actually filed) as cruel. Even though he ruined our lives financially, made life miserable and threatened to kill me.
It wasn't until I had distance from him and became less enmeshed in his downward spiral of a life that I recognized self-preservation is not cruel.

This life I have isn't a dress rehearsal for the real one I get to live later. This is it - one life - that's what we get. We should treat our lives with respect and be grateful - keeping toxic people out of our lives is key to that mission.

MamaKit
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Old 04-04-2013, 11:22 AM
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Excellent post Tuffgirl – great topic

Codependents are not capable of knowing when to let others work out problems on their own so when they see others doing the healthy thing its their perception that it’s cruel.

Codependents intensely focuses on the needs of others, causing harmful or unhealthy effects (enabling) when others do not make those same choices – it’s perceived as cruel.

Codependents turn themselves into the “only” – only one who understands, only one there for them, only friend they have, only one he/she opens up to…the list goes on and on……..when others who are familiar with the unhealthy behavior get better and leaves the addict/alcoholic to their choices….it’s perceived as cruel.

Allot of the new comers in al-anon and here use the term cruel, the term un-loving, the term un-caring and when I hear those terms I just want to say, sit down and buckle up it’s going to be bumpy ride.

It’s a lot to understand when I/you/he/she seek help first the first time here or at a meeting. They are showing up at their breaking point, frantic with lives unmanageable then they are told to give up everything they know to learn something better that they don’t yet understand.

I’m glad I buckled in, rode through the turbulence and had a happy landing!!!!!
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Old 04-04-2013, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by stella27 View Post
Go Dr. Laura!!!
Yeah, just wish she had been around when I met my AH. Might have saved me a whole lot of time and pain. Although, now that I think about it: probably not. I wouldn't have listened anyway. I swear I probably would have needed a lobotomy to get me out of this relationship when we had met.

Thanks, Tuffgirl, for the post. I needed it today!
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Old 04-04-2013, 11:29 AM
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I just don't have that kind of anger anymore to attach the word cruel to watching my own back. It's not that emotional anymore. I'm ok, just fine, with me. I don't feel the self-doubt to attach anything to me that twists me around in circles.
Gives the alcoholic breathing room too.
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Old 04-04-2013, 11:47 AM
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For me ~ cruel is the total opposite of what I think we do when we step out of the way of the A's in our lives ~

when we stop trying to help, trying solve problems, trying this & that - we allow the A's the ability to find the own dignity, self-respect and self-love to make their own decisions to find their own way -

After all - who am I to know what is best for another person ~ am I their Higher Power? Do I see all things? Do I know all things? That is a most definite NO. For me, I learned I needed to just step out of the way and allow that individual to be just that - an individual ~ able to find their own path ~

To me that is the most giving, loving and respectful thing you can do for another person - to look at it as cruel to me is just baffling ~

just my e, s, & h

pink hugs
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Old 04-04-2013, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Tuffgirl View Post

When I read the definition above - I am struck by how closely it describes the abusive behavior done to loved ones by alcoholics in the throes of the disease. And folks - just because they have a "disease" doesn't make it ok to be treated poorly.

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I agree, the treatment the co-dependent(s) receive is way worse than the nurturing and support the A receives- until everyone is sick of it and have nothing left to give. So, I guess it's cruel for a totally tapped out person to seek out respite from the thing that is causing them to incur pain, hurt and constant stress. I don't think so...
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Old 04-04-2013, 02:24 PM
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My exinlaws think I'm cruel because I left. Said it to me when I notified them that he was in jail, and that someone needed to care for his dogs, etc. And then was told I was a bitch because I DARED ask to be repaid for the gas money I spent running out to where ex lived(a 40 mile roundtrip), to do something I shouldn't have been expected to do(but did anyway)

I just say "whatever" to that, they can think I'm cruel. I know I did the right thing.
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Old 04-04-2013, 02:38 PM
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But TG, she needs me! She can't do this by herself! Without me there is no way she can get better!



Thank god I have moved beyond that.

Your friend,
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Old 04-04-2013, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by MsPINKAcres View Post
For me ~ cruel is the total opposite of what I think we do when we step out of the way of the A's in our lives ~

when we stop trying to help, trying solve problems, trying this & that - we allow the A's the ability to find the own dignity, self-respect and self-love to make their own decisions to find their own way -

After all - who am I to know what is best for another person ~ am I their Higher Power? Do I see all things? Do I know all things? That is a most definite NO. For me, I learned I needed to just step out of the way and allow that individual to be just that - an individual ~ able to find their own path ~

To me that is the most giving, loving and respectful thing you can do for another person - to look at it as cruel to me is just baffling ~

just my e, s, & h

pink hugs
Exactly how I look at it. Maybe I am standing in the way of their recovery. Maybe just being in a relationship with me is to much for them and I am getting in the way of them getting their life back. How selfish of me!
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Old 04-04-2013, 02:53 PM
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Great Post - thank you!
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Old 04-04-2013, 03:04 PM
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Yes....GREAT post TG....Thank you!! It's this very mindset...the idea that it would be absolutely cruel and uncaring to leave exah to his own devices...that kept me trapped in a very unhealthy and unhappy relationship. What I've learned....I'm NOT God. I DON'T know what's best. Gee...imagine that.
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Old 04-04-2013, 03:11 PM
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one word that gets used so consistently here that it's almost scary is ABANDON. i don't want to abandon him...i don't want her to feel abandoned....how can i abandon him now when he NEEDS me? i think it's part EGO - s/he can't possibly manage without me and my god what will people think of me? - and part projection - I am scared to death to be abandoned, so i assume s/he feels the same way, because i'm feeling their feelings FOR them. in both cases there is no true sense of SELF, only OTHER.....so the concept of growing a spine and taking a stand and respecting one's own boundaries is utterly foreign.
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Old 04-04-2013, 07:08 PM
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Every time I see the word cruel, I think of Cruella DeVille in 101 Dalmations.

Killing puppies for fashion is cruel. Leaving an active alcoholic is the best thing you can do for yourself AND the alcoholic.

L
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Old 04-05-2013, 09:27 AM
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Thanks all. LTD - that made me laugh!

Anvil - yes, abandonment is also a part of this.

I find myself feeling similar emotions when dating, and I catch myself doing it now and think "what the hell am I doing, sitting here feeling sorry for this loser across the table from me, so much so that I am tempted to say yes to date #2?!!!"

Where does this come from? My 19 yo daughter does it, too. She is simply too nice and afraid of hurting other people, so she often ends up being a doormat to stronger personalities.

How did we (in general, not specific people) learn the lesson that having firm boundaries and a strong sense of self preservation was mean to others?

P.S. I am getting the full-on guilt trip by my FOO because I won't "make nice" with my bi-polar Mom who told me off and kicked me out of her house last fall in the midst of a manic drunken tantrum. That just because she is my Mom, I should stop punishing her for being mentally ill. Are you freakin kidding me?! She was hostile and nasty. Why would I want to put myself in the line of fire again when I know she is unmedicated and it is only a matter of time before she goes off the rails again? No thank you.
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Old 04-05-2013, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by m1k3 View Post
But TG, she needs me! She can't do this by herself! Without me there is no way she can get better!
I thought I was the only one having to hear this!
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Old 04-05-2013, 02:24 PM
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I know I often come up with quotes that I love; sometimes I find it easier to use some one else's words... but here's another one:

I think you’re right that he’s got a problem. But, you know sometimes, well…there’s something you have to learn as you grow up. Some people make their own problems. And they never stop hurting themselves and messing up the people around them. And when that’s the case, then you shouldn’t keep hurting yourself for them.
- the character Bob Gu in Vernor Vinge’s book, Rainbows End
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Old 04-05-2013, 02:33 PM
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"In general, people say you shouldn’t pass judgment on others. Well actually, when it comes to dating, you should. When you date, you’re supposed to discern what is good, bad, right, wrong, healthy, and unhealthy about a person. You need to know when to pull the plug because if you don’t, you’re going to experience misery, anguish, and frustration, and waste a hell of a lot of time."

And: "Reason #4: He has addiction issues
If he has had any trouble with drugs, gambling, or alcohol, don’t even bother. That often requires a whole lifetime of management and counseling. Instead of marrying into it, go to school and get a license to be a clinical social worker – that way at least you’ll get paid to do it."
I think we could probably just post this at the top of the website and close this whole thing down.

:rotfxko
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Old 04-05-2013, 09:09 PM
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I used to dislike Dr.Laura, ex would throw quotes from her at me during tantrums. I guess he never heard the above quote, I feel vindicated.
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