Monday, June 2, 2008

How Givers Become Takers

To: All Men Who Have Feelings and Emotions
Re: Extremely Important Message

Some of you may have already discovered the things I am about to tell you, but many have not. I didn't figure it out until very recently, and my ignorance could very well mean that I have ruined my relationship. The love that I waited for all my life is slipping away, and it might be too late.

Men: Learn from my mistake. Read This Message. Apply it to Yourselves.

Question 1 - Do any of these sentences apply to you?
- I take better care of other people than I do myself.
- I do not love myself. In fact, I'm not even sure if I really even like myself.
- I'm tough on myself. I don't spend much time on myself. Sometimes I mistreat myself.
- I do not believe in myself. I'm a lot more insecure than people might know.
- If there is a God, I don't believe that God really loves me.

Question 2 - Do you consider yourself to be a "giver"?
Question 3 - Are you in a loving relationship?

Ready for the twist?
(Spin this page counter-clockwise 180 degrees)

From HER perspective, I am (and you are) "emotionally needy".
In other words, my current partner sees me as a "taker" and NOT a "giver".

Right now, you're saying to yourself "That's not me - I don't take anything for myself - I give it ALL away to other people. In fact, I take nothing for myself. I give and give and give. I am a giver, not a taker." 

Hmmm - if you're at all like me, you probably are a generous and giving person. In fact, you probably give it ALL away. Every last ounce. All of your love, your energy, your time, your money, everything - you give it all away, until there's nothing left. No doubt, your partner receives the majority of that "giving", so you probably feel confident that she will view you as a "giver" instead of a "taker".

** WRONG! ** Read that last paragraph again. Who did you leave out? (Hint: did you save enough for yourself?)

"That's selfish. I don't really need anything for me. I give until there's no more to give."

Let me spell it out for you, Einstein. If you give it ALL away, and you aren't leaving anything for yourself, then you are a "taker" from HER perspective.

That's right. You can't survive without love, so where is it going to come from? Well, if you are like a lot of men, you are receiving it from someone else. If that other person is your partner, then they are going to consider you a "taker". They may not tell you that, but they definitely think it, and let me tell you, they do not like it. Some of them will put up with it for a while, but they will inevitably learn to resent the situation, and little by little, they will learn to resent you.

Hey - try this on for size:

The two of you go to a social event, you find yourself feeling left out, abandoned, forgotten. You become clingy and whiney and needy. She seems to be having a lot of fun, but you are absolutely miserable. What do you do? Maybe you sulk in a corner. Maybe you drown it in alcohol. You're hurting, and you can't understand why it hurts so much. Maybe you're like me; you think you're being an emotionally responsible person by "talking about" the things that make you feel bad or hurt.

** WRONG! ** Do not do this !!!

First of all, stop thinking of yourself as a giver in the relationship. At this point, you are not a giver at all. If you don't have enough love to sustain yourself, then you are totally dependent on HER. When you are totally dependent on her, you are seen as a "taker".

Here's the "why" of why it hurts so much - from my own experience.

All of the answers in question #1 are TRUE for me. In other words, I have created a situation where my only source of love, and significance, and tenderness comes from other human beings (not even God gives me comfort. My fault, not his).

Just like a child, I am entirely dependent on on other people's generosity when it comes to love. I try to earn their love, by being cute, or clever, or hard-working: whatever it takes to get love the love I need; the love I crave. Yes, as strange as it seems, "I", a man who considers himself to be a very selfless "giver" - am totally and entirely dependent on other people for the single most important thing in life -- love. Without other people, I have no love. And without love, I die.

When I'm in a relationship, I look to my partner as being my sole "provider of love". I no longer worry about having to rely on other people's generosity. After all, since we're in a relationship, we give to each other, right? And it works out that way, too. As long as we're alone together, giving freely to each other, everything is wonderful.

Wonderful, right up to the point, where she turns her attention to other people, and then I start to feel left out. When my only source of love is missing, even for a little while, I panic. The fear of losing her - paranoia, really - takes over my brain. I turn into a whiney, needy, clingy, spineless dope - I rush to be by her side, at every function, in every conversation - I fall apart - at the worst possible moment - right in front of all her friends. So, what happens? Her friends think of me as a no-good taker. They don't see any of the good times. They see me at my weakest, at my worst. They rush in to protect her. They pull her away from me. I am left alone again. A victim of my own frailty.

Is this you too?
Well hang on - there is hope - keep reading.

Here is a recap of the problem:

Go back and look at your answers to question #1.

What is the common theme? Well, men like us don't love ourselves. Sure, we've all heard that if you don't love yourself, you can't love anyone else, but we dismissed those sayings because we didn't believe them. (Those words weren't directed toward people like us, right? Just a bunch of psychological mumbo-jumbo for people who want to cry about their childhood) - - So, we don't love ourselves, which means that we aren't generating a whole lot of extra love, but we give away whatever we have, and we don't save anything for ourselves, and we aren't budgeting enough for our own survival, so we become takers, from the people that we love most, because everyone needs love to survive, and when we are in survival mode, we panic.

Hitting close to home?
Ouch?
Good!

Here is the solution:

(1) Start loving yourself. You are giving love away to other people, but you are not giving any to yourself. C'mon. It's really not too hard to start loving yourself. First of all, stop trying to kill yourself with cigarettes and alcohol. Start eating better. Stop breaking your back at work all the time. Give yourself time to sleep. Start working out. Maybe (gasp!) even buy yourself something - something nice - something that isn't really intended for someone else. {I'll buy this screwdriver, so I can fix the basement doors. I'll buy this shirt, because she would like the way it looks on me. = "Not Just For You"}.

(2) If you really start to love yourself, then you won't be terrified of being without love. In fact, you will ALWAYS have love. Then, if you feel like your partner isn't paying attention to you, you won't go into a "panic", You'll know deep in your heart that no matter what happens, you will never run out of love, so you will not die for lack of love. What's that? Yes, you can actually survive on your own! You are no longer dependent on "doing things" to get love. You are no longer begging other people to fill a void that you created. You want to talk about self-reliance and how liberating that can be? That's the ultimate freedom, pal. Imagine it. You have an endless supply of love, forever. You can never run out.

(3) If you love yourself, then you'll actually be a much better partner. Why? Well, first, you'll stop being so frakkin' needy. When you become emotionally self-sufficient, you will no longer be completely dependent on her, and she won't feel like you're always draining her. In fact, you will both be liberated from the deadly effects of "lack of love syndrome". Plus, when you spend a little bit of that love on yourself, you'll actually start generating MORE love to share with other people, including - ta-da - your partner! Imagine having that much love. Wow.

Like I said, this has been a hard lesson for me - probably the hardest yet.
I just figured it out, and I'm already starting to work on it.

It took a while to put all the pieces together.
Smoking, lack of sleep, overworking myself, poor food choices, etc. etc.
Since I obviously don't love myself, I have no reserve capacity (for ME).
No reserve means I can't survive (even for a day) without her love.
And that makes me needy. And that makes me a taker. That pushes her away.
But in everything else in life, I am a giver. The taker part doesn't fit.
So it's time for me to change. Time to fix this.

Honestly, it may be too late for me to salvage my relationship, to redeem myself.
But if I ever hope to find a real and lasting love, someone that will stay by my side.
I have to learn to love myself  FIRST.

Wow - that sounds kinda fruity and cliche', huh?
But it's absolutely true, I swear.

Look out - Doug's going to change again!
I can't change anyone else. I can only change myself.
I always strive to be better. It's hard sometimes.
But - this change is going to be spectacular!
I will finally have the love I need - the love I deserve.
I will no longer be a "taker". I will be self-sufficient, a "giver" in all things!
I will finally be able to fly. Hey - maybe we'll both have wings!

Last one in the Cocoon is a rotten egg!!
-Doug-

1 comment:

rdautumnsage said...

I've always said in order to love you have to love yourself first. Then again I'm a woman (winks)...

The same principle works with religion or a belief system. How can you believe in something if you don't believe in yourself? (Hugs) Indigo