I thought this was obvious to me, but it must not be as I keep finding myself in painful situations where I'm giving too much and I'm exhausted. Rather than getting love as a result of giving, I seem to be getting requests to give more. This doesn't happen with women--just with men. So I'm seeing that it must be some father issue I have.
Last night a friend called me at 11 pm as he was on his way home and passing by my neighborhood. I was up and felt like seeing him though I was tired. It had been a very intense week. He showed up hungry. OK, no problem, I heated up some turkey meatloaf. Then he wanted dessert. Ok, I had bought a chocolate cream pie and ice cream. I served dessert. At this point I was feeling very depleted.
He looked at me and asked, "Have you always had those dark circles under your eyes? You look like Dracula." Nothing like a nice compliment after you've served someone dinner at midnight. "I'm really tired," I explained. I started to tell him about my week but he wasn't particularly interested. He had another favor to ask of me. At this point I just said, "You've got be kidding! Do you realize that you just take and don't give back?" "It's time to go," was his response. Yep. it was.
I wasn't angry. Our interaction was so ridiculous that I got to see the pattern that I've been running and how ineffective it is. Doing for others turns you into a servant, not into the Beloved. It's fine when you're a mother as you have a responsibility to raise the children you brought into this world. But treating an adult as you would a child--giving and giving without getting anything back--is idiotic. It creates abuse and co-dependency. I read somewhere that people wind up hating the ones they are dependent on. I believe this to be true.