When We Give and Give and Give….

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Fixer uppers are okay for cars or houses but NOT PEOPLE!

by Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.

Copyright 2006-2018 All rights reseved.

I was watching Hot Bench and the plaintiff worked her butt off to put the defendant on his feet. When they met he had just gotten out of prison, didn’t have a job, had a suspended license. She paid bills, got him a job and a car yadda yadda. She stated she “invested in him.”

People are not stocks and bonds. We invest in those who invest in us. Unlike stocks and bonds. She was so blind to what she was doing, it was unbelievable. She even answered questions for him in the court! They asked him a question and she would answer.

Because she was now suing him over the balance of the car.

They were 25 years old.

I’ve been where she was. I’ve been 25 and clueless and codependent. I thought my ex husband was a huge step up from a boyfriend I had at 18 and never realized how codep I was. My family got him the job where he worked with all women and he managed to have affairs with 2 of them. But the boyfriend before him had a record and no clothes (I bought him clothes every single week) and no car (I drove him everywhere and for my trouble, he once put his foot through my windshield) and no money (the amount of money I spent was totally ridiculous).

So because my first husband had a car and a job, I thought he was a step up and therefore I was fine. I wasn’t fine. There was plenty I did for him and my family did for him and there was no appreciation for it. He flaunted his affairs in the very place my family worked. Egad. I was still a flaming codependent and he was still a loser. Not as horrible as the relationship before, but still very very dramatic and chaotic. I kept everything swirling on the outside to avoid the pain on the inside.

People should not be fixer uppers. We can’t take a rough sketch and turn it into the person we want it to be. We can’t depend on them to be SO DAMN GRATEFUL to us for putting up with their idiot selves that they stay with us.

This amounts to emotional bribery. Here take this money because I’m not good enough on my own. Here take this car. Here, take my belief in you. No one else is going to believe in you because, let’s face it, you’re a big loser.

When we give and give and give without expecting anything in return except for love, it amounts to EMOTIONAL BRIBERY and even the most down and out loser is going to rebel against that. You cannot buy love. You cannot turn yourself inside out to make someone love you. You have to be good enough on your own. And if you inherently don’t believe that, no one else is going to believe that either.

There are many many women who become pen pals with guys in prison. They send them money, visit them, write them etc. They believe in the “stand by your man” (even if they don’t know the man and it’s worse when they do) theory. They believe that this prison guy will love them and appreciate the time and money invested. (Again, the stocks-and-bonds theory of love). These women typically have low self-esteem but codependency in major supply. There is lots of drama in these relationships…lots of breakup to make up. Oh, woe is me…come here come here come here. Oh woe is me…(rinse repeat).

If you’ve been chasing project people…if the words that come out of your mouth are, “After all I’ve done for you!” then you just might be a codependent.

My suggestion is to read Codependent No More. Do the Life Inventory in GPYB and figure out where your codependency comes from and do the affirmations and positive self-talk. Read GBOT for the definition of real love and a good relationship and make affirmations to reflect your new belief system. You have to believe in yourself more than you believe in someone else. If you’re fixing someone up, you don’t.

Codependency kills. Codependents gets hurt, exhausted and can’t understand any of it. Don’t fix up fixer uppers. They will resent you in the end. A healthy person is grateful for MUTUAL help. It has to be mutual. Everyone needs help and support from their mate but it has to go both ways. One person CANNOT be the obvious lesser of the two. You must must must pick someone worthy of helping you as well as helping them …. it has to be balanced.

If you’ve been with fixer uppers, you have to look at YOURSELF, not someone else. Fix YOU up before you’re in a relationship where all your help just winds up making someone feel terrible about themselves and the balance beam is so out of whack.

Take care of YOU today. You can do it.


Copyright 2007-2018 Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.
All Rights Reserved No Duplication is Allowed Without Explicit Permission of the Author

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