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#59452 - 05/01/04 12:08 AM Receiving gifts
wrangler Offline
Member

Registered: 09/06/03
Posts: 84
Loc: Northern Virginia
Quote:
Orignially posted by SAR in the thread “Friendship”

Also, I'll give you one example about not being honest, with this same friend. He came to my house, very upset, very late at night, and stayed until about 330 in the morning. I was tired and I had to catch a bus at 715 am the next day, but I didn't tell him any of that, I stayed up and talked with him until he felt okay going home. When he found out that I had only gotten a few hours of sleep that night, he got very angry with me, told me that I should have been honest with him about wanting him to leave. I hadn't wanted him to leave, I wanted to stay with him and cheer him up, but I did keep the information about the early bus from him on purpose because I knew that he would leave if I told him. I didn't think that my "dishonesty" meant that I was being a bad friend, I thought I was choosing to give him my time even though I could have used it to sleep. But he was seriously mad at me for days over this. Is it because he had a hard time accepting that someone else made a sacrifice for him? Or is it because, in his own hierarchy of friends, what I did changed something--he was now less of a friend for imposing on me, I was now less of a friend for withholding? I really don't know.
Tricky stuff this is SAR, but a situation with which I am not unfamiliar. Obviously I cannot answer for him, but I can share with you how I think I might feel in such a situation. I think I would feel that you did not trust me enough to tell me about the bus AND that it did not matter to you… that you did not trust me to believe you when you told me you would rather stay up with me than get (presumably much needed) sleep before traveling. Here is the catch22: I probably would not have believed you. For me personally, nothing hurts quite like someone correctly anticipating some behavior or attitude of which I am ashamed. I am absolutely not disparaging your behavior as a friend to this man though… I think what you did was perfectly reasonable, even admirable. It sounds to me more like something born out of his irrational and perhaps less-than-conscious thinking patterns (this feeling is, by the way, totally unrelated to the givers intentions; it is something that is all in my head).

One other possibility is that he has trouble accepting gifts. I have been reading quite a bit about what happens to adults that spent some or all of their childhood in dysfunctional families, and one of the “symptoms” is some emotional confusion regarding gifts. And, at various times in my life and with various people, I can relate quite strongly to this. It seems totally illogical, but getting gifts can trigger serious feelings of inadequacy and insecurity for me. I suspect that this might stem from having so many strings attached to the gifts I received growing up… like having to have sex with someone in exchange for the “gift” of their time and attention, or like having my parents load me with guilt in exchange for the “gift” of inconveniencing them. I think, but I am not completely sure, that the times that I have trouble with the gifts are times when they feel more like payments.

Like I said, I can't speak for him, but I hope this helps explain some of the crazy tail things that could have been going on in his head.

W

_________________________
"Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself." -Mary Schmich

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#59453 - 05/01/04 08:08 PM Re: Receiving gifts
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
Thanks once again for your insight, Wrangler.

I think the issue of receiving gifts comes back again to the same issue of self-hate/self-esteem that we're discussing in the Friendship thread. It's hard for me, as well, to feel like I've "earned" things or that I "deserve" them. I think this is because the self esteem I managed to hang on to during childhood came in great part from my secret belief that despite what I was told every day, I really deserved better... it was important for me to keep this secret because I wasn't "allowed" to think that, this kind of mental defiance was about all I had and I thrived on it.

Being not-observed, not-appreciated, not-recognized, not-understood, were all sources of pride and methods of survival. So for me to be seen, recognized, given things, leaves me with no source of self-worth. Clearly, the solution here is to find a new source, and the obvious place to start would be in the very recognition and value that others are giving me. But when those things ARE the threat, I'm going to resist them with everything I have anyway.

We're back again to the paradox--if you don't need the gift, you will be able to receive the gift. And again I think the way out of it is just to do it, sort of... take the leap and start allowing yourself to feel proud of what others are proud of you for, feel deserving of what others feel you deserve. I've noticed very positive results every time I've been able to do it in a healthy place. And I was probably only afraid to do it for so long because I'd never had a healthy place to try it out, because as soon as I was in a safe place I was less afraid to try. We protect ourselves without knowing it sometimes...

SAR


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#59454 - 05/02/04 01:31 AM Re: Receiving gifts
Leosha Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/18/03
Posts: 3614
Loc: Right here
I think maybe part of it is the thought of 'deserving'. I have a friend here who has done so much for me, and has tried to help me very much with health issues. And it bothers me so much, that this person has spent so much time and energy (and money, at times) to try to help me. It feels so bad to me, to have anyone care enough to do that. To do something for someone with expecting something in return, I think that is what we are familiar with. To be gifted with something, for someone to do or give kindness to me without wanting return on that 'investment', that overwhelms me still. I have gotten some better at not feeling 'suspicious' of it now. But still, it overwhelms. And that causes me guilty feelings. Just is way I think.

leosha

_________________________
Avatar photo in memory of my younger brother Makar.

"Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted."~~~Martin Luther King Jr., 1963

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#59455 - 05/02/04 06:15 PM Re: Receiving gifts
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
We 'GAVE'

We gave sex, our childhoods, self esteem and the list goes on and on. It's what we did - give

And what did we get in return ? not f*****g much !
I was given 10 cigarettes after being gang raped at 11yo, I got PTSD and a whole list of dysfunctional behaviours. It was a crap deal.

So even now I find receiving something a bit difficult, even something as simple as praise, acceptance, love.
I still have some doubts about what the person want's in return, and I have to think about it.
Usually the person want's nothing more than 'me' - as I am.

I still find that hard to accept sometimes.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#59456 - 05/04/04 03:29 PM Re: Receiving gifts
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
My boyfriend STILL gives and gives and gives--- he is the guy who remembers everyone's birthday, brings little things to work to cheer up people when they're down, drives people home 20 miles out of his way... most times I just love his kindness and generousity, but sometimes I wonder if he's trying to control his encounters with others this way-- trying to get on the right side of the giving equation, so to speak---or at least, trying not to get caught OWING anyone anything... \:\(

SAR


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#59457 - 05/04/04 06:19 PM Re: Receiving gifts
PAS Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
Quote:
Originally posted by SAR:
My boyfriend STILL gives and gives and gives--- he is the guy who remembers everyone's birthday, brings little things to work to cheer up people when they're down, drives people home 20 miles out of his way... most times I just love his kindness and generousity, but sometimes I wonder if he's trying to control his encounters with others this way-- trying to get on the right side of the giving equation, so to speak---or at least, trying not to get caught OWING anyone anything... \:\(

SAR
This is familiar!!!!!!!!!!!


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#59458 - 05/04/04 06:58 PM Re: Receiving gifts
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Quote:
he is the guy who remembers everyone's birthday,
I WISH ! \:\(

I'm just the opposite, and I have to admit that I can't for the life of me remember my wifes birthday even after 30 years ! Somehow I have two dates in my head and I can never remember the right one.

I think that is partly my crappy memory that is associated with my dyscalculia - learning difficulties. I seem to have a very selective memory, and It's something I seem to have little influence over.
Whether that is a result of PTSD or it's something I have always had I don't know, I suspect it's the PTSD.

As for being thoughtful, well I wish that I had the courage to be like that.
Strange as it might seem I sometimes think that I want to do something spontaneous and thoughtful - such as sending flowers to Linda at work when she's having a tough time. But somehow I talk myself out of it, I seem to work on balancing the pro's and cons - and I always find more con's. It's hard work sometimes but I do it in the end.

Why ? self confidence I suppose ? And there is no logical reason other than that. I have done a few spontaneous and planned thoughtfull things in the past and they have always been good. But it worries me as I prepare and arrange the surprise, I suppose the fear of rejection and not getting the surprise exactly right scares me. And how do I follow it up ? Way too many unknown loose ends.....

Dave \:\(

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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