18 November 2006

Strange Kindness and the Nedlog Rule

Many people who have been raised by abusive or addicted parents are "kind" to everyone and anyone but themselves, to a degree that is almost surreal.

Typically, these individuals have been raised by an enabler in partnership with an abuser. The abuser generally consumes most of the enabler's time and resources, so the children, neglected, learn early to be "kind".

Being considerate, placing others first, allows the child to avoid making demands on the enabler, and this is approved.

Being thoughtful, extending consideration to others, also allows the child to invest himself or herself in assisting the enabler to tend to the abuser, and this is also approved.

Unfortunately, the kindness such children learn is tainted. They are being groomed to become the next generation of enablers, and their "kindness" is pathologized. It will not attract kindness in return; it will, however, attract abusers in search of enabling.

When these children are grown, they will be expected to carry not only their own responsibilities, but also those of every abuser who has established a dependency on them - whether spouse, child, parent, friend, colleague, or supervisor.

They will rarely if ever be able to expect that those to whom they are kind will be kind to them in return. When the well runs dry, when they are ill, exhausted, or severely depressed, they will not be treated with compassion, but rage. They may then begin to realize that they are not, never were, and never will be regarded as human beings, but only as commodities, sources of support and energy, by those who abuse them.

When this double standard is finally perceived, the trapped enabler may begin to see that it is not only possible, not only legitimate, but absolutely essential to be kind to oneself, and to expect kindness to be reciprocated.

This is the Nedlog Rule: Do unto yourself just as kindly as you do unto others. You do not abuse others for profit or for pleasure; neither should others abuse you.

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