We Confuse Love And Pity And Tend To “Love” People We Can Pity And Rescue.   

Over the years I’ve noticed that some ACoA members have a certain way of looking and carrying themselves that reminds me of my own “wounded and lost” look.  For me it was a manifestation of my state of internal confusion.  The sick, abandoned child in me was crying out through my countenance and my posture.  As an adult I tend to be attracted to the same woundedness, the soul sadness, the deep confused sorrow in others that I felt about myself as a child.  I wanted to rescue these people.   

As a child pity was the closest thing to affection that I was able to experience, so now I have to watch that I don’t confuse the two.  In ACoA I forced myself to confront and work through some overwhelming feelings of self-pity.  Eventually I had to wallow in them and re-experience much of my childhood sorrow.  I had to surrender to the realization that if I felt great pity or sorrow for a person it didn’t mean that I had to rescue them.  My love couldn’t make them whole – that was their task.   

My effort to rescue people was an attempt to make them feel whole and complete.  If I succeeded in “making” them feel good about themselves, then I could feel good about what I had done.

Excerpt from Chapter 4 – The Recovery Process in The Laundry List by Tony A. and Dan F.

2 Responses to “Trait 09 – Love/Pity”

  1. Brian Says:

    My issue that I have struggled with her is if they resist my help or appear to be getting stronger. If I sense that, then I feel they won’t need me anymore. Any thoughts on how to defeat that?

    1. Lexxie Says:

      Brian, great question that many Adult Children struggle with. If you are close to a meeting I would strongly encourage you to try attending a few and see how you like them. If you are already doing that, Great!

      But your question, It just takes PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!….

      For me, when I am feeling like the only thing of value about myself is that I can “fix” their problem, I know that it is time for me to start looking at me. I (and I am sure you too) have so much more to offer than just my fix-it skills. I realize it is really difficult to let go of the need to fix them, but in reality, we are all perfect just as we are in the moment.

      And, most importantly for me, I need to find a way to love them just as they are, warts and all, in the same way that I want to be loved. Otherwise, I have come to realize, that it is not really me loving them. It is me loving my next fix-it project…

      Speaking as a woman, what I really want most from my partner is for him to simply LISTEN! I don’t want him to fix me or try to give me his version of a solution to the problem.. All I want is for him to be a good sounding board as I talk my way through my problem.

      That may all sound kind of harsh, but it is true for me today.

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