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.