Confusion and negativity

Confusion and negativity

Postby duckfiasco » Sun Sep 15, 2013 6:32 am

Hi, all.

This is kind of involved but I'll try my best.

July 1 of 2012, a friend, her son, and her boyfriend were homeless and needed to stay with us. We agreed.
Months went by. One of them got a job.
They were supposed to be saving up for a place of their own, but there were endless complications.
January arrives, and I set a deadline. They leave February.
It turns out they weren't saving money at all, but using it to buy marijuana.
The mother and son now live in Idaho with family and are doing well.

The boyfriend showed up at my partner's workplace in June. He was homeless and hungry.
His family was going to buy him tickets home at the end of the week. We let him stay.
A series of complications and delays began of every kind imaginable.
Months went by.
We began to get suspicious. He said he got two jobs.
About a week ago, we found out he didn't have one of them.
While apologizing about misleading us, I now know he was continuing to lie then as well.
We dropped him off at an "appointment" he had at a shelter downtown Tuesday.
The appointment didn't exist. We're starting to unravel what's been months of lies.
It's to the point that I think he may have a disorder, a pathological compulsion to lie that needs professional help.

But unlike the first time where I had no qualms about making them leave, this time I'm uneasy.
He never threatened me, and doesn't come across as a threatening person.
When I practice tong len, I manage to do it for some pretty hard to love people.
However with him, it's not that I can't feel love for him, but rather that it feels dangerous to do so.

He showed up at my partner's work again tonight, only a few days after we made him leave.
He wanted to stay for "just one night".
I almost said yes, not for the same compassion as the first time, but because it felt dangerous not to.
I actually got a strong gut feeling, not something I'm familiar with as a relatively stoic person.
So I called a friend who said inviting him in again would be very risky, and I said no.
It made me realize how badly my own judgment had been short-circuited over the months. I couldn't trust my feelings since I'd pushed them aside for so long.

I'm not sure what I'm asking for, I guess.

I remember a quote from a charity founder. Someone asked if he was worried about being taken advantage of. He said, "We give our advantage away."
I tried to apply the same attitude. But months later, it seems like nothing happened at all.
His situation is back to square one, and I've picked up this new bundle of weird emotions.
It feels a bit nihilistic in a way.
It may be a very sad illustration of how suffering runs in circles in samsara. I don't know.

I'm trying to use it as an opportunity to see first-hand the effects of delusion and false speech, and what it feels like for people who live their lives distrusting others.
But I'm not sure how to stop feeling physically threatened by someone else's considerable suffering.
Maybe it's too soon to expect that. The whole thing just makes me feel ill.

How would any of you begin to approach this?

Thank you very much!
Namu Amida Butsu
"When people of the Pure Land school chant Namu amida butsu, they are doing zazen with their mouths, and when we do zazen, we are performing Namu amida butsu with our whole body." - Kosho Uchiyama (Opening the Hand of Thought)
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Re: Confusion and negativity

Postby SeekerNo1000003 » Sun Sep 15, 2013 2:30 pm

Sometimes it is more compassionate towards yourself and another, to say "no." It is not right, in my view, to try to take full responsibility for another person.
First, you are being hard on yourself -- you're trying to do the impossible. Second, you're making it more difficult for another person to take the responsibility for their own actions.
If a person receives your help, and takes the opportunity to grow, then that's great. There is no worry about being taken advantage of. If on the other hand -- as in this case -- the guy is not only failing to be responsible, but also lying to you, then you are being taken advantage of. That's not right. You sort of let him take an advantage of you the second time you let him into your home. That does not seem compassionate at all. He was harming himself and your family. Better is to find the professional help sometimes. If the person does not want to get help, then that's their problem, their responsibility. Perhaps they will have to learn the hard way. So, I think it's compassionate to provide opportunities to someone who may need help, but the responsibility to use those opportunities lies with them.
Anyway, just an opinion based on what you wrote. I have not been in such situation before, so I may not fully understand it.
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Re: Confusion and negativity

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:15 am

I think you should give as much as you can without it hurting you, once it starts hurting you bad enough you can't be of much help. If its not at that point though, just do your best to help.

This is my rule about emotional support at least, this way you can leave all your judgements and moralizing about someone else's behavior out of it, that stuff doesn't matter, not your place to teach people responsibility or any of that nonsense...just help if you can, and when you can't, stop.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Confusion and negativity

Postby LionelTeo » Fri Sep 27, 2013 2:45 pm

Hello Duck,

It is great to know you have so much compassion that you even let them stay with you. This person, although lying to you, is him leading his wrong way not of not to suffer. In a way through compassion and kindness we hope that he can see your compassion and change himself as a result, but unfortunately, he didn't see your compassion and kindness and didn't change.

That is a saying that goes, gives a man a fish and he will eat fish for a day, teach him how to fish and he will drink beer all day on a boat. :smile: If he doesn't want to learn how to fish, there is noting we can do for him, giving him fish is not in anyway helping him either.

Since this is in the past now, there is not use thinking about it and attach to it. Sometimes, we fall into such situation. Once I tried help a foreigner couples for direction, I almost give them the wrong direction due to miscommunication. :roll:

Most importantly in this matter is that you family is safe and sound. :thumbsup:
We are born with compassion, it is just that we had lost it.
Understand no matter what happens, you already had shelter and food, these are enough for you to find happiness.
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Re: Confusion and negativity

Postby SeekerNo1000003 » Tue Jan 21, 2014 3:27 am

Hi duckfiasco,
Please disregard my first message. It was silly of me to philosophize about your experience.
In fact, I think it's amazing that you helped these people in the first place. I'm not sure if I had been able to do that myself even the first time around. Pardonnez moi :)
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