Seeing others in pain and attempting to alleviate their pain is the definition of altruism. The highest principles of humanity – respect, equality, acknowledgement, cooperation, fairness and justice and benevolence – are focussed on preventing and alleviating pain.
While trying to help someone two years ago, I was rummaging about on YouTube and found ThereaminTrees’ video ‘Letting go of fixing people’. It turned out he is a UK therapist with a point to make: don’t bother with wishful thinking.
This particular video is about the peculiar position that people like me participate in.
Studying astrology and psychology, numerology and palmistry, tarot and tea leaf reading, the common theme is this: these are systems by which to identify what is causing someone pain and each system provides methods for alleviating or avoiding that pain.
Studying Buddhism, the objective of an entire series of experiences to raise compassion and self-awareness is to reject the final step into Nirvana and reincarnate so as to help other people toward this place of painless bliss.
Symbolic Modelling leaps ahead of other therapeutic techniques in removing all interference from the therapist, allowing the client to engage with themselves, within themselves. Absolutely stunning insights into psychology.
I also invested a lot of time and energy into helping my students as an adult language teacher and then language coach. Finding what prevents learning from taking place and encouraging people to self-actualise was a constantly engaging and fulfilling process.
Developing more and more skills to ‘fix’ people has resulted in me unable to identify if I meet someone who is functionally capable or if they do not want help.
A turning point in my life. A mid-life crisis? 3 weeks until I turn 50. Timing is right!
Helping people has not gone well for me since I got back. I perceive myriad problems in the people I meet, the society we’re in. The destructive outcomes are littered everywhere. Most people I talk to exhibit signs of anxiety, depression, confusion and anger. Perhaps it’s just the culture. Most people in Japan exhibited unbridled interest or unbridled hostility toward me. Xenophobia. Reverse culture shock is horrible.
So I watched this video called Letting Go of Fixing People by TheraminTrees in which he identifies people who just want to help and stop other people feeling pain. The reverse is people who feed on that attention and do not register pain. Such people are quite happy as they are, regardless of what others may sense about them.
The wishful thinking part of me is my creating new ways that I believe will be the key, the missing piece, the final component, which will finally allow that person to be ok. I’ve been doing this since I was a child, so don’t give me attitude for this, ok? It’s my personality flaw.
Changing my personality is much like stabbing myself in the face: I’m really not sure I can do it. I’ve watched this video dozens of times to ferret out how I can alter my instinctual responses to people I meet. I’ve been to several counsellors since I got back. Still haven’t succeeded in altering responses.
That person I was trying to help two years ago attempted suicide in my bed a couple of months later because I had a meal with someone not attracted to him. I terminated contact with family members 2 weeks ago: please read Basic Mathematics for an overview of that. Someone else I’ve been helping just turned on me two days ago and ended 18 months of what I thought was a great friendship.
Responding to people’s pain and suffering is a compassionate activity but what I’m learning is that people who are in pain and difficulty just might have a vested interest in that state. Rather than running toward someone in need, I must train myself to see an enormous red flag waving at me and go in the other direction.