Martyr or Manipulator?

We are designed to serve. Serve ourselves, each other, a greater good. The urge to give of ourselves arises from this instinct and underwrites so many great selfless acts of compassion and hope. The synergy between people can be felt when hearing stories of incredible generosity and altruistic sacrifice.

But the flip side to this coin is the manipulator disguised as the martyr. The apparent selfless act without expectation of recompense but upon completion an emotional invoice is issued and hefty interest charged on that balance with no rules about the collection or even the value of the service rendered.

When someone does something for you which you did not request, it often is not kind and generous. It may be a statement of contempt. It frequently is an expression of the idea they know better than you, and are attempting to control your behaviour through passive aggression under the guise of benevolence. Only your patterns and history with that person can tell you how sincere the act is but if your gut screams that there’s a price, make no mistake you will receive an invoice.

An offering of service is only sincere if the terms and conditions are clear. There is absolutely nothing wrong with exchanging service! Part of our journey is learning how to cooperate with others to get our needs met while not interfering with the needs of others and fair trade is a wonderfully satisfying way to interact.

Where problems arise is within the ambiguity of an offer hiding a cost. A sale masquerading as a gift. Our instinct is to take at face value what seems to be generously offered because Synergy designed us to accept her gifts to us and surrender to her guidance. Thus a gift from someone is a gift from Synergy, but sometimes it is to teach us a lesson in discernment.

It is painful, disappointing and uncomfortable to accept a gift and discover you unwittingly committed to a transaction. To surrender to the inherent lesson is the only way to escape the pain of that trauma, the pain of resisting the truth. The truth is, everyone is capable of hurting you and disappointing you so you must always be prepared to discover a price on all interactions. True connection requires true vulnerability. Do not condemn the giver for a gift they needed to collect a fee on. They do not know any better and need your acceptance rather than your resistance.

A gift received is not an obligation created, not without your cooperation.

And beware your own hidden price tags! Do you look for thanks? Appreciation? Acknowledgment? Do you feel the urge to punish for good deeds gone unseen? These have value, are emotional coin. If you are sincere, then your offer of service is the satisfaction. Again, it is just fine to look for approval and accolades but be honest with yourself and others that you are seeking coin.

It is ok to protect your most sacred self from harm using boundaries, of course. Boundaries involve removing yourself from exposure to risk of these transactions, but do not involve controlling the behaviour of others. You cannot control others, you cannot stop their offerings. Expectations are attempts at control.

Don’t trust anyone. But love them anyway.

No expectations. Only boundaries.


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