By Ox Drover
Most victims and former victims of sociopaths are extremely capable and smart people, so why exactly did these really smart people go “bankrupt” in their personal lives by letting a sociopath take over? That’s a question that has plagued me since I started on the road to healing.
I’ve always been a pretty astute businessperson and an excellent manager of both personnel and resources in my professional life. Why did I do so well in my professional life and go so wrong in my personal life?
I finally came to the conclusion that I ran my business like a business and I let my personal life be run in a very ”un-businesslike” manner.
I’ll use my farm as an example. I had a herd of cattle that I raised to provide meat, which I sold. So my product was meat, but my means of production was my cows having healthy calves, nursing those calves with plenty of milk, and being good mothers to the calves. If a cow did not have a calf because she had a fertility problem, she was an “unproductive” worker, so I had to fire her. Even if I was attached to her, and she was otherwise a nice cow, if she did not give birth to a calf every year, I could not afford to feed her (or “pay her salary”). If a cow was not having a calf, I noticed her lack of “production” and terminated her without too many tears, because I realized if I had a pasture full of cows that did not have calves, my farm would go “bankrupt.”
Suppose old “Bessie” hadn’t had a calf in five years, but she is so very sweet, and never kicks at me, so how could I in good conscience get rid of her, when she looks at me with those big brown eyes and nuzzles my hand when I go to feed her? Or how about old “Bell”? She has a calf every year, but she has a bad udder and doesn’t give any milk, so the calf always dies, but it really isn’t her fault, she just had an infection that caused her udder not to produce any more milk, and she really is so sweet, so what’s a little more feed anyway?
Or how about that old bull? I really do hate to get rid of him, he is so pretty, but he does tear down fences and go walkabout a couple of times a week.
How long before I would have nothing but a bunch of very decorative live pasture-art? My farm would go bankrupt because I let my emotions and excuses for why those animals were not “carrying their weight” influence me to keep on feeding unproductive stock.
I had little if any problem getting rid of unproductive or disruptive cows on my farm, because I knew that if I kept cows in my herd that cost more than they produced, or caused trouble for me or the rest of the herd by tearing down fences, trying to hurt me, or just in general causing problems, my farm would start to cost more than it brought in and I would go “bankrupt.”
So why didn’t I apply these same principles to my life that I did to my business? Well, first of all I let emotional attachment to “friends” and “family” who were “costing” me more than they produced to stay on my “emotional payroll.”
I had “friends” who only seemed to come around when they needed something, but after all, they really were in a bind, and maybe it wasn’t entirely their fault. I also had friends who seemed to think it was my responsibility to take care of them for the rest of their lives. I had friends and family who seemed to think that I owed them “unconditional love” because I gave birth to them, and no matter what they did, how badly they treated me, or used and abused me, I had to “play nice” with them.
How come if a cow even shook her head threateningly at me she was immediately hamburger, no matter how many calves she had or how fat she nursed them, and I had no problem at all sending her off to the butcher, but I couldn’t stand up to a “friend” or a family member and say, “Don’t treat me like that!”
I knew how to run a business, and I knew what made a business profitable or bankrupt. Why did I not know how to run a life and how to make it profitable and good? I let my life go bankrupt emotionally. Why did I think that things were going to change or get better if I simply allowed more output than there was income to continue? I kept giving to those in my life, but never receiving.
In our lives there are always times we give more than we get in supporting our friends and family, but if this is a continual occurrence, over time we become physically, financially and emotionally “bankrupt.” We must receive as well as give to friends and family.
Now, while I don’t literally run my “life” like I do the farm, figuratively I do. When a person is disruptive to the peace of my life, just like a cow with a dangerous attitude, I terminate them from my “pasture” so that I am not in danger of being hurt. If a person is always taking and never giving, that person is also removed from my “pasture” as unproductive. If a person is always breaking the rules and “jumping the fences” and causing trouble, what do I need that person in my life for? To get me out of bed at 2 a.m. to post their bail? To pay their rent because they can never seem to keep a job?
The people who are now in my life give as much as they receive, show respect for me and for the fences (boundaries) in my life. They don’t stand around waiting for me to bring them a bucket of “feed,” but they get out and hustle up their own, and take responsibility for themselves. I can count on these people to do what they say they will do, and to be trustworthy individuals.
My life is now more “profitable” than it has ever been and that “profit” is laid up as a big “bank account” filled to the brim with PEACE, LOVE and JOY! I am the richest woman in the world.