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Healthy Giving

Editor’s note: The following article refers to spiritual concepts. Please read Lovefraud’s statement on Spiritual Recovery.

By Ox Drover

Thirty years ago I met a special lady, she was my next-door neighbor’s sister-in-law. She had grown up in Italy during WWII. Her father was a “slave” to the government and worked for them. In exchange, he was given at least a limited amount of food. He loved his children and gave all the food to his children. As a consequence of giving all the food he had to his children, he became very weak and unable to work at full capacity. His masters informed him that if he continued to give the majority of the food to his children that when he became unable to work, all food would be stopped, and not only he, but his children as well, would starve.

This lady remembered watching her father cry as he ate, knowing that his children were hungry, but knowing also that by keeping up his strength, he might be able to save not only himself, but his children as well. I remember thinking what a terrible choice this man was given, yet knowing too, that he did what he did to save not only himself but his children as well.

This has been one of those stories that has stuck with me forever, one I will never forget as long as I have two synapses that communicate with each other. I realized lately though, how much meaning this story has on several levels.

One of the “common themes” among former victims seems to me to be our capacity to “give unto others” the resources of all kinds that we have. Story after story on Lovefraud tells of a former victim giving money and time to their abuser to their own detriment. Not just “sharing” what they have willingly, but giving everything to others, who willingly take, not caring at all that their victim is literally “starving” themselves in order to provide resources to the psychopathic abuser.

I am sure this father in the above story would have willingly given all the food to his children, and willingly starved himself to death in order that they might live. Unfortunately, his death by starvation would have only, later, precipitated the death by starvation of the very children he sacrificed to save. It was only by retaining enough food to keep himself alive, even though the children were still hungry, that they all could live.

Looking back on my life and the stories of other former victims, I see so many similarities to the way we have given to those we loved, but to the point of our own starvation, at which point, we were discarded by the psychopaths, who moved gleefully on to the next caring victim.

Caring and sharing is a good trait in loving and compassionate people. The Bible and other sacred works advise us to be “giving” and “compassionate” people, and to share our good fortune with others who are “in need.” I never found though, that any of these writings advise us to give the last morsel of food, the only coat we have, or to move out of our homes into the snow and invite others to move into our homes while we freeze to death in the snow.

I never found an admonition for the followers of Jesus to give money to those who are too lazy to work, or to house, feed and support anyone who could but wouldn’t work. I do find exhortations, though, that we should work with our hands so that we will have resources to share with those “in need.”

Depriving ourselves of the necessary things in life in order to supply abundant things to those who will not “help themselves” to the limit of their abilities is not, in my opinion, a good use of our resources.

Whether the “things” we give to others are our financial resources or our time, when we deprive ourselves of the resources necessary for a healthy life in order to give to another, and we deplete ourselves to the point we become “broken down” or “starved” and can no longer take care of even ourselves, we do no one a favor.

I can’t even completely imagine how that Italian father must have suffered with each bite he took, but he did what he did because it was the best thing to do. I would also imagine that his guilt at eating the food he did must have given him incredible pain, but all of his children and he and his wife survived the war.

In order to help others, we too much feed ourselves first, and take care of our own needs. It isn’t a crime to be good to yourself, though I know I still have trouble at times doing just that, being good to myself.



24 Comments on "Healthy Giving"

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  1. OxDrover says:

    Dear heavenbound and Sky,

    It isn’t just in 3rd world countries that there are horrors of want, there are plenty here in the US, it is just that6 most of us don’t get a chance to see them here because they are hidden in more widely spaced areas that we seldom visit. But I think because we don’t “see” them every day we tend to forget that they exist, and so we tend to compare our “poverty” with the people we see on TV or the people we see down the street in their new home, or big cars, etc.

    It is just human nature to think that way, and to mourn the “loss” maybe of our money, house, etc. to the giving it or having it stolen by the P–but we ARE blessed compared to many so we need I think to realize that, but also to realize that our possessions are NOT who we are. The Ps are hollow inside and material possessions ARE who they are, but we hve more inside us than that. We are better than that.

    We should not judge OURSELVES and our WORTH by our financial state. sure, lots of people judge themselves and others by how much money they have or how “successful” they are, but OUR WORTH should not be judged (especially by ourselves) by WHAT we have.

    I think the psychopaths are described in the “love” chapter of Corinthians when it ways if you have this or that and have not LOVE you are as a “tinkling cymbal” Without Love, no matter what you do or have you are NOTHING. That is the state in which the psychopaths LIVE and have their being. What they ARE.

    We must value ourselves, take care of ourselves, because WE ARE IMPORTANT to those who DO love us, even if that is ONLY ourselves and our creator. We must take care of US and not feel guilty, and count the blessings we do have and the fact that we did SURVIVE the encounter with the EVIL.

    I know it may sound trite, or trivial, or that I am just saying “get over it” but I’m not, it is HARD WORK to harnass our emotions and feelings to take care of ourselves, to count our blessings and recover from the devestation done to us by the DECEPTIONS we have discovered. To overcome the addictions to the fantaxy that we “saw” so clearly as “real”–the psychoopaths ARE THE LIE, just as “Satan is the father of lies.” If we have a faith that helps us do that USE IT.

    WHATEVER a person’s philosophy is, whatever their belief system is, that can be a GREAT WEAPON in overcominjg the devestation that we feel. Our expectations, our beliefs form us, and if we actually BELIEVE we are “poor” we will feel poor, if we believe we are blessed we will FEEL BLESSED. Feeling poor and oppressed makes you THINK poor and oppressed. Feeling blessed makes you have a different pattern of thinking. Conditions may not have changed but your ATTITUDE will have changed and that will make all the difference in the world to how you think, feel and heal.

    And BTW, I fall off this “positive attitude” wagon once in a while myself, it is human nature to do so, so don’t beat yourself up, if you throw a pity party for yourself every now and then either, Just work toward staying on that positive road as much as you can. The longer you are on it, the easier it does become, but it is always some effort to stay there. ((((hugs))))



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  2. Cat says:

    Ox,
    Timely article, once again! I haven’t been to LF in a couple of days and I sure have missed it! I draw such strength from this site. For a very long time I gave and gave, to the point where I was starving emotionally, spiritually, financially, physically and mentally. I had a counselor ask me one simple question:
    “What are YOU getting out of this?” My life started to change from that day forward. The answer, of course, was a huge NOTHING. I was so used to making sure he didn’t get angry, so caught up in the games he played and so used to the “dance” we both danced to, I had lost myself. I started seeing differently then and I started taking care of ME and my son first.
    Possessions are nothing at all compared to peace of mind. When I finally got away from him, I flew myself and my son across the country and had a place with an air mattress, a TV, some kitchen essentials and the clothes I had put in our suitcases. That was it. And we were happy! There was peace and my son saw only a happy mother. He didn’t even miss his father.
    Like you, I’ve had plenty and I’ve had none. None of it means a thing compared to that peace of mind.
    That counselor asked the perfect question at the perfect time and I’ve always thought God had a hand in that. I believe he is working furiously to help all of us.
    I learned so much about myself and know today I can make it through anything. I’ve learned, too, the importance of setting ego and pride aside and asking for help. It’s why I’m here on LF. We don’t HAVE to do this alone.
    I love all the comments on this subject. Thank you everyone.
    God Bless….



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  3. Spirit40 says:

    Hi everyone,

    ” The Ps are hollow inside and material possessions ARE who they are, but we have more inside us than that. We are better than that.”

    He said thing like “if I loose everything and have to start over so will you” well I am and yeah it really sux but its just stuff I will be able to replace or not if I want…. the things that I bought him such as a Vehicle , that I had to sell to PAY MY BILLS, MY RENT, yeah I sold it , I paid for it … and now I have to consolidate into a one room studio that I can afford for myself and my child while he thinks he is working on his alcoholism? yeah right I hope they dual diagnose him this time… I feel like calling them and talking to the psychiatrist…. but would I be wrong? or would I be outing him? again ?

    I actually like the new beginning … I get sad sometimes.. the kitchen table is sold gone, it was my coffee morning hang out check email spot. Now Ive moved to the couch so what… I like stability, I like routine… .. I like the dala lamas description of the P’s …. they dont have well developed human lives… and conscience our responsibility to one another… and obligation to care for our families… how come they dont get it ? My most precious santuary my comfy bed will be gone tommorow .. I am a little angry about that… its hard to get used a new sleeping area…..but I will survive!!!



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  4. OxDrover says:

    Dear Cat, TOWANDA for you, sweetie! That is the spirit! The Bible asks us “what would you exchange for your soul?” (paraphrased) and it is so true, would you giv eup all your material possessions for peace in your soul? I used to think no, but now I know YES!!! In a second! It would be cheap at twice the price! Peace of mind, of soul is THE most important thing in the world, and Like spirit said “I WILL SURVIVE” and I might add, THRIVE as well.

    They can’t take our peace if we don’t let them. they may be able to take material things, but we can GET THE PEACE in our hearts that they cannot take away—just by being away from them.

    Puts a whole new depension on material things.

    I remember sitting in that RV trailer up on the lake, with my 7 changes of clothes, my dogs, my lap top, a few kitchen essentials, a few of my favorite books and a few DVDs and realizing that I didn’t need or really want for anything. The living area was small, but easy to clean and I was SAFE and secure! What more could anyone want? It was a good place for me to “hide out” and to heal. I spent a great deal of time there crying over my losses of the “love” I had thought my egg donor and my P-son had for me, but the material things were not grieved over.

    I have now moved back into my home, of course, but at the same time, I realize NOW that I could pack a suitcase, leave and not look back if I had to. That is a liberating feeling! I’m not “tied” to material things any more for my security. I too will survive! We ALL WILL! We are not empty and shallow shells, we have a soul and are able to love! Love others and love ourselves. (((hugs)))



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  5. recovering says:

    OxDrover — I wholeheartedly agree with your words: Depriving ourselves of the necessary things in life in order to supply abundant things to those who will not “help themselves” to the limit of their abilities is not, in my opinion, a good use of our resources.

    Terrific article with great insights!



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