I Don’t Owe Anyone Anything

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Yesterday I had rather a bit of a breakthrough moment. Now, to most people with healthy backgrounds and relationships, this will likely be a bit of a “duh” moment, but to people like me who were groomed to be codependent caretakers, it is an immensely important realization.

My “eureka moment” can be summed up in one sentence:

I don’t owe anyone ANYTHING, and no one owes me ANYTHING.

Of course, this does not mean that I can’t give to others out of the goodness of my heart, or that they can do the same, but none of us should feel required to do so. I would say the one exception to this rule would probably be children. If you bring children into this world, you do owe them something – and that is to do your best at providing them a safe, stable, and loving childhood. I guess pets fit that category as well. If you sign up to take care of something that can’t care for itself, you are essentially accepting that responsibility.

Outside of that, I’m not sure if any of us should feel like we have to fully take care of others emotionally, mentally, physically, or materially. We all have a responsibility to do our best to meet our own needs, and while that may mean reaching out for help now and then, we have to realize that sometimes we may be turned down and that is ok. If so, we just need to keep looking I suppose.

As someone with disabilities though, I do want to say that I do feel it is vitally important to have public programs and assistance available (whether these be government or charity systems) for those of us who sometimes struggle more than others at being “functioning adults”. To me, it is just a simple matter of society welfare and empathy that should strive to help anyone who falls through the cracks.

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19 thoughts on “I Don’t Owe Anyone Anything

  1. Hi Maranda, Yes I understand what your saying, there comes a time in life, we must really start to concentrate on caring for ourselves…. I was a primary carer for my dear wife for 30 years, and now I feel I’ve got to look after myself and be kind to myself. …. Have a good weekend Maranda xx

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    1. Exactly! I am not at all saying it is bad to be a caretaker if that is what you want to do, but no one should feel forced. It only breeds resentment if you feel forced. I do think it was wonderful of you to take care of your wife so long. My husband and I take turns being each other’s caretaker since we both have physical disabilities that flare up at different times.

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  2. You are right that you don’t owe anyone anything and nor does anyone owes you anything, except kids and pets. But as a human being, living in a society we are part of a system that depends upon each other to function properly. The only dependence that should be avoided is the emotional and mental dependence. If we EXPECT other to be there for us emotionally or vise versa, we are setting ourselves for a fall. People seldom come through and we are often disappointed. So we should have zero expectations. If then someone does us a favor then we will be pleasantly surprised and if not, then there won’t be any feelings of disappointment.

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    1. I agree about society needing to be a system that takes care of its own. That is why I made sure to add the last paragraph, because people who truly need help shouldn’t have to rely on the kindness of others but instead should have reliable assistance. When I was growing up, I was always expected to “parent” my own parents and in a sense try to hold my family together. I never should have been put in that place and I hate that it made me deal with a lifetime of guilt for feeling like I didn’t do a good enough job making everyone else happy.

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  3. IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY TODAY! IN AUSTRALIA IT IS ANYWAY! I LOVE YOU! HAPPY BIRTHDAY! And that’s a wonderful realisation to have. It’s incredibly liberating to feel those “invisible shackles” just dissolve away. I am so very very incredibly proud of you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hey Maranda, thanks for your thought-provoking post. I wholeheartedly agree about the need to prioritize looking after oneself, and clearly you have very good reasons to stress this given your personal history. It would be interesting to get reaction to your point by someone from a traditionally “collectivist” (like African or Asian) culture whose emphasis has always been that each of us exists only in a web of interrelationships (and thus of mutual “owing”), as opposed to the dominant Western individualistic and contractual view. As with most things in life, I think a mix of these 2 ways of thinking is probably best.

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    1. I do think that as a society or civilization, we do have the obligation to make sure everyone has the basic essentials. Unfortunately, that isn’t how our society works at this point. This post is more about not taking on personal responsibility for the feelings, thoughts, actions, or behaviors of others. It isn’t really about societal welfare, although I knew some would take it that way, which is why I made sure to mention at the end that I do think society as a whole has the need to look out for one another’s welfare, whether it be through the government, charity, or whatnot.

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  5. ‘Wow’moments are amazing! It’s a real sign of growth when we suddenly gain awareness of something! Learning to accept that you did the very best you could at that time and realising that it was not your job to make every body else happy brings great peace. Excellent post!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Such an interesting read! Very true that you can’t control what others feel about you or expect them to always be there for you, yet for those who can’t take care of themselves, there ought to be adequate assistance from society to help them up. Keep writing!

    Liked by 1 person

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