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"Need independence be at the cost of compassion?"

Dear Ayal,

I'm grateful to have come across such a great site & will try to keep this message focused - here goes. I feel I've made much progress with the various issues I've had to work through in this life, but I'm a bit stuck in an area & could use some insight as to how to break through - I feel I'm really close to it.

Here are a two issues that I think come from the same problem area:

  1. I'm a psychic sponge & just cannot seem to avoid taking on other people's psychic garbage (and keeping hold of it!). What starts as me lending a sympathetic ear VERY VERY QUICKLY develops into people being "addicted" to me & me having to terminate a relationship to just get them to unplug from me. In the past I've tried to keep my boundaries AND maintain my relationships, but people just keep trying to transgress the boundaries.

  2. I have a chronic problem/cycle with attracting people (family, friends, employers, exspouse) in my life that seek to exploit me. I stop them when I become aware of it & release them from my life only to repeat the cycle with "new" people.
Summary; I do have some wonderful friends in my life & feel like I'm making more progress in loving myself, but I need some advice on how to zap this pattern once and for all.

Some background - here's the family scenario I chose to be born into:

Dominent mother (essentially the "persona" of the family) - when she died (I was age 10), the "family" died with her. She was a nurse (I think I took on a lot of faulty/exploitive caregiving patterns from her). Ghost of a father - my father was never really "there". He was more my mother's child than my parent. To this day, he's determined to live through me (or my sister) to avoid living his own life. So far, I've only been able to "avoid" this scenario by "avoiding" him. One older sister (2yrs older), extremely competitive with me - jealous, lots of self hate etc. - so verbally abusive I can't be around her.

I know I came into this family to learn "independence", but this is ridiculous!


Hi - well, this response is somewhat different from what I thought it would be, and I had to wait awhile until I got a clear answer. Guess what? You came in to learn compassion. Your tendency seems to come more from the intellectual arena rather than from compassion (which comes from facing your own issues) and this leads to a form of emotional dryness. This comes from the fear you carry of being sucked dry, of thinking you have to caretake others. By embracing that fear or belief, however, you become dried out emotionally as a person, yourself.

You have a fear that others will become addicted to you if you give of yourself. That is because you have not yet learned how to give in such a way that you are not co-dependent or sucked dry. Part of what you need to learn about is how to be grounded within yourself, how to take care of yourself consciously, so that when others do come to you for support, you can give it without either letting them merge with you and move into your space, so to speak, you can give by being lovingly detached, knowing you don't have to fix them. You can be supportive, but with clear boundaries.

It is very important for you to learn to not judge them, but enfold them, in love and compassion instead, but in such a way that you are not intwined or entangled with them, therefore losing energy. You can, instead, support others while remaining intact, taking care of yourself as the first and most basic factor. These boundaries are developed when you know how to take care of yourself in any given moment. The way to do that is often an extensive learning process, but here are a few tips from a letter I recently answered, about the same time yours came in, dealing with very similar issues:


Everything else will flow and straighten out from there. That may mean you say, when faced with another's moods or dysfunctions: "I feel really scared of that energy right now and I don't choose to be around it" or "I don't know what to do with this" or "This isn't my job to fix this, although I support you in finding your way" or "I'd like to help and support you in this, but I don't know how. What do YOU think you need?" Or, you could say to someone, when it's appropriate and doesn't go into caretaking: "Will behaving this way get you what you are seeking? If not, what do YOU, yourself, need to do to get the results you are looking for?" Whatever you find yourself saying when in a situation that feels fearful in some way, the important thing is to be honest with what you, yourself are feeling and needing to do to take care of yourself.

Old patterns will want to kick in immediately, and you'll think you have to deny others your kindness in order to remain intact, but there is a way to offer support in a clean way that doesn't drag you down or allow others to suck off your energy. A question to ask here, if you are afraid that others do that to you, suck off you, etc., is: how do you see yourself doing the same thing? Remember, it's never about another person, place, or thing. Whatever you see in others is only a mirror of something similar in yourself. So - Where are YOU co-dependent? How have you bought into and still carry this belief? And how do you feel about yourself regarding that? The turning others away is simply you trying to get away from this issue in yourself. Read the letter that recently came in from Jayne regarding this same issue. I think it will shed some light for you.

Do you hold a belief that says people can't take care of themselves and must caretake one another? Or that it is your job to do so, and you resent it dramatically? That you must caretake them? That is a misconception based on victim consciousness. Every soul is designed, as God, to create what it needs and take care of itself. Changing any beliefs you have regarding co-dependence would be crucial here. Right now I hear a lot of judgment toward others in your family, and judgment always comes from fear. So - you'll need to be aware of that and catch it. You don't have to take care of them, but if you find yourself running from them and needing to deny them, you are not facing the internal issue which is creating these situations. Resistance comes from fear. You are, in fact, denying this issue in yourself, due to hating it and fearing it.

You are desiring self sufficiency and independence - you value this highly, perhaps more than anything, but you judge others harshly for not having it. You see them as wanting what you have, perhaps, as you see yourself as being strong and self sufficient, and, as you mentioned, this manifests as your sister being jealous of you. But, there is no "better than" going on here. There is only the recognition that we all have that place where we feel unable and where we play at being a victim. The trick is not to hate that, or fear it in ourselves, but to be compassionate toward it, and play around with changing any beliefs we have that keep us locked in victim consciousness. As adults, when we become conscious of an issue, we then can choose how to respond differently, right? We don't have to respond as the frightened or angry child anymore. But this takes awareness, and practice.

So, the conscious question to ask here might be, "Where do I harshly judge myself for NOT being self sufficient? Where do I believe that I am NOT self sufficient myself? How or where in my life do I create needing to be taken care of and/or fear I can't do something? Where do I think someone else has to take care of me, or I won't survive? How was I not taken care of and how do I feel about that?"

If you judge others for this, or have such a strong reaction to it in others, it has to mean that you fear these issues and judge them in yourself. But believing that we will not be taken care of, or that we can't take care of ourselves, is only a belief - although it may have come from very painful experiences, such as not being nurtured or taken care of appropriately as a child. This can lead to great anger, fear, and resentment. This can be an old, old program in families and individuals that goes way back and once again deals with a belief in being a victim. Until we learn to respond then, to neediness differently, without judgment, but with an honest authenticity, we will stay in the loop, triggered and hooked by it. Check out playing with this belief that you and your family carry about co-dependendence and lack of self worth or ability in the core belief formula in the Laws of the Universe. Even if you don't consciously believe that you behave that way, it's in there somewhere as a deep program.

The truth is, it isn't your job to take care of others. But, when we take care of ourselves in a highly honest and conscious way, which is compassion, that does enable us to also be there for others in a grounded, strong, honest, authentic, non-judgmental, compassionate, but not attached or entangled way, if someone does come to us for help or advise. You will notice this balance growing in yourself as you begin to be honest in your responses, to yourself, and to others. This is truly doing your job, which is to take care of yourself and come from compassion with yourself. Then you will respond with compassion to others. Authenticity and what is appropriate here is key. Trying to do something that isn't one's job is not appropriate or being authentic, no matter how hard we may try, or think it's our job to do so. But coming from fear, as you have been, means something is going on for you that you need to recognize in yourself, something that is not clear. It will take time to change this pattern, so be easy on yourself. Just be aware of it, and then gently remind yourself how you are now choosing to respond. Slowly, take it moment by moment, breath by breath, one day at a time, and this will begin to shift.

As I wrote in the other letter: You will need to heal yourself by beginning to understand, moment by moment, experience by experience, decision by decision, how to take care of yourself in each and every situation. You will need to remind yourself, to take a breath, an emotional breathing space in order to stop before responding in the same old habitual way or pattern that you have done for so long, and say to yourself "What is the most appropriate way for me to respond that takes care of me, is honest with what I am feeling and needing here?" - instead of immediately going into fear, resistence, judgment, and denial. This doesn't mean that by taking care of yourself in a conscious way that you end up having to deny others, because having clear boundaries that others will sense and honor will result from not being caught up in the issue yourself, and this will develop as you clear it.

Blessings, Ayal


Dear Ayal,

Thanks very much for your guidance. One part of your message to me, really stood out:

"Part of what you need to learn about is how to be grounded within yourself so that when others do come to you for support, you can give it without either letting them merge with you and move into your space, so to speak, but rather to be lovingly detached, supportive, but with clear boundaries. These boundaries are developed when you know how to take care of yourself in any given moment."
I think "knowing how to take care of yourself at any given moment" really clicked for me. To me, this means being/staying aware of the exchange I'm having with anyone, being aware of how I'm feeling during that exchange and finally being relaxed enough to pause & think before I "commit" to a response. I'm going to have to replace my "eager to please" program with "laid back listening". I think giving myself permission to be less "eager" and more "laid back" is where the bulk of my work lies.

Love & Light


Hi - that sounds good to me. You may want to work with where the "eager to please" issue comes from as well, and get to the core of that. Eager to please is usually a fear of not being loved - so, the question is: "what do I believe will happen if I don't please someone?" Often a good way to keep tracking the fear is to just keep on using that question: "And then what will happen?" Keep asking that after each answer you get from within yourself and see where it takes you.

And, there may be a particular someone you feared abandoning you or threatening you in some way. We are usually in fear if we think we have to please someone or else something will happen to us. Or, it can even be set up that if you don't take care or please someone, they manipulate it to look like you're guilty, or, we believe we're guilty, because they infer by their behavior that something will happen to them if you don't. Another version of manipulative misconceptions is: " If you don't do what I want, I'll withdraw my love from you." And then we feel guilty again and believe we're bad and deserve not to be loved. It's sticky stuff. This all sounds like issues of power and control. Control can be used in many ways - it can be very subtle and manipulative. But, control and misuse of power always comes from fear.

All of this basically gets back to the fact that we think our survival depends on someone else loving us or taking care of us instead of having our love and power come from the Source - ourselves, and our connection to who we really are. If we stay believing that we are the ego, or only the body, and not an aspect of Universal consciousness, then we certainly think we don't have that kind of love or power that enables us to create our own reality and love or take care of ourselves fully. This gets back to co-dependent stuff - or, victim consciousness - thinking someone else is responsible for making us feel loved and safe. What would it feel like to have your own eternal, infinitely powerfu, constant self generator that filled you full of love and power and creativity every second? THAT is being the Creator, not the victim. I invite you read up on victim consciousness some more in the Laws of the Universe. That's really what you're wanting to move out of here.

Blessings, Ayal

next 133. "I'm afraid if I don't do as my husband says my family will be homeless"

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