No Good Deed Goes Unpunished!

March 25th, 2009 Posted in Uncategorized

Inevitably in my line of work I end up in some very interesting “charged” conversations.

One of my best friends was asking me the other day. “Why is it that when ever he does ‘all the right’ things in a relationship it goes South on him?” He will start dating a girl and he has confidence about what he wants to do and he “drives the car” so to speak and does a great job of leading.

Then once he is “comfortable” and starts to let his guard down, everything gets out of balance and he finds himself chasing her and begging her to come back.

A lot of men and women find themselves in this situation and it is frustrating.

For men it often feels like what I call “Praying Mantis” syndrome. A guy meets a girl and he feels like he does all the right things and then he “gives in” and then she eats his head off and is done with him after she got what she wanted and the challenge is over, she breaks up with him.

This is what it “seems like” from the guys perspective (remember that, this is huge and we will get to it later)

For women it often goes like this: She meets a great guy and cooks for him and helps him get his act together. Does his laundry, cleans the crust out of his eyes and then all the other girls want him now that he has a girl and he is “taken” So he runs off and cheats on her often with one of her friends.

This is what it “seems like” from the girl’s perspective (this is equally huge and we will address this as well.)

This why there is a need for such books as “Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus” and etc.
I am not a fan of all this literature I am just pointing out the obvious. The solution is much much simpler. But the fact that their is a best selling book claiming that we are from different planets tells us something.

There is a divide in communication and it boils down to this.

The brilliant comedian Chris Rock says when you meet people initially you don’t meet the real person.
You meet their representatives, think about that…

Sound Familiar?

This is very well put.

When my friend met his girlfriend and he did all the right stuff, he was following my friend David’s 2 Golden Rules. These are as important for women as they are men.

1. Do not worry about what others are thinking. Do not listen to what they say
2. Remember you are the most important person in the relationship.

When you adhere to this something magical happens, you maintain your personal power.

If you do this, (and only about 4% of the population does) she won’t believe it so she will test you.

The same applies for women, if you adhere to this and you do not budge, he will test you.

Why?

You see, you are already breaking rule #1.

When a dog bites you; do you ask “Why did the dog bite me?”

There is an amazing 14 year old surfer girl from Hawaii that had her arm bit off by a shark. The shark bit her entire arm off. She healed and was back surfing several months later. She did not bother whining and complaining that life was unfair and “why did the shark bite me and etc”

Sharks do what sharks do, everyone thought she was crazy but her story is inspirational and brings home a point.

If you have to have an explanation, I will give it to you:

When you live your life and put yourself in first position people will respect that. They will not believe it at first. So they will test you to see if you are real.

Most of the time they are not even “conscious” they are testing you by the way. (This is big)

This is where my friend got in trouble you see. He got lazy, at first he did all the right things.

Women are very intuitive and emotionally intelligent, they can sense fear.

When you start to give in and do things that they intuitively know are against your nature, they sense you are doing it from fear.

This is why spoiling children does not work, ever seen a spoiled child that throws a temper tantrum to get everything they want? The parent gives in from fear, the parent is afraid that the child will not like them. Rule #1 again. The child grows up to not respect the parent and it leads to all kinds of problems later on.

This is the power of saying No and meaning it. Walking your talk and not feeling the need to explain yourself. There is no need for an explanation. Give them the gift of respecting your decision! No means No!

Like my friend Dr. Blase Harris says, “Lose the parenthetical references”

This is an extremely frustrating scenario that plays itself out over and over so frequently it like watching the same boring movie, over and over again. When my friends complain about this to me, I like to say:

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished!

This usually angers them even more and my friend recently related that to me when I told him this:

He said to me, “That fucking pisses me off” Why! it makes no sense! They say they want you to do all this stuff, they plead and wine and pester and you finally give in and do it, that’s it’ Their gone!”

This is a complex issue and before I get to the why, I have a couple of stories I want to share with you:

Back when I was a young and inexperienced musician in college learning about music I started a band that became very successful on a regional level. I started to meet a lot of local musicians who were angry and “upset” about the system. They claimed is was all rigged and against their favor and no one cared about their band.

I was never one to give a damn about the system and I had started my own record label with the sole intent of being the captain of my own ship. After we had some marginal success a lot of the local bands started to approach me and ask me if I would manage and book their bands as well. They would tell me stories about how this was holding them back and that was holding them back and etc.

This is where I first identified with the term that “The only thing that is keeping people from being successful, is their story about why they are not successful” Everyone has a story…..and boy did I start to hear them!

The more success I had with my band, with teaching private guitar lessons in the Dallas Ft Worth area and with women the more I would get approached by people asking me to help them.

Here I was just starting to make a name for myself and I genuinely wanted people to like me and my band. Especially my fellow musicians and peers and friends. Here lies the greatest lesson in my life.

NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED!

I was approached by a young musician who had been “trying to make it” for years and nothing had ever worked and no one had ever helped him. In my wanting to please everyone, I became distraught when he included me in the “ones that never helped him”

“You think you are so much better than me” he sneered at me, cutting to the quick. “You have had the benefit of a great family, you make great money gigging and teaching, you have had all the opportunities and even went to college for Music! You have never suffered! You have no idea what it is like to have a real depression like I do. I have suffered terribly, I have no money. I don’t have a trust fund that paves the way for me and a family that supports me and you don’t even care!”

Zeeeesh! I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

“Trust Fund” is one you hear often from those who are too lazy to take the “response-ability” for their own success. They can’t imagine the idea of “working for success” so they try and belittle by mocking something as admirable as;

Your family having the foresight to scrape and deny themselves so they can afford to send their children to college!

This went on for some time and as naive as I was, I didn’t listen further because I was anxiously mulling over his words and concluding that I was indeed a selfish jerk with unrealistic expectations.

Who was I to judge his suffering? I had everything, he had nothing. I felt really bad.

Impulsively, as he got up to leave, I offered to help him out and give him a record deal and book his band. This should help a little, I felt, feeling happy that I could at least do something to help; and that I could show him that I really did care about him. He mumbled a grudging thank you without looking at me and left.

Whatever narcissism lay beneath my gesture (and acting out rescue fantasies is a very narcissistic undertaking), looking back, I know that I genuinely wanted to help him; to engage him and let him see that I cared. In all honesty, I knew that I gave the money and the deal and commitment of my time partly to make myself feel good, too.

He had made me feel uncomfortable and guilty about his plight and my success– as if the efforts I made in my own life were somehow responsible for his misery. I wanted to make sure he understood that I wasn’t like all those other people who “didn’t care.”

I believed that I had done something good and looked forward to seeing him again, thinking that I had made a positive step in building a community. This scenario would repeat itself give or take a few details until I had 5 bands on my label and I was babysitting all of them and I had no time for my band at all. I was also financing the whole fiasco with nothing to show for it as far as returns.

As I started to realize that I was becoming miserable myself trying to please everyone that approached I remembered the 2 rules my Greatest mentor taught me:

1. Quit worrying about what other people are thinking
2. Remember that you are the most important person, TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.

As I found myself drained and left with no time to pursue my music with the passion that drew these people to me in the first place;

I learned a hard lesson…

I became the fall guy and the scapegoat for all of their problems and I gave them some one to blame for the fact that they were not “successful”

My good friend James Bland had warned me this would happen If I tried to manage bands and I was too stubborn and naive to listen to him. Now here it was slapping me in the face!

WOW!

It took me years to understand the complex dynamics of that interaction. At the time, for me it had been a simple gesture of kindness that made me feel good because I was able to help someone I believed was suffering and needed help. It was also an expression of my own narcissistic rescue fantasies and my very human need to be liked.

I only came to appreciate much later in my training how such good-intentioned behavior on my part actually sabotages the relationship, rather than facilitates it. To expect someone to like and appreciate me in the context of a therapeutic relationship was an unreasonable thing to do; sort of like expecting a newborn infant will provide you with the love and understanding you lack in your life.

I had blundered badly wanting to help people and let my own feelings interfere in me staying on my own course.

To him, my kindness represented a ruthless exploitation of his misery and an attempt to make him feel worse about himself. Yes he wanted my help, but he wanted it on his terms and his terms alone. He wanted to be able to keep his worldview that no one cared about him–and I had threatened that world view by my impulsive gesture.

From his [admittedly dysfunctional] perspective, my kindness was yet another example of how the “system” was trying to invalidate him and the ultimate proof that he was correct in his assertions all along.

You begin to see the psychological dead end of this position, I hope? There is no real difference in his mind between someone trying to help him; and someone trying to hurt him. He had found a way to make both actions validate his warped and rather paranoid view of the world. The mechanism of projection is very helpful for this. He may have accused me of thinking I was better than him, but in reality, He was the one who felt superior.

I recently read an incredible account by a journalist describing the recent rescue of peace activists in Iraq. It reminded me exactly of this phenomena.

By now everyone knows the story of how these people were rescued by the US and British Military in Iraq and who–instead of being openly thankful of their rescue gave only grudging thanks, refused to cooperate with their rescuers; and basically insulted the rescuers as being the “root cause” of their being kidnapped in the first place; while praising their captors, who had ruthlessly tortured and murdered one of their fellow activists.

Many people rightly wonder, what kind of bizarre psychopathology could make people behave in this perverted fashion? Well, it ain’t “love” and it certainly isn’t “peace” that lies behind their actions, much as they would like to believe that is the case.

I submit that it is the same psychopathology of victim hood, with its concomitant psychological projection and denial of personal responsibility that was evident in the scenarios discussed earlier.

In the case of the peace activists’ rescue, there may be some slight degree of neurosis in some of the expectations of gratitude. As my grandmother used to say, a good deed is its own reward, after all. But on the other hand, simple human decency would dictate something more than the graceless attitude exhibited by the rescued toward the rescuers; as well as the appeasement and further enabling of murderous and brutal agenda of their captors.

In short, those who were rescued display an enormous degree of self delusion, characterized by the moral contortions and pervasive lying to one’s self that goes on in the minds of people who clutch their victim hood and/or martyrdom tightly as a shield against reality.

As I learned all those years ago, no good deed done for the professional (and paranoid) victim will ever go unpunished.

For someone that invested in victim hood, it is far too threatening to be confronted by evidence that undermines one’s worldview. My peers in the music biz that I helped were certainly not prepared to give up that worldview–no matter how dysfunctional it was for them. They needed to see my help as their entitlement; something they were owed and had rights to from the beginning — not as something I granted.

By giving them my time, know how and money, not only had I insulted his and their worldview; I had implicitly set up the expectation that he would do something to earn it. And the truth was that he didn’t want to earn it–he wanted it because it was his god-given right as one of the victims of the world. If any benefits accrued to me, then it automatically became invalidating to him.

Because, in his world, he claims the morally superior high ground. And, while he may be depressed, poverty-stricken and completely dysfunctional in the real world, he can always rejoice in his [self]righteousness and my oppressive brutality.

You see, then he does not have to take “response-ability” for his own actions. I now become someone to conveniently blame for his perceived lack of success.

The lesson I learned here is that I am also responsible for saying yes and wanting to be liked at the time. All of the attention was flattering. I drew this upon my self. I am just glad I learned from it.

How many of us do this in our relationships? I overcame that victim hood mentality as well and it took some sleepless night and some deep soul-searching. I know all my past relationships in a positive light and I learned from everyone of them. They have been my greatest teachers.

If I see anyone I ever dated I would go up and hug them and be glad to see them.

I don’t know if they would all feel that way, it doesn’t matter. I am just thankful I feel that way!

The same holds for the topsy-turvy world of the the activists and their parent organization. They are psychologically resistant to examining any lies that form the foundation of their belief system, which allows them to see themselves as morally superior beings. It allows them to shirk the responsibility and consequences of their own ill-thought out behavior that led to the death of one of their own.

Not only do they shirk their own responsibility for events, but these champions of the oppressed, have enabled and protected those who casually murdered and tortured one of their own (and undoubtedly will do the same to future captives). In a breathtaking inversion of morality, decency, and common sense, they applaud their captors and protect them even as they accuse their rescuers of the responsibility for a plight that was brought about by their own thoughtless and “loving” behavior.

In the worldview they share the view of most victims, one’s victimhood is sacred. Once again, we find that people who have willingly drunk from the poisoned well of an ideology that has destroyed millions of souls and brought untold misery into the world.

If there are the only two options in life–to be a victim or to be an oppressor– they choose to be one of the saintly oppressed.

Capture and abuse by a recognized victim group that they can magnanimously absolve of guilt, only adds to their faux saintliness; as does chiding and insulting those who would rescue them from their self-imposed martyrdom.

Think of it this way–these are people who not only are incapable of looking directly into the eyes of evil and recognizing its guilt; but they are equally incapable of looking into the eyes of the good and appreciating its innocence. And for good measure, they haven’t been able to look in the mirror for a very very long time.

They have been lying to themselves for years; avoiding acknowledging their own feelings or taking responsibility for their own lives or actions; and projecting all their unacceptable feelings onto others. Both Western culture–America in particular; and the “system” are handy dandy repositories for those unacceptable feelings.

Some part of them recognizes that something dreadful is going on in the world, but they cannot face it directly because it is too threatening to their worldview and their holy scripture; and facing the truth might make them have to go into their heart of hearts to examine the origins of that dreadful terror. Hence the need to displace their anxiety to a less threatening authority figure (e.g., Bush or America; or even those that rescue them from death) is easier than facing the dread source of their anxiety.

Three psychological defense mechanisms (projection, denial, and displacement) are the source almost all human suffering–from the individual misery of the person in my example all the way to the societal miseries that result from racism, sexism and genocide; as well as the brutal and fanatical terrorism that we now see all over the world.

If the peace activists and others of their ilk want to understand the wellspring of man’s inhumanity to man, then they need to take a good, long look in the mirror.

So the moral of the story is “Stand Guard at The Door of Your Mind”!

Do not worry about what other people are thinking and remember you are the most important person in the relationship. Ask yourself this question;

“Why would you try and figure out what someone else is thinking when they don’t even know what they are thinking or doing themselves”?

I could write a book on this subject there is so much to say here.

Stay tuned for part II where I will share with you another gut-wrenching story that taught me this lesson once and for all.

Much Much Much Love,

Eric

  1. One Response to “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished!”

  2. By Daniel Penn on Oct 22, 2009

    Interesting article. I was searching for “No good deed will go unpunished” and ran into it. In my experience this saying usually bears truth, but I think it stems from a psychological aspect in which the person who receives the act of kindness tends to expect more once you stop helping. By helping you also become the object of resentment or comtempt. The reason why this phenomenon happens is not easy to understand.

Post a Comment