In life, we help people because it means something to us, but when they can't appreciate the sacrifices we make for them, we're just enabling their own shit at that point.
I want to share a story that broke my heart in many ways.
A reader sent me an e-mail.
She had a falling out with her sister.
Not only was it her sister, but they were twins. For those of you that know twins, they have a very unique bond, a bond that so many of us don’t understand. It all goes back to the womb when you’re sharing that tight little quarter with somebody.
Definitely something spiritual and amazing that goes on.
This woman, I’ll call her Amy, was heartbroken.
Her story may make you cry and it may make you think about things a little more clearly — about appreciation versus expectation.
Her twin sister was in a really bad relationship with an abusive man.
The only reason why she stayed is because, financially, she wasn’t able to leave.
Finally, after a long period of time, her sister decided to help her.
She was into some money.
She had the means to help her out.
So she decided to help her leave her husband.
She paid her rent, paid her bills.
Helped put food on the table.
Took care of the kids along with her.
Told her she’d help her for two years to get back on her feet.
But after two years, the sister still wasn’t back on her feet.
She made up lots of excuses.
The kids’ activities.
Her teenage son was having issues.
She needed to be home, couldn’t work a job, couldn’t concentrate.
So the sister continued to help her, and help her, and help her.
What happened next is what usually happens when you help somebody who refuses to take responsibility of their own stuff. The twin sister was no enabled.
She started expecting the money from her sister.
The sister kept giving her money because there’s that special twin bond.
The thank yous stopped coming.
The expectation for the money never to end was now set forth in motion. She was totally enabled.
After about six years of this going on, Amy decided to cut the other sister off.
And their relationship has never been the same.
The twin sister kept telling her, “You don’t understand, I need the money.”
The other sister kept saying, “Go get a job.”
But there was never a job that was good enough for her because, when somebody is being given money and being enabled, why would they have to work? Especially when they know the other person will continually give them money because all they needed to do was tell a sad story about the teenage daughter misbehaving, about the young boy needing extracurricular activities. The sister was playing off the heart strings of her twin.
She was using her. She was manipulating her.
She stopped appreciating the money that was coming in.
The e-mail went on to go into deeper, darker things that have transpired between the two of them. But no matter what happened between the two of them, the one sister said one thing that really shook me.
“David, I would have kept helping her if she just appreciated all that I was doing. She started expecting. She started needing. She stopped really taking care of herself and she became a full-on victim.
I enable her just like her ex-husband did. He enabled her in lots of ways too and she was able to stay not working almost her entire adult life.
I just filled her needs. I actually made her break up with her ex-husband and I became him in the relationship that was being played out.
To this day I would have still helped her if she just appreciative.”
In life, we help people because it means something to us, but when they can’t appreciate the sacrifices we make for them, we’re just enabling their own shit at that point.