I have issues with feeling beholden to anyone. I do not like to feel like I owe someone anything or that I am in debt to them. Well, except credit card companies, them I don’t seem to mind so much...but in interpersonal relationships, I have an almost pathological need to keep things even and clean...I do not want to be under an obligation to you for some future gift or favor. Ever.
The reverse is not true however. I am perfectly fine with you being beholden to me, in fact I kind of prefer it that way. Me giving, you taking. That is familiar and comfortable. Well, it used to be.
It seems that I developed this relational economy over the years. Mind you it was never intentional. I think early experiences set me out to always be looking at what your angle was. What was it you wanted from me? There was no free ride, you always had an agenda. Earlier in my life, I spent so much time looking for your twist that I likely missed a great deal about what was really going on, minus the angles. It was like a geometry problem I couldn’t resolve.
Looking back, I can see that I had a very bar/drinking mentality. It was always tit for tat (quite literally). Everyone was always looking for something or someone to fill a need, plug a hole, fill a void. People were more of a gap filler than they were people. Their meaning was in what role they filled, as opposed to their innate value as a person.
I left my early life with this mentality. I walked into sobriety with this idea that everything had to be clean. If you gave and I took then I had to immediately find some way to give back to you, to get us both back to equal. Except that is not how sobriety works. What you get in recovery is always for fun and for free. There is no repayment to the people who help you, usually. It is a pay it forward kind of thing. The people who helped me in the beginning got nothing from my early sobriety except the warning I provided to all about how not to do things or think about things or live a life. I was great at providing a warning like that...still am sometimes, though far less often.
What I have realized lately is that in trying to never be beholden to anyone, I inadvertently became beholden to everyone. I was beholden holden. In my efforts to keep it all equal and fair, I missed that you can’t. It was in my constant and perpetual desire to keep it all balanced that I ended up creating the exact situation I was trying to avoid: feeling like I owed someone something.
I have worked hard to free myself of this and I would love to say that I have made more progress, but I haven’t. I am still incredibly uncomfortable asking you to do anything for me without payment, repayment or terms. Fun and for free is something that I do for you, not the other way around. Why I feel like it is ok to create conditions for being beholden to me when I hate that feeling myself is something that I need to do some work on. I am sure that it all goes back to not wanting to feel vulnerable or weak. Seems like everything in my life has been an effort to avoid those two feelings right there.
What is ironic and kind of sad is that in my quest to never be beholden, I have created more situations that have made me still more beholden, not less. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever get it right! Jeez!
But I see it today. I see where I am warped and I am willing to change it, even if that means that I will continue to have to do it wrong to change it. I am beholden holden and today I am grateful I can see it. I will endeavor to use all the things that happen today to see how this issue shows up in my life. I will use this knowledge to wake up to the fact that I really do desire to move past and beyond being beholden holden...