We talk a lot here about intermittent reinforcement — that power that makes chumps stay because you get a small pay off. A kibble? For me?
Wait. Wait. Wait. Nothing. (Tectonic plates shift, the earth ages, glaciers melt…) KIBBLE!
OMG! A scrap! It’s so, so significant because it’s as rare as unicorn teeth. My precious! Joy!
I want to turn our attention to something chumps do that’s going to make everyone squirm. But we gotta face it — entitlement reinforcement.
Every time you accept a lack of reciprocity as normal, every time you spackle over “Well, they would do the same for me… some day” and that day never comes — you are reinforcing entitlement.
You’re modeling — to the narc, to your kids, to innocent bystanders — that their needs are paramount and yours, not so much.
Now, you may get cranky about this, you might drops hints (I have a need… it’s over there, to the left, buried under the sofa cushions), you might huff and puff, you might go out and plant 80 rose bushes to fill your life with joy in other ways — but if you’re a chump you will NOT question this insanity.
You’ll just do and do and do and do, and expect to be noticed, or appreciated. Okay, maybe that’s a bridge too far. Maybe you think, if I Please the Un-pleasable today, I’ll avoid disaster/rage/criticism/conflict/icky feelings… Anyway, you will NOT stop kibble dispensing. Because you’re damn good at it.
Which is why they picked you. You’re an excellent need-meeter and all-around spouse appliance.
And let’s face it, being a kibble dispenser is all-consuming. It’s not just a hobby, it’s a vocation. It will take everything you throw at it, which very conveniently allows you to avoid the directives of your own life. Who am I? What are my talents that need nurturing? Who CARES? There’s a spill in Aisle 9! Go clean it up, chump!
So, entitlement reinforcement. Stop doing it. Hold out for reciprocity in your relationships. Reward the givers in your life, and cut out the losers.
What? But they’ll be so mad if I stop!
Yeah, they will. It’s gonna to be a total onslaught of the mindfuck channel flipping — rage, charm, and self-pity. That lopsided thing works for folks. Entitlement feels GREAT (if you lack empathy), and sharing… enh. What are you, a socialist?
Fuck ’em. RECIPROCITY. Mutuality. Respect. That’s where it’s at.
Now, I’m not saying quit being wonderful. If you’re a good person, you’re wired to do for others. That’s beautiful. Just don’t be a chump about it, okay? Don’t reward jerks with MORE of your wonderfulness. Know your worth.
You know how I know I’m at a chump get-together? People bring PIES. They bring gifts! An elderly Brooklynite recently shared this piece of advice with me from her mother — never come to someone’s house with “swinging arms.” You bring something. That’s good manners. Chumps have impeccable manners. Their arms never swing empty.
Chumps, let people bring you pies. It might kill you. You may feel like you have to go bake them a pie immediately. It’s okay. The world is better for the sharing. The giving AND the receiving.
Don’t accept lop-sided arrangements. Don’t model them. If narcs can’t share the pie, they don’t deserve the pie.
That ends today’s sermon.