Giving, reinstating or being taken advantage of ?

A forum for discussion of Buddhist ethics.
Joseph
Posts: 118
Joined: Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:07 am

Giving, reinstating or being taken advantage of ?

Post by Joseph » Tue May 14, 2019 12:37 am

Hello, and apologies for the mundane.

To sum it up , my ex-gf has recently contacted me believing I owe her money. Now this relationship ended over three years ago (were together for 3 and a half years), when I (and her) were not in the best places (drug abuse....and apathy)... she had some inheritance as this time that she spent (this is what she feels I owe her). Things she has raised

-Takeaway (I was happy eating rice/beans etc. She, and for this I am thankful, would refuse such meals and order a large amount of food and would give me some, I don't believe ever accepting to 'pay her back' for these , rather I remember trying to convince her to eat simply and save money- so in my hazy memory these were offered)
-Groceries (Same deal, she wanted to give what I didn't have, went out of her way so to speak....again, I can't recall ever saying I would pay for things, as I would have just went without) - I did pay for a large amount of groceries later once I had reliable income
-Flights to see her interstate
- Car expenses and ruined mattress ( I have paid for what I feel is reasonable of these)
- Rent (I'm not 100% on this , but I had a direct debit to pay rent , so maybe once or twice she helped out ... I did do the same for her later)

Now... this is all clouded up in hazy bong smoke , so the memories are not the clearest . She also associates all of this with my general emotional distance during this time, she feels she got no support and that I was just using her (So I guess, perhaps these offerings in her mind were me taking the piss?).

In any case , I feel terrible for what happened , have apologized and taken responsibility for the emotional issues I was having, and can only learn to do better in the future . This has brought up a lot of guilt , and thus has clouded my mind - I'm working on self-forgiveness and not being so hard on myself about things , but It's hard to forgive myself when I'm not giving her what she has asked for ($$).
I have spoken to a number of people about this ( mostly non-Buddhist & with 1 Buddhist) , whom think she is emotionally manipulating me , putting all the blame onto me for her actions and spending habits; none of them think I should pay her any money for her decision making, and that it is 'out of line' for her to ask. I sent some money that I did forget about, something concrete , but the rest seemed very arbitrary and it was a fairly large sum for me ($3000) - I have been saving for my first overseas trip the last three years, and obviously I am attached to this :crying:

So I guess, What I'm after is what you, Buddhist practitioners would do.... How do I balance wanting to give, without being taken advantage of? I have had to block her at the moment as the emotional abuse (everyday 50-100 messages) was starting to affect me . :crying:
"When you play in dirt, you get dirty" - Jimmy McNulty

Joseph
Posts: 118
Joined: Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:07 am

Re: Giving, reinstating or being taken advantage of ?

Post by Joseph » Wed May 15, 2019 2:26 am

I should add that , I was ( and still am ) thinking about paying what she wants
- I feel guilty cultivating good intentions/relative bodhicitta when it feels like I can't live up to it
- I feel guilty being present (??) as it feels like I'm minimizing the result, obviously this feeling of guilt the becomes the next minimization
- I feel that this is a good opportunity to learn a lesson around clinging to material goods (even though I'm clinging to this situation....)
- I contributed to her suffering, I can do my part to lessen it ?
- It is a valuable lesson to be mindful of circumstances , and the foundational nature of ethics and morality with respect to prajna.

Only real thing stopping me is that , everyone called me crazy from a secular point of view , and said that she made those decisions / they are not on me .
:shrug: :shrug:
:namaste: :namaste:
"When you play in dirt, you get dirty" - Jimmy McNulty

User avatar
Vasana
Posts: 1863
Joined: Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:22 am

Re: Giving, reinstating or being taken advantage of ?

Post by Vasana » Wed May 15, 2019 9:15 am

Aim for diplomacy and fairness yet maintain boundaries. In the 37 practices of the Bodhisattva we are told to accept defeats and give victories to others but this needs to be done skillfully otherwise it's just the opposite, unskillful. These quotes from Pema Chodron may be helpful for your situation. The idea isnt to deter us from repaying rightful debts or acting compassionately but to clarify our unexamined assumptions and how they shape the expression of our acts.
Idiot Compassion ~ Pema Chödron

The third near enemy of compassion is idiot compassion. This is when we avoid conflict and protect our good image by being kind when we should definitely say “no.” Compassion doesn’t only imply trying to be good. When we find ourselves in an aggressive relationship, we need to set clear boundaries. The kindest thing we can do for everyone concerned is to know when to say “enough.” Many people use Buddhist ideals to justify self-debasement. In the name of not shutting our heart we let people walk all over us. It is said that in order not to break our vow of compassion we have to learn when to stop aggression and draw the line. There are times when the only way to bring down barriers is to set boundaries.
"Don't impose the wrong notion of what harmony is, what compassion is, what patience is, what generosity is. Don't misinterpret what these things really are. There is compassion and there is idiot compassion; there is patience and there is idiot patience; there is generosity and there is idiot generosity.

For example, trying to smooth everything out to avoid confrontation, not to rock the boat, is not what's meant by compassion or patience. It's what is meant by control. Then you are not trying to step into unknown territory, to find yourself more naked with less protection and therefore more in contact with reality. Instead, you use the idiot forms of compassion and so forth just to get ground.

When you open the door and invite in all sentient beings as your guests, you have to drop your agenda. Many different people come in. Just when you think you have a little scheme that is going to work, it doesn't work. It was very beneficial to Juan, but when you tried it on Mortimer, he looked at you as if you were crazy, and when you try it on Juanita, she gets insulted...

...So you sit there and you say, "Okay, now I'm going to make friends with the fact that I am hurting and afraid, and this is really awful." But you are just trying to avoid conflict here; you just don't want to make things worse. Then all the guests are misbehaving; you work hard all day and they just sit around, smoking cigarettes, drinking beer, eating your food, and then beating you up.

You think you're being a warrior and a Bodhisattva by doing nothing and saying nothing, but what you're being is a coward. You're just afraid of making the situation worse. Finally they kick you out of your house and you're sitting on the sidewalk. Somebody walks by and says, "What are you doing sitting out here?" You answer, "I am practicing patience and compassion." That's missing the point."

From Start Where You Are : A Guide to Compassionate Living by Pema Chodron, Copyright 1994, Shambhala Publications
'When alone, watch your mind. When with others, watch your speech'- Old Kadampa saying.

User avatar
Vasana
Posts: 1863
Joined: Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:22 am

Re: Giving, reinstating or being taken advantage of ?

Post by Vasana » Wed May 15, 2019 9:28 am

As for feeling guilty for not living up to the aspiration of Bodhichitta, this is natural since we are still training after all..we can't pretend to have perfect compassion when we've only recently began cultivating it.
Guilt can be helpful or unhelpful. Helpful when it motivates us to practice and unhelpful when we construct elaborate narratives about it and identify with those

Thubten Chodron has a good talk on YouTube about the best way to relate to our own self expectations on the path - i.e - don't expect perfect acts of compassion amd wisdom without ever experiencing lapses in concentration or afflictions- be realistic and just keep returning to the cushion.
'When alone, watch your mind. When with others, watch your speech'- Old Kadampa saying.

PSM
Posts: 221
Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2018 1:15 pm

Re: Giving, reinstating or being taken advantage of ?

Post by PSM » Wed May 15, 2019 9:37 am

Joseph wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 12:37 am
I have spoken to a number of people about this ( mostly non-Buddhist & with 1 Buddhist) , whom think she is emotionally manipulating me , putting all the blame onto me for her actions and spending habits; none of them think I should pay her any money for her decision making, and that it is 'out of line' for her to ask. I sent some money that I did forget about, something concrete , but the rest seemed very arbitrary and it was a fairly large sum for me ($3000) - I have been saving for my first overseas trip the last three years, and obviously I am attached to this :crying:

So I guess, What I'm after is what you, Buddhist practitioners would do.... How do I balance wanting to give, without being taken advantage of? I have had to block her at the moment as the emotional abuse (everyday 50-100 messages) was starting to affect me . :crying:
Demanding $3000 out of the blue via abusive messages is not the behaviour of someone reasonable. IMHO you owe her nothing, it was a situation you mutually made by the sound of it. Wonder what she wants the money for? It's probably for something specific, hence the decision to try milk you for it now.

If I can be honest, this thread makes you sound easy to guilt-trip, so you might not be making the most rational assessment of the situation - whether Buddhist or not.

Joseph
Posts: 118
Joined: Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:07 am

Re: Giving, reinstating or being taken advantage of ?

Post by Joseph » Wed May 15, 2019 10:08 am

PSM wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 9:37 am

If I can be honest, this thread makes you sound easy to guilt-trip, so you might not be making the most rational assessment of the situation - whether Buddhist or not.
Absolutely, I am easy to guilt trip! Always have been :crying: . Used to give my pocket money to beggars if they asked. !
I'm trying to work on it ! but I kept getting stuck in the mindset that I did contribute to the situation , so I am in a way responsible (I guess the onus here is... not solely responsible) .

This is no doubt compounded in my mind by the fact that she has a history of mental health issues ....and I feel like I should have stepped out of the situation earlier .... but then again that's all coming from her side ... and it is starting to feel like gaslighting .

Thank you :hug:
"When you play in dirt, you get dirty" - Jimmy McNulty

Joseph
Posts: 118
Joined: Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:07 am

Re: Giving, reinstating or being taken advantage of ?

Post by Joseph » Wed May 15, 2019 10:14 am

Vasana wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 9:28 am
As for feeling guilty for not living up to the aspiration of Bodhichitta, this is natural since we are still training after all..we can't pretend to have perfect compassion when we've only recently began cultivating it.
Guilt can be helpful or unhelpful. Helpful when it motivates us to practice and unhelpful when we construct elaborate narratives about it and identify with those

Thubten Chodron has a good talk on YouTube about the best way to relate to our own self expectations on the path - i.e - don't expect perfect acts of compassion amd wisdom without ever experiencing lapses in concentration or afflictions- be realistic and just keep returning to the cushion.
Thank you for your response .

I have been feeling both sides of guilt recently! I can see myself getting dragged into the narrative of it , into its closed dark confines! And I can also see the imperative need for continuous mindfulness, and integrating karma and vipaka into my awareness.

I will look into those resources , I do have a copy of her commentary on Bodhicaryāvatāra so I might dig into that . I don't really have a physical sangha where I am , so not many people I can pose these sorts of questions too!

- Awesome quotes ! Idiot compassion , yes! This is what I have been thinking, I'm an idiot with compassion ! I did end up setting boundaries and blocking her contacting me . I think I will just try and focus on practice, with the intent to one day benefit all whom are stuck like .. like her!

:anjali: :anjali:
"When you play in dirt, you get dirty" - Jimmy McNulty

PSM
Posts: 221
Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2018 1:15 pm

Re: Giving, reinstating or being taken advantage of ?

Post by PSM » Wed May 15, 2019 10:18 am

Joseph wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 10:08 am
Absolutely, I am easy to guilt trip! Always have been :crying:
That's something to work on. It's not a good sign to be easy to emotionally manipulate. You need to work on boundaries - it will make you a better person, for yourself and others.
This is no doubt compounded in my mind by the fact that she has a history of mental health issues ....
Not surprising that's a factor, to say the least.
and I feel like I should have stepped out of the situation earlier
Yes, for both your sakes. Lessons like this are not pleasant, but very educational...
it is starting to feel like gaslighting.
Gaslighting sounds like the perfect description. She obviously knows what buttons to push.

Joseph
Posts: 118
Joined: Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:07 am

Re: Giving, reinstating or being taken advantage of ?

Post by Joseph » Wed May 15, 2019 11:02 am

PSM wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 10:18 am
Joseph wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 10:08 am
Absolutely, I am easy to guilt trip! Always have been :crying:
That's something to work on. It's not a good sign to be easy to emotionally manipulate. You need to work on boundaries - it will make you a better person, for yourself and others.
This is no doubt compounded in my mind by the fact that she has a history of mental health issues ....
Not surprising that's a factor, to say the least.
and I feel like I should have stepped out of the situation earlier
Yes, for both your sakes. Lessons like this are not pleasant, but very educational...
it is starting to feel like gaslighting.
Gaslighting sounds like the perfect description. She obviously knows what buttons to push.
Agree with all those points !

She definitely knows what buttons to push ! It didn't help that I'm not overly confident in my memories from that time (an obnoxious amount of psychedelics) , and thus can't accurately delineate events ...only infer from the underlying theme of those years.
In any case I can't take responsibility for her decisions! :jedi:

:anjali:
"When you play in dirt, you get dirty" - Jimmy McNulty

User avatar
Dan74
Founding Member
Posts: 2611
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 3:59 pm

Re: Giving, reinstating or being taken advantage of ?

Post by Dan74 » Wed May 15, 2019 12:20 pm

I'd be tempted to give her something, though in a way this rewards her awful behaviour. Not the $3k she demands but some fraction, perhaps $750. That was you do acknowledge your part in the whole mess. But maybe it's not the right thing to do, not sure.

Joseph
Posts: 118
Joined: Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:07 am

Re: Giving, reinstating or being taken advantage of ?

Post by Joseph » Wed May 15, 2019 12:40 pm

Dan74 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 12:20 pm
I'd be tempted to give her something, though in a way this rewards her awful behaviour. Not the $3k she demands but some fraction, perhaps $750. That was you do acknowledge your part in the whole mess. But maybe it's not the right thing to do, not sure.
I did send her an amount that of $500 , half of which was for a car and the other for a mattress that I supposedly ruined ... :shrug:
It's a mess, and I had a part in it . Rewarding her behavior is another point, I think it's the only way she can actively maintain attention ... through bombardment ....she was often too much for her parents ...
In a way I just wanted to pay her out an amount so I could be 'done' with it , and then could focus on practice etc ... yet from my little amount of experience , I know there will just be another event that enters awareness .... that I will instinctively accept or reject, around the waterwheel I go. :tantrum:
"When you play in dirt, you get dirty" - Jimmy McNulty

PSM
Posts: 221
Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2018 1:15 pm

Re: Giving, reinstating or being taken advantage of ?

Post by PSM » Wed May 15, 2019 3:00 pm

Joseph wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 12:40 pm
In a way I just wanted to pay her out an amount so I could be 'done' with it , and then could focus on practice etc ...
You're giving a crazy person money and expecting them to leave you alone?

I think your practice should involve getting emotionally healthy with regards to this issue, to be honest. Setting boundaries is something I had to learn and has made everything so much better.

User avatar
SunWuKong
Posts: 636
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:15 pm
Location: Alexandria, Virginia, USA
Contact:

Re: Giving, reinstating or being taken advantage of ?

Post by SunWuKong » Wed May 15, 2019 5:54 pm

Looks to me like an attempt to draw attention to herself. And you are engaging in that process. Manipulative people have a funny way of going away when you stop feeding them attention. Try it.
"We are magical animals that roam" ~ Roam

Joseph
Posts: 118
Joined: Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:07 am

Re: Giving, reinstating or being taken advantage of ?

Post by Joseph » Thu May 16, 2019 2:26 am

SunWuKong wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 5:54 pm
Looks to me like an attempt to draw attention to herself. And you are engaging in that process. Manipulative people have a funny way of going away when you stop feeding them attention. Try it.
Yes I think your right . The conversation started of amicably , but then descended from there....
In any case I have blocked her since a few days ago... trying it :woohoo:
"When you play in dirt, you get dirty" - Jimmy McNulty

Joseph
Posts: 118
Joined: Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:07 am

Re: Giving, reinstating or being taken advantage of ?

Post by Joseph » Thu May 16, 2019 2:31 am

PSM wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 3:00 pm
Joseph wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 12:40 pm
In a way I just wanted to pay her out an amount so I could be 'done' with it , and then could focus on practice etc ...
You're giving a crazy person money and expecting them to leave you alone?

I think your practice should involve getting emotionally healthy with regards to this issue, to be honest. Setting boundaries is something I had to learn and has made everything so much better.
This is a learning experience for me !
But you are right, this is something I should work on . :anjali:
"When you play in dirt, you get dirty" - Jimmy McNulty

User avatar
well wisher
Posts: 260
Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2018 3:57 am
Location: Canada

Re: Giving, reinstating or being taken advantage of ?

Post by well wisher » Thu May 16, 2019 9:39 pm

My opinion generally concurs with all the wise postings above.
As far as I know, reasonable self-defense is permitted in many schools of Buddhism; in line with avoiding "idiot compassion" as stated above;
Otherwise it might just end up encouraging further bad behaviours.
3 years is way too long to hold on the financial grudges. Your ex-GF has gotta learn to let go of the past!

Checking on history lessons: even Shakamuni Buddha was not able to immediately save everyone he encountered by debasing himself. He only taught those who are receptive and willing towards him.
He was not able to immediately save those who are abusive or those who strongly rejected him, specially extremely greedy and abusive folks.
Example story:
https://www.lotus-happiness.com/histori ... akyas-clan
King Virudhaka razed Kapilavastu and massacred the Shakyas.
....
Seven days later, while encamped on a riverbank, King Virudhaka and his army were swept away by a flash flood.
If I were in your shoes. I would try to talk some sense to that ex-GF into letting go of those small petty money grudge matters. Maybe even encourage to live a more simpler and manageable lifestyle like you had, with less dependency on money.
Also it sounds like maybe she is in some rough time financially as well, otherwise she would not be so petty about past matters from 3 years ago.
So out of pity, maybe it is better in the long run to lead her towards social services: like food stamps, unemployment agencies, welfare soup kitchens ... etc.
How much you want to give to her as an one-time payment is up to you: it also depends on well you are doing financially, but I doubt any of us have limitless funds! In this Saha world of ours full of unwanted limitations.
If she still demands further payments, I would seriously consider and permanent break up all communications and ties with that ex-GF, and completely change my cell phone number and address so she will never be able to bother me again. In that case, maybe a mental institution would be better suited for her for such excessive clinging!

Peace and quiet from harassment is very important for our mental well being!
Wishing you all peaceful harmonious happiness ~

Joseph
Posts: 118
Joined: Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:07 am

Re: Giving, reinstating or being taken advantage of ?

Post by Joseph » Fri May 17, 2019 3:47 am

well wisher wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 9:39 pm
My opinion generally concurs with all the wise postings above.
As far as I know, reasonable self-defense is permitted in many schools of Buddhism; in line with avoiding "idiot compassion" as stated above;
Otherwise it might just end up encouraging further bad behaviours.
3 years is way too long to hold on the financial grudges. Your ex-GF has gotta learn to let go of the past!

Checking on history lessons: even Shakamuni Buddha was not able to immediately save everyone he encountered by debasing himself. He only taught those who are receptive and willing towards him.
He was not able to immediately save those who are abusive or those who strongly rejected him, specially extremely greedy and abusive folks.
Example story:
https://www.lotus-happiness.com/histori ... akyas-clan
King Virudhaka razed Kapilavastu and massacred the Shakyas.
....
Seven days later, while encamped on a riverbank, King Virudhaka and his army were swept away by a flash flood.
If I were in your shoes. I would try to talk some sense to that ex-GF into letting go of those small petty money grudge matters. Maybe even encourage to live a more simpler and manageable lifestyle like you had, with less dependency on money.
Also it sounds like maybe she is in some rough time financially as well, otherwise she would not be so petty about past matters from 3 years ago.
So out of pity, maybe it is better in the long run to lead her towards social services: like food stamps, unemployment agencies, welfare soup kitchens ... etc.
How much you want to give to her as an one-time payment is up to you: it also depends on well you are doing financially, but I doubt any of us have limitless funds! In this Saha world of ours full of unwanted limitations.
If she still demands further payments, I would seriously consider and permanent break up all communications and ties with that ex-GF, and completely change my cell phone number and address so she will never be able to bother me again. In that case, maybe a mental institution would be better suited for her for such excessive clinging!

Peace and quiet from harassment is very important for our mental well being!
Wishing you all peaceful harmonious happiness ~
Thank you for your post.
There is no reasoning with her . Having spent three years with her I probably tend to see the some good intentions in there .... From what I know she can be caring and compassionate to a fault .... she does however suffer from a multitude of psychological problems ... and has indeed spent time within 'institutes'

I'm definitely not the impartial judge on this , hence I asked for wider opinions .. Part of why I was so torn is that I definitely wasn't perfect throughout those years , and I should have really broken up with her long before it ended. She needed much more support than my drugged out brain could give . This doesn't excuse her behavior now though, I won't be unblocking her or contacting her again; I wish her all the best, and can only hope she finds a way to eliminate at least gross suffering.

I paid her $750 . $250 for part-ownership of a car, $250 for a mattress I ruined and then $250 for two weeks rent (Not concrete on this , but if not then I'm OK with that. )

She should have asked me long ago ... but in any case part of what she was asking for was owed . She interwove emotionalism with it and did try and manipulate me into paying for many other things . What I sent her I could afford , and feel better having done so - hopefully the heavily reduced amount doesn't condone her behavior....but then again I definitely don't condone my behavior throughout that time.

This was my first 'long-term' relationship ... all I can do is do my best each day .... try and work with my circumstances and be present and aware .

Thank you everyone for your sage advice.
:anjali:
"When you play in dirt, you get dirty" - Jimmy McNulty

User avatar
SunWuKong
Posts: 636
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:15 pm
Location: Alexandria, Virginia, USA
Contact:

Re: Giving, reinstating or being taken advantage of ?

Post by SunWuKong » Sat May 18, 2019 2:32 am

Great, good to hear, closure to some extent for you. So where does this leave you? You have a practice, sangha, etc?
"We are magical animals that roam" ~ Roam

Joseph
Posts: 118
Joined: Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:07 am

Re: Giving, reinstating or being taken advantage of ?

Post by Joseph » Sat May 18, 2019 3:59 am

SunWuKong wrote:
Sat May 18, 2019 2:32 am
Great, good to hear, closure to some extent for you. So where does this leave you? You have a practice, sangha, etc?
Thank you .
.
I'm a student of ChNN . I live in a relatively remote part of the world , so there is a 3-5 person Sangha in my state. I'm hoping to catch up with them soon. My main practice is guru yoga. I'm still working on the 'the view' when I find myself outside of this state, and trying to integrate this working into presence. I spent a lot of time at first trying to understand how the various Yanas interwove, but I'm finding that practice rather than reading is much more efficacious for such understandings .

I'm still relatively new the the communities , I just try to do my best :)
I hope to visit India/Nepal next year to explore and connect further with the tradition.

:anjali:
"When you play in dirt, you get dirty" - Jimmy McNulty

User avatar
SunWuKong
Posts: 636
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:15 pm
Location: Alexandria, Virginia, USA
Contact:

Re: Giving, reinstating or being taken advantage of ?

Post by SunWuKong » Sat May 18, 2019 6:04 pm

Joseph wrote:
Sat May 18, 2019 3:59 am
SunWuKong wrote:
Sat May 18, 2019 2:32 am
Great, good to hear, closure to some extent for you. So where does this leave you? You have a practice, sangha, etc?
Thank you .
.
I'm a student of ChNN . I live in a relatively remote part of the world , so there is a 3-5 person Sangha in my state. I'm hoping to catch up with them soon. My main practice is guru yoga. I'm still working on the 'the view' when I find myself outside of this state, and trying to integrate this working into presence. I spent a lot of time at first trying to understand how the various Yanas interwove, but I'm finding that practice rather than reading is much more efficacious for such understandings .

I'm still relatively new the the communities , I just try to do my best :)
I hope to visit India/Nepal next year to explore and connect further with the tradition.

:anjali:
I forget who is ChNN again?
"We are magical animals that roam" ~ Roam

Post Reply

Return to “Ethical Conduct”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests