ANYWAY... My thinking on the matter has evolved to a more complicated plane. I realize that this capacity to sympathize and empathize can be a great strength, but it can also be a trap. Yes, it's a gift to comfort and help others, but it also tends to get me into trouble because I can "take up a cause" and get all upset FOR SOMEONE ELSE... often in ways that are unnecessary. I think it's a quality that can be exploited by the devil: "Why just get one person upset? I'll make sure Claire hears about it and then TWO people can have a miserable day!" And in that way it's also an invitation for DRAMA.
And guess what?! I'm burned out on drama! I think if one more drama happens, I will quit! Seriously! I will move to Australia and become an ostrich farmer!
I think I'm a codependent person. Wikipedia delves into the subject thusly:
Codependence (or codependency) is a popular psychology concept popularized by Twelve-Step program advocates. A "codependent" can be loosely defined as someone who exhibits too much, and often inappropriate, caring for persons who depend on him or her. A "codependent" is one side of a relationship between mutually needy people. The dependent, or obviously needy party(s) may have emotional, physical, financial difficulties, or addictions they seemingly are unable to surmount. The "codependent" party exhibits behaviour which controls, makes excuses for, pities, and takes other actions to perpetuate the obviously needy party's condition, because of their desire to be needed and fear of doing anything that would change the relationship.
A common usage of the term is that codependency occurs when enabling addiction, taking care of another person in a way that is not healthy in the long run to either that person or themselves, or both. Codependency is loss of self for the codependent.
Did you catch that? A LOSS OF SELF? More and more, I think I'm coming to a deeper realization that this is true of me. I know it sounds like a bunch of Dr. Phil mumbo-jumbo, but there is a kernel of truth in there. Disturbing truth. And a kernel may not sound big or important but when you're eating popcorn and suddenly you crunch down on a kernel, it can cause a heap of pain. Sometimes truth can bring pain, but that's no reason to avoid it. I believe the truth, however awful, eventually always leads to something good.
I hereby resign from drama, and from being a codependent person. If you want to be all upset about something, go ahead. I am not joining you. Sorry! Oh, wait. No, I'm not sorry. Unless I am at fault. Then I'll feel bad like nobody's business.