Saturday, April 14, 2007

A Question of Loyalty

"Loyalty means nothing unless it has at its heart the absolute principle of self-sacrifice. "
Woodrow Wilson

I am struggling with the question of loyalty. When does caring for one person violate your loyalty to another? Can it ever?

In grade school girls change "best" friends like hairstyles. Pigtails on Monday, a barrette on Tuesday, maybe braids on Wednesday. Changing alliances cause tears and bitterness that the boys just can't understand. I remember my big brother shaking his head and laughing as he walked away that us girls were so ridiculous. I suppose we were. But as we get older, the stakes get higher. Sometimes we are forced to choose between people we love just because they hate each other. Ideally, we could continue both relationships without being in the middle. For most practical purposes, it doesn't work that way.

What if you were forced to choose between your siblings? Your parents? What if two people you considered part of your family were completely incapable of coexisting? While I have not hidden certain relationships from certain people, I have not flaunted them either, for fear of wounding those individuals. Unfortunately, I am in need of some moral support and two of the people from whom I typically seek that support have been deeply hurt by the person for whom I am spending my psychic energy to support. I need to fill my well with energy to care for an individual who was responsible for a great deal of trauma in the lives of others. Two of those 'others' are the very ones I need to ask to help me fill this well. One of them is willing, perhaps both of them. But is it fair to ask? Is it disloyal to them? I am not disregarding their pain or any unfinished business they may have. I would not blame them if they refused. I only know that it is vitally important to me to take part in caring for this third person and I cannot do it alone. Physically, maybe, but not emotionally.


Scott from Oregon said...

I read this earlier and had no answer for you. I still don't.

I guess the generic answer "it all depends" is all I can offer up.

Carrie Wilson Link said...

That's a toughie, for sure. I've been there. All I can say is it all comes out in the wash, time heals all wounds, but this limbo time is hellish. Perhaps the answer is you seek the support of those completely uninvolved until such a time?

Deb said...

What if in asking the two whose help you need, you're giving them an opportunity to heal those old wounds that they wouldn't get otherwise?

Do you absolutely need them for emotional support, or is it at all possible to find support in a new place that you haven't considered before?

My own experience has shown me that when I do the thing I know I need to and release the outcome, things work out.

I don't know if any of that helps at all. I would be happy to listen to you and process with you if that might help. We're not that far away from one another.

I'm sending you love, energy and many blessings.

Anonymous said...

This is such a very touch place to be! You seem like an open person, it may be the right time for healing to begin and that can start by you asking. You can always ask, listen and process what their issues about it would be at this point and time. If you need them emotionally, they would want to know that. Peace!

holly said...

Oh that is such a hard question, I think carrie is right, it comes out in the wash.

Also wondering if they can find a place where they can support you - no strings attached. meaning, that they can suuport you becuase you need it and have that be enough for them ev en if they could not directly support the person for whom you gather your strength.

good luck!

Kim said...

Wow, that is such a difficult and complicated situation.

To build on Holly's suggestion, is it possible to get the support of these two loved ones more in other areas of your life, to leave room for you to deal with the support you are trying to give this individual? But even as I type that feels too simplistic.

I wish I had something more helpful to say. I hope that they are able to find their way to support you in this. Anyone who knows you knows that when it comes to helping others, you will always be first in line.

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