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Believing every good act towards me is transactional and I am accumulating debt

hedylidae

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Something that I cannot seem to get over during my recovery process is the thought that every positive action is loaded with the expectation of me owing them in the future.

I know it's a toxic thought to have and I am working on it. it is like i have only ever known human relations to be transactional in nature, in an unspoken manner. I know it is wrong but it's hard for me to actually believe people could do a singular nice act without having a hidden agenda .

Does anyone relate to this? Any thoughts you could share?
 
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Goodness yes I completely identify with this. I like this pic, it sums it up for me. A debt that I can't repay that I'll then have to learn to not have all over again

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the thought that every positive action is loaded with the expectation of me owing them in the future.
total empathy on this score and a standing ovation on the elegantly simple phrasing of a profound phenom. half a century into my recovery, i am still looking for daggers behind the backs of people who offer me compliments and demanding full disclosure of the fine print attached to any and all acts of kindness.

the good news is that the half a century of recovery has helped me grow a functional awareness of when this demon of betrayed trust is prowling. the sad fact is that absolute trust is an absolutely bad idea. not all breeches of trust are malicious, but they happen continually. it pays to keep an open mind, but not so open that your brain falls out. i hold trust as a question of balance.
 
I know it is wrong but it's hard for me to actually believe people could do a singular nice act without having a hidden agenda .

I've always viewed relationships as transactional in nature, but as I've grown older I've learned to replace this phrase with "reciprocal" instead. People respond better to this word, as it is based in mutuality - and it also implies that the transaction is intangible in nature. Someone is nice to you, so you reciprocate, and that develops your social bond with that person.

Human beings are wired toward ideas of balance, fairness and justice, it is simply a product of our capacity for cognition. What we view as fair, balanced and just will depend on our ability to use logic, our culture, our upbringing, our individual temperament - but people generally do things because they think it's the right thing to do, or they feel entitled to do it.

Very rarely do you get a person that openly relishes being a piece of shit - more typically, they will blame others and make excuses for themselves. The reason I mention this is because it's tangentially related - we seek fairness, and that extends to social interactions as well. People do lovely, kind things all the time with no hidden agenda, but people don't do lovely, kind things for absolutely no benefit to themselves.

They do it because it gives them a neurotransmitter boost - serotonin, dopamine, etc. and it makes them feel good. Accepting their kindness promotes connection and increases harmony within your group, which benefits both parties. So it's transactional in that sense, but because it's more relative to social and cognitive relational styles, I tend to use reciprocal instead - because quite often, what a person "gets" out of a decent interaction isn't actually tangible to either party.
 
Something that I cannot seem to get over during my recovery process is the thought that every positive action is loaded with the expectation of me owing them in the future.

gosh i absolutely relate to this. this is why i avoid and self sabotage relationships sometimes i think- the expectation that i will never be able to pay people what i owe them and will always be disappointing.

but i agree with weemie, i know i often do things without expecting anything back from that person. i do it because it feels good to prove to one person at a time that the world isn't terrible all the time.
 
Does anyone relate to this? Any thoughts you could share?
Yeah, I know people like that. Fact is sometimes - good things happen. Learn to say thank you when they do and look at them as gifts.

I have always believed in Karma and sometimes in life you don't know the good you do for others. I always look at good things that happen as pay back - sometimes for good I didn't know I did.
 
Yes! I definitely relate to this!

For example, recently I've had friends offer help to fix a garden shed at my house, but I've turned them down. Not because I don't need the help, but because I don't want to "owe" them.
 
I feel like I just read the precise description for a symptom I didn't even know I had...this feels very accurate to my experience. Interactions do feel transactional; if someone does me a favor of their own accord, I'm indebted to them. Definitely comes from family conditioning in my case. Thank you for sharing.
 
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