If you’re not careful, it will pull you down and no amount of flailing will save you.  That’s the clever hitch in emotional quicksand:  the more you engage with it, the tighter it becomes.

The problem is, of course, we don’t even know that we’ve encountered danger until we’re neck deep.  What often appears to be random is actually a neatly constructed ruse designed to trap, and in our desire to please (or to rescue) we inadvertently step into it.

The captors are fully aware of your nature.  They know which button to push to elicit the response they require.  You might think those plaintive cries for help are genuine, but these are not the requests of hapless souls.  They are manipulative strategies.

Not so, you might tell yourself.  How could those eyes brimming with tears be anything but sincere?  Very easily actually, especially if you are stepping outside the box and trying new behaviors.  Those tears aren’t triggered by grief, but by anger and loss of control.

What is truly shocking is not that loved ones are capable of low behavior, but that we have been hamstrung by our own arrogance.   Have we become so deluded that we think others incapable of managing without us?  If so, we’re no better than the victims we aid.  It’s just as vain to think you’re indispensable as it is to believe you’re ineffectual.

Acknowledging your role is not always a sure way to avoid entrapment, but it will clear your conscience.  However, if you expect validation from the other participants, don’t hold your breath.  Some folks love the murky depths and shrink from the light.


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