On Being Used

By Anthony Gold

Have you ever felt that others take advantage of, or use you?

It might feel like they have a blatant disregard for your time. Or they seem to lack sufficient gratitude for your assistance. It’s almost as if they have an expectation that you will always be there for them.

Does it feel unfair?

Flipping the tables, have you used others or taken advantage of their seeming acquiescence? Perhaps you feel a sense of guilt or shame over your indifference for their offerings.

It’s no surprise that we all experience the unfairness of being taken advantage of and the subtle remorse of using others.

The shocking element is that we actually want to feel this way.

Why would we want to feel used?

Partly as a way to increase our feelings of self-worth. The more we can create a situation that others need us, the more we feel needed and valuable.

But more significantly, we do this as a means of casting blame onto someone else for our own sense of misery. If we feel bad, the last thing we want to consider is that we are doing this to ourselves. It is much easier to point the accusing finger at someone else. And what better scapegoat than the person using us?

Conversely, using others is nothing more than a smokescreen over our feelings of inadequacy. We believe we are lacking and that someone else has what we need. And we feel justified in getting it from them.

But we don’t have to feel this way.

A Course in Miracles teaches us that we want to see ourselves as being unfairly treated, enabling us to blame someone or something else.

Beware of the temptation to perceive yourself unfairly treated. Can innocence be purchased by the giving of your guilt to someone else? (T-26.X.4)

By perceiving ourselves as being used or unfairly treated, we become the innocent victims. At least, from the wrong-minded ego worldview. And by seeing those using us as the unfair victimizers, our accusation calls them to task.

Unfairness and attack are one mistake, so firmly joined that where one is perceived the other must be seen. You cannot be unfairly treated. The belief you are is but another form of the idea you are deprived by someone not yourself. (T-26.X.3).

Once we realize the framework upon which we’ve setup this delusional thought system, we can escape its depressingly maladaptive grasp.

The secret of salvation is but this: that you are doing this unto yourself. No matter what the form of the [unfairness], this still is true. (T-27.VIII.10)

We don’t need to feel unfairly treated, nor do we need to use others to fill a perceived lack. Join us in Monday’s class where we’ll explore the Course’s lessons on true perception and experiencing unbridled happiness. I look forward to seeing you then.

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