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The Desperation of Sincere Caring

I once found a friend sitting with a large knife in one hand preparing to slice his right arm off. “Don’t do that!” I yelled, “You need your right arm! It’s going to hurt, and you might bleed to death!”

My friend responded with a look that hovered halfway between condescension and sadness over the realization that unenlightened people like myself still exist. “I am sorry that my choice to cut off my arm is causing you such emotional distress.”

“That’s not the point.” I desperately replied, “I am distressed because cutting off your arm is not good for your health - I am concerned for your safety and well-being because I love you.”

“See, there you go, making it about you. It’s not about you, it’s about me, and what I want – and I know that I will be happier this way. I am sorry that you cannot just accept that fact. It’s who I am – a one-armed person.”

“I’m not doubting how you feel, or questioning the sincerity of your emotions, but your life is on the line! If you cut off your arm, there are going to be real consequences to your health and to your quality of life. These are simple facts.”

“How dare you dismiss my feelings! You don’t care about me! You think you can control me, and that you’re smarter than everyone else! How arrogant and narcissistic is that! Stop trying to enforce your will in my life! This is my body, and my choice!”

“It’s not just my opinion. Don’t you feel the pain from the knife? Can’t you see the blood coming from the wound? You are causing permanent, serious harm to yourself!”

“Don’t tell me what I can and cannot see. Now you’re gaslighting me! You will do anything to keep control over me, won’t you? You’re like every other narcissist that I’ve ever known.”

“Why do you keep attacking me? I am deeply concerned about your safety, and I want the best for you. If you want me to trust you when you say that you are happiest as a one-armed person, can’t you trust me when I say that I truly care about you? Isn’t that what relationships are about? Mutual trust?”

“HOW DARE YOU!!! Leveraging our friendship so that you can control me! That’s low even for you! You just enjoy torturing people for fun, don’t you? You’re just one more toxic person in my life.”

And so there my friend still sits, cutting deeper into his own right arm. He only listens to those that cheer for him, many of them people still trying to convince themselves, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that cutting their own arm off was the best thing they ever did.

I could walk away, but I live for the hope that one day he will realize what he is doing… For now, all I can do is wait and pray.

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