Posted by: Judy | March 5, 2015

Meme debunking…

I love Zig Ziglar. He says a lot of encouraging things. Some things need to be debunked:

“Be a reflection of what you’d like to see in others. If you want love, give love. If you want honesty, give honesty. If you want respect, give respect. You get in return what you give.”

No and no and no again.

Be who you want to be.

End of story.

Being what you’d like to see in others gives others power over you.

As survivors of narcissists, we’ve learned the hard lesson that you don’t get in return what you give. Babies don’t ask to be abused and abandoned. They don’t ask to be raped and murdered.

I admit that I “seemed” to ask for the abuse. I complained to my last counselor that I felt like I had “Abuse Me” tattooed on my forehead. As we talked about it, I realized I did, in a way. I knew how to interact with abusers. I’d been trained well and excelled at what I’d learned. It wasn’t that I wanted abuse; I reflected the interactions with which I was familiar.

Sounds like I was actually fulfilling the meme. The problem is that it fails to acknowledge that some people will give back what you give but others won’t. More importantly, it may have absolutely nothing to do with you. You’re simply the convenient target or in the way of someone blundering through the day.

You can’t “nice” an abuser into not abusing any more.

It’s a lie to say, “You get in return what you give.”

Sometimes you do. Sometimes you don’t.

You do not have control over others. You can influence, sometimes, but you are not the determining factor.

I’ve been nice to people and had them be absolutely rotten to me. I’ve also been rotten to people, and they’ve treated me with a kindness and compassion I didn’t deserve.

How many victims have been told, “If you were nicer, these things wouldn’t happen.” “If you were respectful, you wouldn’t need to be corrected.” “If you loved me, you’d give me what I need so I feel loved.”

Mr. Ziglar is (hopefully unwittingly) using the oldest abuse trick in the world: You control how others treat you by how you treat them.

You don’t have that much power.

The only one you control is you.

So be the person you want to be, the person you can look at in the mirror without shame because you are loving; you are honest; you are respectful; you are good; you are not perfect, but you are endeavoring to be your best self.



  1. If one gives love, honesty and respect only because that’s what one wants to get back, doesn’t it turn it into another form of manipulation?

    “Be who you want to be. End of story” Yes, yes and yes. 🙂

    Great post. xx

    • Oh, wow… you’re right. It is. Excellent observation! Thanks ((Kara))

      • That is brillant!

        • 🙂

  2. Wild cheering from my computer. Love it.

    • 🙂

  3. One of my mother’s favorite “teachings” was about the Golden Rule. But if she adhered to it like she claimed, then it would mean she wanted to be treated like a worthless piece of crap. I think she somehow twisted in her mind that she treated others badly because she perceived (invisible and imagined) slights against her and therefore have her the right to be rude in return. Narcissistic thinking .

    • Oh, wow… that sounds way too familiar. NM always complains that people aren’t friendly to her, without seeing how unfriendly she is.

  4. I am not a fan of kill ’em with kindness. It always seemed like people who took advantage took more, I gave an inch, they took a yard. It is one of the early warning signs I have today. Great post!

    • Exactly! Great comments. 🙂

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