Compassion Fatigue, Bearing Sickness, 5 Toxic Tactics

Issue 960 » August 18, 2017 - Dhul Qida 26, 1438

Living The Quran

Compassion Fatigue
Al-Baqara (The Cow) Sura 2: Verse 263

"Kind words and forgiveness are better than charity followed by hurt. God is All-sufficient, All-forbearing."

While giving in charity is necessary to achieve the objective of the Quran—the betterment of the poor, of society and humanity as a whole—it has some major pitfalls. Charity must not become a vanity project. It must not merely serve to illustrate how much more some people have than others. A harsh word can undermine all the good that charity may bring, the kind of hurtful words that humiliate those in need by making them feel inadequate because they are poor. Likewise, charity distributed to emphasise one's benevolence defeats its purpose, which is improving the understanding and fellow-feeling between those who give and those who receive.

Charity is not given to gain favours of others, to acquire status in society, or to draw attention to oneself, 'to be seen by men': all of which are rather common in contemporary society. I cannot argue with the objective of Band Aid, Comic Relief and Pudsey Bear in his annual events, but shouldn't we question whether they have become a convention that depends on drawing attention to our giving, on suggesting that only if we get fun and entertainment and a pat on the back for our efforts are we prepared to give to those in need? Are we really doing the right thing in encouraging children to go from door to door rustling up sponsorship so that they can give money to charity? Is that how we should teach the real etiquette of charity to the next generation? Such strategies to raise charitable donations are part of a world that fears compassion fatigue. While there is nothing wrong in giving 'charity openly', provided it is done in the right way, the most important lesson is that there never should or can be a case for compassion fatigue. Charity is solely to earn God's pleasure, whose Compassion is Infinite; our duty is to try and mirror this unending compassion, on which we depend, in all activities including charity. It is an act of worship that connects us directly to God. It remains a duty, a constant obligation until such time as we eradicate poverty and the causes of poverty, and need and the causes of need. It is a double imperative: on the one hand, to appreciate its true meaning; and on the other hand, to operate it in an appropriate manner to serve the real interests of its recipients, not our assessment of what is good enough for them.

Compiled From:
"Reading the Qur'an: The Contemporary Relevance of the Sacred Text of Islam" - Ziauddin Sardar, pp. 189-192

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Bearing Sickness

Ata ibn Abi Rabah reported: "Ibn Abbas said to me, 'Shall I show you a woman who is one of the people of the Garden?' I said, 'Please do.' He said, 'A black woman came to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and said, "I have fits during which I expose myself. Pray to Allah Almighty for me." He replied, "If you wish, you can show fortitude and you will receive the Garden, and if you wish, I will pray to Allah Almighty to heal you." She said, "I will show fortitude." She added, "I expose myself, so pray to Allah that I do not expose myself." So he prayed for her.'"

This woman who was afflicted by fits preferred to die with the guarantee of entering the Garden as the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, informed her. All that she wanted was for her body not to become uncovered during unconsciousness as a result of her fits. The Prophet guaranteed that to her. If her illness had been from Shaytan taking power over her, would the noble Prophet leave her the victim of that accursed one? What would have happened if the woman had lived now? Perhaps she would have been treated with electric shocks to be cured. Perhaps someone would have said, "She is possessed by a devil," and continued to beat her until the alleged devil left her. Perhaps she would have died from the severe beating.

Compiled From:
"The Sunna of the Prophet" - Muhammad al-Ghazali


5 Toxic Tactics

Toxic people such as malignant narcissists, psychopaths and those with antisocial traits engage in maladaptive behaviors in relationships that ultimately exploit, demean and hurt their intimate partners, family members and friends. They use a plethora of diversionary tactics that distort the reality of their victims and deflect responsibility. Although those who are not narcissistic can employ these tactics as well, abusive narcissists use these to an excessive extent in an effort to escape accountability for their actions.

1. Gaslighting.

Gaslighting is a manipulative tactic that can be described in different variations of three words: “That didn’t happen,” “You imagined it,” and “Are you crazy?” Gaslighting is perhaps one of the most insidious manipulative tactics out there because it works to distort and erode your sense of reality; it eats away at your ability to trust yourself and inevitably disables you from feeling justified in calling out abuse and mistreatment.

In order to resist gaslighting, it’s important to ground yourself in your own reality — sometimes writing things down as they happened, telling a friend or reiterating your experience to a support network can help to counteract the gaslighting effect. The power of having a validating community is that it can redirect you from the distorted reality of a malignant person and back to your own inner guidance.

2. Projection.

One sure sign of toxicity is when a person is chronically unwilling to see his or her own shortcomings and uses everything in their power to avoid being held accountable for them. This is known as projection. Projection is a defense mechanism used to displace responsibility of one’s negative behavior and traits by attributing them to someone else. It ultimately acts as a digression that avoids ownership and accountability.

For example, a person who engages in pathological lying may accuse their partner of fibbing; a needy spouse may call their husband “clingy” in an attempt to depict them as the one who is dependent; a rude employee may call their boss ineffective in an effort to escape the truth about their own productivity.

Solution? Don’t “project” your own sense of compassion or empathy onto a toxic person and don’t own any of the toxic person’s projections either.

3. Condescending sarcasm and patronizing tone.

Belittling and degrading a person is a toxic person’s forte and their tone of voice is only one tool in their toolbox. Sarcasm can be a fun mode of communication when both parties are engaged, but narcissists use it chronically as a way to manipulate you and degrade you. If you in any way react to it, you must be “too sensitive.”

Whenever you are met with a condescending demeanor or tone, call it out firmly and assertively. You don’t deserve to be spoken down to like a child — nor should you ever silence yourself to meet the expectation of someone else’s superiority complex.

4. Shaming.

“You should be ashamed of yourself” is a favorite saying of toxic people. Though it can be used by someone who is non-toxic, in the realm of the narcissist or sociopath, shaming is an effective method that targets any behavior or belief that might challenge a toxic person’s power. It can also be used to destroy and whittle away at a victim’s self-esteem: if a victim dares to be proud of something, shaming the victim for that specific trait, quality or accomplishment can serve to diminish their sense of self and stifle any pride they may have.

If you suspect you’re dealing with a toxic person, avoid revealing any of your vulnerabilities or past traumas. Until they’ve proven their character to you, there is no point disclosing information that could be potentially used against you.

5. Control.

Most importantly, toxic abusers love to maintain control in whatever way they can. They isolate you, maintain control over your finances and social networks, and micromanage every facet of your life. Yet the most powerful mechanism they have for control is toying with your emotions.

That’s why abusive narcissists and sociopaths manufacture situations of conflict out of thin air to keep you feeling off center and off balanced. That’s why they chronically engage in disagreements about irrelevant things and rage over perceived slights. That’s why they emotionally withdraw, only to re-idealize you once they start to lose control. That’s why they vacillate between their false self and their true self, so you never get a sense of psychological safety or certainty about who your partner truly is.

The more power they have over your emotions, the less likely you’ll trust your own reality and the truth about the abuse you’re enduring. Knowing the manipulative tactics and how they work to erode your sense of self can arm you with the knowledge of what you’re facing and at the very least, develop a plan to regain control over your own life and away from toxic people.

Compiled From:
"20 Diversion Tactics Highly Manipulative Narcissists, Sociopaths And Psychopaths Use To Silence You" - Shahida Arabi