The Favor Bank

Elisa A. Escalante/ LCSW/ 3-10-2022

“You’re welcome, for all the shit I did for you that you forgot to say thank you for.” -EaE

If there’s one emotion that caught me off guard and left me feeling very uncomfortable and unsettled, I would have to say it was my rage. Because by my early thirties I was spit out of, yet again, another tornado of hurt. And when the dust cleared I had to accept some very disturbing facts about the people that I thought were ‘closest to me’. People in my life that left me feeling used, abused, manipulated, taken for granted etc. Aquintances, old classmates, friends, best friends, exes, old coworkers, supervisors, some family members… when will it end? I needed a term that described how I felt in general… like…. ‘a Favor bank’. Yes that’s it! People love to use me for favors, and I in turn become resentful. Why? They think I’m well off? They think I’m a pushover? They think I have an abundance of kindness? They think I have an endless suppy of emotional energy and resources? Why couldn’t I say no? Why was the hardest thing in the world, for me, the idea of someone feeling let down because I could not give them what they wanted? Why always choose others over myself?

I’m going to talk about the harm other’s have done toward me. But, I am fair. I do not believe I am morally superior, I will also talk about the mistakes I made, and the lesson’s I learned. I can admit now, that underneath my layers; there are deep wounds. I began to admit, out loud, that fear led me to most of my life choices. Fear of always having depression, fear of feeling worthless forever, fear of never being loved, fear of ‘never amounting to anything’, fear of screwing up my life with major decisions; therefore some risks weren’t worth taking at all. (Marriage & kids for example) As I open up about these insecurities and vulnerabilities going forward, I realize people can actually see me for who I am, and then they can treat me like a person, vs a favor bank.

Last year one of the best books I read: Ego is the Enemy by Robert Holiday. I went into the book with an open mind, but I did not believe it applied to me much. After all, how is my ego out of control? I’m the giving one. The nurturer, the pushover. I’m the one that was always able to walk away from almost every fight and swallow my pride. But through that book, I was able to see where my ego came into play. When I give and expect something back, and get upset when I get nothing…. that is ego. When I put my heart and soul into a relationship and expected that I could ‘fix someone and change them’, and got angry that it bit me in the ass… that was ego. When I was so hurt by coworkers, I went the passive aggressive route vs risk the vulnerability of an honest conversation about how I felt… ego. Now that I’ve had these lesson’s, I thought it best to look back at some of the most hurtful situations and see how I could have handled it better. Because after all, I am only ever in control of me. I also hope to give important moral lesson’s through the pain I have experienced. All humans have the capacity to grow and improve; we should strive to.

When People Only want me for money Many people are struggling, and this leads to desperation. I get that. And I do believe that when I have a little bit left to give, I will give as long as it doesn’t hurt me. But it isn’t just about the money. It’s more so, about the behaviors. It is quite frustrating that there were some people that only ever contacted me because they needed money. There were people that as soon as they got the money, they unfollowed or unfriended me. (perhaps their own ego & shame) There were some that got so used to the idea of me ‘providing for them because I liked them’, that they started to expect money, or that I buy them things all the time. The worse thing for me, isn’t the money I’ll never see again, what really caused me rage is the lack of gratitude. I am a lot more selective about this, and the fact of the matter is: I will cut it off. I’m not a gravy train, and I’m MOST certainly NOT rich!

When People only want me for free therapy Being a therapist and having that be known in any type of public setting, has it’s risks. I’ll start by simply saying, no one wants to be at work ’24/7′. You wouldn’t ask a repair man to fix something for free right.. while they are on their day off? You wouldn’t ask a teacher to come tutor your kid for free right? You wouldn’t expect your barber to give you free hair cuts? Therapists do not want to give you free Therapy. Therapists do not enjoy ‘being in therapy mode’ all day long. Therapists are human. Therapists need time away from work to recharge. Therapists are also, not allowed to give therapy to their friends and family, it is considered unethical. But I’ve been asked for so much ‘free advice’ both online and in person, I imagine I’ve done at least 1K hours worth of “Pro Bono” work. My ego is at fault here too. I enjoyed it at first, when I was young and full of energy. It gave me a sense of self worth. But now? No way, it’s exhausting.

When People only wanted me to Love them I believe at this point I may be known as the girl that enters very serious long term relationships that eventually combust into flames. I’m hoping to not repeat this cycle. So, after my last break up, I dated casually for a chunk of time. My ego was especially out of control when it came to any type of intimate connections. Because of my hurt, my rage most likely bled onto new people. But in all fairness, I was used a lot. Love was never a game that I was good at ‘playing’ so to speak. When we love with fear, we will likely not enter something that is safe. Luckily for me, I did get smarter. I learned that it was better to stay true to my Non negotiables vs cave to the pressure of a man for attention, affection or fake love. I began to use my intuition vs ignore it. If the new situationship did not feel recipricol, I could drop it like a New years Resolution. I no longer had a fear of abandonment, I refused to. Because I saw in the past how badly that got me used/ hurt. Standards and boundaries are necessary in the quest to find a true healthy and loving relationship.

When People only want me as their punching bag We all have those friends that insult us more than they praise us. That use us more than they give. And we get to a point where we question why? ‘Why do you keep me around and yet treat me so poorly? Do you even like me??’ Well, it’s likely their fragile ego coming into play. Some things never change. Much like the bully in the schoolyard that picks on others, but deep down we all know they go home crying and feeling inadequate. Some hurt people, hurt people. Some learn that if they abuse others, they feel elevated. Yet, it’s not a healthy way to go about things, but that is the only tool at the disposal of the ‘insecure and abusive’ types. I can spot them from a mile away now. Any indication of this behavior, I block and run. I know better, I’ve suffered through this for more years than I care to admit. Clinging to a false belief that “If I just try hard enough”, this person will get better, heal, and treat me fairly. Never again.

When People only want me for free education Between an education in clinical social work, a military career behind me, and a couple of published books, people come to me with questions. First off, I love educational conversations. As long as it is recipricol. I love talking to other entrepreneurs and professionals, I understand the importance of networking. I love brain storming strategies in which we can both uplift each other in our professional endeavors. This is what I ask: “Do not come for something, if you do not already have something you can give back in return.” Because after all, that is what a relationship is supposed to be… (A healthy one anyways!) recipricol! I post your business, you post mine, I give you info on how I went about publishing or becoming a social worker, you give me info on something I need to learn more about. Some people believe they can ‘piggy back’ off of the success of others. Life doesn’t work that way. You build yourself up by investing in yourself as well as other people. Nothing is free.


So you may be wondering, ‘why the hell would anyone let people treat them like this for so long?’ That’s just stupid. Well it goes back to ego and trauma wounds. Regardless of the fact that in many cases I gave people more than I took, in a materialistic sense, I got something in return on an emotional level. When I gave to others I went from worthless, to having worth. I went from being an unlikeable person into a person that was temporarily ‘liked’. Now, I do not consider those harmful relationships as relationships. They are Zombieships. Some walk away with surplus while others are left drained. When we serve as an ATM Bank to overcompensate for our insecurities, we do not foster real geniune connections. We set ourselves up to get robbed. Our worth must come from within, vs externally. If no one taught us how to have it, we have the adulthood responsibility of finding it on our own. This usually comes from the most Painful lesson’s life has to offer.

Published by functionallymentall

Social Worker, Writer, USAF Veteran

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