I am trying to disabuse myself of the false notion that I can anticipate everyone’s needs and, thereby, prevent suffering.

I don’t know when and where along the winding way of my life I decided that I, Courtney Martin, had the all-knowing power to detect other people’s desires, needs, pet peeves, ailments, and grievances, and even more than detect, actually do something about them. All of them. I have a feeling it was very early—a strange accumulation of moments where, as a little girl, I watched and made meaning, adding up to a very convoluted, delusional math. I can’t tell a clear, cogent story of these moments, which of course drives me, the writer, bonkers. I just know that somehow I have become very hard-wired to believe that I am responsible for other people’s feelings (or my best guess at what they are).

Read more on The Examined Family.

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