Generosity is considered a positive quality by us in the West, but we often overlook that it is also the most easily “poisoned” quality, morphed into something distinctly passive-aggressive and selfish by negative hidden motives and influences. I’m going to explain to you what “toxic generosity” is, and how we can avoid it. This post is essentially a light musing on my part, so I apologise for its rambling, maybe circuitous format.
Example: There is a woman a few years younger than me who was infatuated with a man for two years. She was determined to win this man over and make him love her. The man did not return her feelings, but he didn’t hate her either, so for a long while he patiently and politely tried to make this woman understand that her romantic efforts were pointless and doomed from the start.
Still, the woman continued on, and what she did was shower the man with unwanted gifts. When she heard he was feeling ill, she drove to his place and came in, uninvited, bringing along soup and DVDs. She invited the man to parties with her friends, and at times when they were both drunk, she’d try to persuade him into bed with her. The man never accepted.
The woman told her friends that she would do anything to win him over, and nothing would stop her. She even enrolled in a college curriculum that the man had a degree in, just so she could try to impress him (it didn’t work, and she has dropped out since). She fantasized about a life together with this man, she spent thousands of dollars on food, wine, gifts, and became an ingratiating doormat to him. It was sad to watch, and I gave her some advice which she did not like. Also — she was intensely jealous of any other woman to whom the man spoke. She would try to drive his female friends away, and sometimes she’d have hysterical outbursts or create fake dramas and rumors.
Finally, when the man found a girlfriend, and he learned that this female “friend” was spreading malicious lies about them behind their backs, he’d decided enough was enough, and he cut off all contact with her. This caused the woman to march to his house and demand back all the (unwanted) things she had bought for him. She screeched that the man had ruined years of her life, even though it was not his fault.
The man is now happily married, and the woman, although she appears content on the surface (judging by the hundreds of photos she shares on Instagram as if passive-aggressively trying to prove to herself and others how awesome her life is), I am not entirely convinced she will ever understand the ways she went wrong. She idolized another person, which we must never do. Having unrealistically positive views on other people can flip into deepest hatred if they ever happen to cause disappointment.
So, what on earth happened here? This woman obviously had a number of psychological issues, but the one I want to focus on is her fake generosity, which was the main reason she became so unhinged and hysterical. Even though she technically bought gifts and behaved exceedingly kindly, it was with the expectation that she would get something in return. Her kindness masked her desperation, her need to possess this other person. It was not genuine kindess. She expected the man’s love in return. She thought she could literally buy his love, and when she was not reimbursed for her costly investment, she turned into an emotional, demanding and hateful wreck.
It is important to understand that buying gifts will never buy someone’s heart. So when you do choose to surprise a loved one or a crush with chocolates or a weekend vacation, do so out of simple appreciation and a desire to bring a smile to that person’s face and have fun.
Another example of toxic generosity is sensibly described by the author Elizabeth Gilbert who, although I disagree with in many ways both personal and philosophical, is correct about people that she refers to as “over-givers.”
“Generosity is neither entangling nor aggressive, because the generous person doesn’t expect anything in return. The over-giver, on the other hand, expects to be petted and feted and praised and loved unconditionally for the rest of time.”
We are essentially talking about Hollywood-grade virtue-signallers. People who buy gifts and do nice things because they want to show off, to feel higher and better than everyone else. They are the type of people who forward money to shady charities that feed Somalian orphans or Haitian hurricane victims so that they can brag about how culturally conscious they are to their Facebook friends. They are white people who support Black Lives Matter and mass Muslim immigration.
These people don’t always require you to pay them back for their “generosity”, instead they will be content thinking that you’re just a poor, unfortunate soul anyway who desperately needs more of their valuable aid and guidance. This is like social justice warriors coddling 40-year-old “child refugees” and excusing all of their crimes. These people are unintelligent and incapable of making proper judgements.
So before we help someone out, give them a gift, be generous and caring in some way, consider your motives:
1. Are you doing this as a sneaky, indirect way to gain a position of authority, either real or imagined, over the people you are helping?
2. Do you expect adoration in return? Or the knowledge that the person will “owe” you in the future? Note: there is nothing wrong with the person wishing to pay you back, as long as that intention is made somewhat clear between the two of you. Great friendships can develop through mutual generosity — it is one of the cornerstones of Western civilization (just as long as we don’t let it get perverted by globalism and all this “open borders” nonsense.)
3. Are you hoping to receive the person’s love in return? Are you trying to buy their affection? Do you freak out when they don’t react the way you want them to when you display generosity?
If you see someone in need, and you know you can help them out without any great setback to yourself, then do it because it’s the right thing to do. This helps the world, brings visible positive change to it. Jesus taught that true greatness comes by serving, not by selfishly seeking a position of authority. Toxic generosity is an under-handed way to entangle people into your service or to feed your ego.