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October 6, 2023

The problem when we say “Alright.”

There’s an adorable meme. Two photos. The first involves a cat with a small yellow chick lying next to it. The cat responds, “Alright, little one, you can sleep on me.”

The second image is that of the now much larger chick sitting on the cat’s head. The cat looks less than thrilled.

And that photo has as its caption, “One month later.”

What do we nurse and feed in our lives?

Grudges? Addictions? Toxic relationships? Assorted dysfunctional habits?

It’s the proverbial slippery slope.


That is the perfect word.

Literally, within the scriptural book of Proverbs, there are a couple of cautionary pieces of advice. And they can apply to toxic and dysfunctional relationships, behaviors, and patterns that can hinder and harm us, left unchecked.

These scriptures speak to how a little dysfunctional thing we deal with can get out of hand.

Let’s take a gander at these wise pieces of advice.

Angry Much?

“Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways and get a snare to thy soul.”

Proverbs 22:25

Ah, yes, there’s nothing like anger issues that are expressed in a maladaptive, unhealthy, and destructive way.

We hear all the time about anger issues, and the corresponding anger management classes that can often accompany them as a form of healthier treatment options.


However, what happens when anger is not dealt with appropriately?

Well, then we can sometimes get a case of a large chick sitting on our heads.

When someone is dealing with anger issues, and not in a healthy way, the anger can show up in several ways, including…

Suppressed anger, taken out on the person directly suffering with it, as well as taken out on others, including family, friends, partners, and coworkers…

Self-medication tactics, like substance abuse and engaging in addictive patterns…

Displaying impulsive behaviors, like self-harm, financial negligence/problems with paying one’s bills…

Depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation, adding stifling pressure to the person and to those around them…

No matter how anger shows up, the common denominator is that it becomes unmanageable and causes problems…for those dysfunctional people we encounter and for us as we struggle with them.

Anger is a human emotion. Every human being experiences it. Anger is not the villain. The unhealthy and destructive expression of it, however, is.

The problematic behavior, spilling over onto us, is a snare to thy soul.”

And often, the snare doesn’t appear obvious, at first. That can even be the case if dysfunctional anger manifests itself on the scene.

Just how many times have volatile outbursts of anger, and even abuse, in both its subtle and obvious forms, get minimized?

How many times have we heard this?

“It’s not that bad.”

The proverbial chick is growing, getting more comfortably situated on top of our heads. And we’re getting ever-increasingly more uncomfortable.

We can find ourselves, like the cat, saying, “Alright, little one, you can sleep on me.”

Unfortunately, we learn, often too far into the circumstances, the sleeping arrangements are great for them, but not for us.

A Pampering Predicament?

“He that delicately bringeth up his servant from a child shall have him become his son at the length.”

Proverbs 29:21


This goes beyond placing cool cucumber slices on tired eyes or taking a hot bath.

No, within the dysfunctional realm, let’s get real. The word “pampering” means “enabling.”

That’s what we’re dealing with here.

It’s the frog cooking in the increasingly boiling pot of water. It can be gradual.


Bailing out a friend one time… which turns into a regular occurrence…

Giving someone money once, to experience them coming to us weekly for more money…

Listening for hours to someone complain about their dumpster fire life at three o’clock in the morning, that turns into multiple phone sessions, day, and night, interrupting our personal routines…

Being the “go-to” person for help, support, because “they” determine “we” won’t mind…

Soon, there is a toxic pampering going on in full force.

We are enablers. Codependent. Door mats. The used and the exploited.

What was once a one-time gesture of love, kindness, and friendship has now turned into our daily chore and burden.

So, once again, “Alright, little one, you can sleep on me.”

Alright, Alright. Alright… No!

Boundaries. Cliché answer to the tricky, the unhealthy, the dysfunctional.

But boundaries are required. We need to ask the uncomfortable questions…

Is this healthy for me?

Is this safe for me?

Does this person take too much from me?

Is this one-time thing or a constant behavioral pattern?

Crisis can happen. Extenuating circumstances, yes, they happen.

But what we often grapple with is not health emergencies or unthinkable accidents.

What we, instead, are vexed with is the unhealthy pattern of choices from others that cost us…repeatedly.

Location, Location, Location.

The two photos of the cat and chick illustrate a profound lesson. Photo one has the small fluffy creature alongside the feline, with a restful sleepy face; the second photo has the larger feathery friend hanging out on top of Kitty’s head. And, not surprisingly, Kitty has an annoyed expression on its face.

Not peaceful.

“Alongside” equals a healthier balance; “on top of our heads” encroaches on our mental health?

Boundaries come into play with not only the geography of them to us, but also the geography of other peoples’ help concerning their needs.

Are they refusing others’ help, choosing only dependence upon us?

Are they saying no to tools, therapy, other resources, and support, independent of us?

For maximized health for others and us, we need to accept that we can’t do it all. We are not equipped to do it all.

Many hands make light-er work.

And better, healthier outcomes.


Hopefully, we can learn to say “alright” to that.

Copyright © 2023 by Sheryle Cruse




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