What is the Buddhist view on staying/leaving emotionally abusive relationships? If we are supposed to have loving kindness and compassion and realize that everyone just wants happiness and to avoid suffering just like ourselves, is it ever proper to endure such a relationship or would that be a hindrance to having compassion for ourselves?
Dear Dhamma Follower,
When asked how many times to forgive, you should always answer “one more time.” HOWEVER, that does not mean you need to forgive from the same zip code.
Bhante Mahinda, at our temple, told a great story last night of a cobra in a deep state of loving kindness meditation. A woman, mistaking the cobra for rope, picked up the cobra and tied her bundle of cloth with him. She swung the cloth by the snake tail mindlessly as she went home and threw the package on the table. The cobra, bruised and sore, slithered back to his master and proudly relayed what had happened.
“You would be proud,” said the cobra. “I was so kind that no matter what she did, I did not bite and kill her.”
The monk reprimanded the cobra. “If you were truly kind, you would have hissed at her to show her that she had erred and teach her to be more mindful.”
(The first step in metta (unconditional friendliness) meditation is to remember to offer this unbound compassion to yourself first. What kindness is there to offer to others if you cannot offer it to yourself?)