The Giving Tree is a touching children’s book about a tree that is completely devoted to “its” little boy; throughout the book, the tree keeps wearing itself down, eventually grinding to a stump as the little boy “needs” more and more things.
My therapist and I discussed the book:
Is being the tree good? Why? Is being the boy good? Why?
Being the tree seems really good because here you are, devoting yourself to something, but being the tree is bad. Each time the tree gives a chunk of itself, the passage ends “and the tree was happy” but is it? The boy keeps needing more and more from the tree, eventually grinding it to a stump, can the tree really be happy when there is no more left to give? No. The tree is completely devoted to the boy, and co-dependent on the little boy’s happiness.
Is being the boy good? No. The boy is absolutely dependent on the tree. He never has to fix any of his own problems, he never learns how to handle his own problems, he never experiences true pain because he never experiences true need.
So. It is time for me to stop giving so much. I need to become a better, upward growing tree, not worrying myself with the needs of the “little boy” in my life. UGH. Tough cookies.
I really love taking care of people, and helping people, but I guess its time to take care of me. Time to love me.