- Rather than try to offer advice, practice asking “How” or “What” questions, i.e. How do you feel about that? or What do you think your next step is?
- Practice talking about yourself rather than being the therapist in your relationships; share the latest news in your life
- Take healthy space from the broken people in your life; allot time for conversations with them and limit it to what feels good not exhausting.
- Practice exercising your boundaries and what you need.
- Reconnect to your sense of spirituality.
- Start listening to your intuition and gut reactions.
- Expand your network and connect with people who inspire & uplift you.
- Start building a deep relationship with your patterns of behavior and becoming conscious of them.
We all have stories and scars.
We find beauty through the broken times. Continue reading “How to Stop Being the Rescuer.”
Sometimes we do it because it is painful to see the person we love suffering.
Caregivers and empaths have innate tendency to want to be of service.
Other times we expend our efforts in trying to save people because it makes us feel good.
We unconsciously take on the “rescuer identity” and don our superhero capes at the site of another person’s distress.
This white knight act may be doing more harm than good.
According to counselor Andrea Mathews, rescuers need to be needed.
“The Rescuer not only depends on her role to give her a sense of self… In other words she needs the Rescuer role just as much, probably more, than the rescued needs rescuing,” says Mathews.
It is possible that in childhood rescuers had to save family members and hence carried this into adult relationships.
While it may give us a sense of purpose it takes away from the other person’s autonomy. Continue reading “Why do we try to fix damaged people?”
You don’t. You learn to love them.
Have you ever asked that question?
I have many times in my efforts to run to the rescue for the people I loved.
Sometimes the people we love reach a point where we need to learn how to back off.
They may reach a deep place of brokenness.
And it may be incredibly gut wrenching to witness.
It may be natural for us to be caregivers and want to help people.
However sometimes this very act of “help” can do more harm than good.
I’ve learned some powerful lessons about the anguish of trying to save someone from themselves. Continue reading “How can you save someone who doesn’t want to be saved?”
You will martyr yourself over and over again in order to meet the invisible quota of Lives Helped that floats above your head.
You will obsessively analyze how every choice you make might impact those around you.
You will assess every meal, every dollar spent, every vacation taken (or not taken) based on how it will impact the people you feel a responsibility to care for.
Because, in this unhealthy version of caregiving, our understanding of love has become warped. Love now looks like a relentless string of sacrifice.
Your thoughts might go something like this:
If I don’t love her with my constant presence, she will feel sad and lonely.
If I don’t love him with my attentive eye observing everything, he’ll get sick again, or maybe even die.
If I don’t love them with my efficiencies managing everything, someone will get hurt. Things will go very wrong if I’m not here to take care of them all.
Sometimes, love calls on us to invest our energy and time in tending to someone else’s pain.
But not 100 percent of the time. And not with the nurturing going down a one-way street, pouring out of the same person, over and over again.
If you see this pattern in any of your relationships, consider what it would take to expand your definition of what it means to nurture, to love, to care for. Continue reading “When you carry the Nurturer Gene, fixing other people can easily become a destructive self-identity. “
You’ll know if you have this trait too, because people will often tell you their secrets mere minutes after meeting you.
When someone has just been in a car accident or broken up with their boyfriend, you wrap your arms around them and for the first time that day, their body fully relaxes.
People tell you they feel at home in your presence. Safe. Heard. Cared for.
There’s so much beauty in having a trait like this. Without much effort, you nurture and care for those around you. It is a gift you give us all.
But there’s another side to the caregiver coin.
Helping other people can become addictive. It can begin to feel like the only way to show your love is to prostrate yourself at the needs of others.
Oh, you’re hurting? Lemme swoop in and save the day.
Oh, you’re broke? Lemme dump my savings into your bank account and all will be well.
Oh, you’re single again? Lemme set you up with my neighbor’s son.
Whatever your ailment, I’ve got a fix for you!
And the gratitude from the people we’re supposedly ‘fixing’ tends to flow so steadily that we become convinced of the healthiness of our stance.
We’re confident that healing every sore spot we see is not only natural and enjoyable, but it’s the main reason we were put on this planet. Continue reading “Are You a Natural Caregiver?”
“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals.” ~Pema Chodron
After college, I was hustling hard to get a work visa so that I could stay in the US.
But then my mom got caught up in a political scandal, and without much reflection on how much this would alter my life’s plans, I dropped my dream of staying in America, drove 1,000 miles, and flew another 500 to be by her side.
Would she have crumbled without me there? My mama is a tough chick, so I highly doubt it.
But at the time, I (subconsciously) believed that when the ones we love are hurting, their pain trumps everything. Their pain gets top priority, and whatever goals and dreams we’ve been working toward now pale in comparison.
At the time, I thought that love meant tending to the other person’s needs first, always.
And this form of self-sacrifice came naturally to me (I’d behaved this way even as a young child), so I was lucky, right? Having inherent caregiver qualities is a beautiful gift, right?
Yes. And maybe not. Continue reading “Addicted to Helping: Why We Need to Stop Trying to Fix People”
Besides the lack of authentic bonding, suspicions are commonplace among members. Members are afraid of each other and each other’s intentions, members show a lot of signs of stress, feeling “unseen” and “unheard”, and these families can graduate into alcoholic families, authoritarian families and crime families. “People pleasing” is often a major focus and “an either/or” too: you are going to totally please the narcissist or sociopath or you aren’t; you are going to do all that you are told to do or you will be rejected entirely; you are going to become all that the narcissist or sociopath dreamed of in a child (idealized) or you are going to be rejected altogether (scapegoated); you are going to become the ultimate spouse and do what the narcissistic or sociopathic partner tells you to do or to think, or you will be rejected entirely.
Narcissists especially tend to use black and white thinking, “It is all or nothing”, “You agree totally with me or you don’t agree with me at all”, “You are for me or against me”, “I am all good and you are all bad”, “You are always at fault and I am never at fault” (called splitting
in psychology terms).
If you do not, you become invisible to them, and they complete the invalidation by rejecting you. This is where the silent treatments come in, the ghosting, the shunning, the ostracizing, the marginalizing, the incredible lack of empathy.
There are exceptions to this, of course, and that is where their paranoia comes in. They actually do not want you to show or to tell anyone that they invalidated you (rejected you) because they have decided what you are feeling, thinking and experiencing, so they have to vilify you with even more lies. Lies pile on top of lies and graduate to smear campaigns:
“(My target) is a liar.”
“(My target) is crazy.” – called gaslighting.
“(My target) has an agenda.”
To you: “I know you better than you know yourself” – common, and a sign of narcissism (and psychopathy).
Continue reading ““People pleasing””