PREVIOUS: Rescuing (# 1)
REMINDER: See ACRONYM page for abbrev.
RESCUING / ENABLING as a form of Co-dependence can be defined as :
✐ Suffering from the relational dysfunction of having to focus on the needs / behavior of others
✐ A complex way of reacting to an addict or other dysfunctional person you’re involved with. (MORE….)
If we constantly rescue those we love from making mistakes, they’ll never have a chance to learn from & outgrow them, encouraging them to stay dependent on our help for their well-being.
• assume others cannot cope with their own pain, & that it’s our life’s duty to protect & soothe them
• give advice – especially un-asked-for, assuming we know what’s best for them, & our need to show off how much we know (about everything)
• have to keep on helping, because they aren’t helping themselves / growing / improving their lives
• need to keep nagging someone to change – for their benefit, yes, BUT mainly because it’s pushing some button in us, from our past
• always insist on having an answer to everyone’s problems – to solve their difficulty or emotional discomfort
• are afraid to say what we need, what we believe, what we don’t want… because we think it will hurt their feelings, or burden them
• enable someone to continue their self-defeating beliefs & actions
• don’t confront their denial or challenge distorted thinking (CDs, S-H, toxic rules) – when it harms us, although this has to be done carefully & with great wisdom
• don’t let others know when we’re angry – when they hurt us, crossed our boundaries, were disrespectful… to not ‘upset’ or make them angry in return
• try to distract others from their emotional pain (because we can’t handle our own & so don’t want to hear theirs) by humor, changing the subject, telling them to DO something
• use phrases like “You shouldn’t, you should…” telling someone how to be, how to feel, what actions to take
Trying to rescue others is NOT a successful way to accomplish our goals of wanting to CONNECT & feel EMPOWERED.
SOME RESULTS of Rescuing
• FEEL emotionally frustrated, drained, powerless, hopeless, a failure, abandoned! – because they’re not improving &/or doing what we want
• Get physically worn out / burnt out from over-doing for others without taking care of ourselves, sometimes even get sick, from exhaustion, using that as a ‘legitimate’ way to get some rest & care
• Silently expect & eventually demand a return on our time, money, energy, attention… whether or not they asked for our efforts, or have any idea what we need (they’re supposed to intuitively know)
• Become increasingly resentful & then in a rage – because they’re NOT listening to us, not reciprocating, not making our life easier… AFTER ALL WE’VE DONE !
– In some cases, we stay & rescue – until we fall apart or die trying
– In some cases the rage become too great. First we beg, cajole, nag, THEN punish, verbally attack, maliciously gossip about them OR just cut them off without a word of explanation. Then they’re dead to us!
IN THEM – They:
• don’t learn to take responsibility for their own life
• don’t get the experience of learning what works in life or doesn’t – for them
• don’t get a chance to find out what they’re actually capable of doing or becoming
• feel humiliated, by being one-down & eventually get angry, resenting us for our power-position
• have a distorted view of us & themself, and what is real
• stay immature (rescuing infantilizes others), get psychologically weaker (stay dependent, on us or someone else)
The goal of all personal healing is S & I – Separation & Individuation – to become our own person, the ‘Self’ we were born to be, designed & created by our Higher Power.
And that means –
• Identify & acknowledge our needs
• Have permission to own them
• Actively get those needs met – by ourselves, & with the help of a positive &/or loving support system
✒︎ That is called growing up emotionally & being our own motivator. It is NOT selfish to take care of ourselves – it is a mark of mental health !
NEXT: Healthy Helping (Part 1)