RESCUING – False Helping (Part 2)

ideal castle 

but it’s exhausting!

PREVIOUS: Rescuing (Part 1)

REMINDER: See ACRONYM page for abbrev.


RESCUING / ENABLING is an expression of Co-dependency, which 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.

RESCUING examples
• 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
• 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)
• assume others cannot cope with their own pain, & that it’s our life’s duty to protect & sooth them
• always insist on having an answer to everyone’s problems – to solve their difficulty or emotional discomfortSserve a drunk
• use phrases like “You shouldn’t, you should…” as a way to tell someone how to be, how to feel, what actions to take
enable someone to continue their self-destructive behavior

• not confront denial or challenge distorted thinking – when it harms us, although this has to be done carefully & with great wisdom
• not letting others know when we’re angry – when they hurt us, crossed our boundaries, were disrespectful… to not ‘upset’ or make them angry in return
• being 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
• 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   ….
Trying to rescue others is NOT a successful way to accomplish our goals of wanting to CONNECT & to feel EMPOWERED.

SOME RESULTS of Rescuing

• FEEL abandoned! – emotionally frustrated, drained, powerless, hopeless, a failure  – because they’re not improving &/or doing what we want
• 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 Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 8.48.49 PMsupposed to know, automatically)
• Get physically worn out / burnt out from over-doing for others without taking care of ourselves, sometimes even get sick, from exhaustion, & needing a ‘legitimate’ way to get some rest & care

• 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!

• they stay immature (rescuing infantilizes others), get psychologically weaker (inner selfstay dependent, on us or someone else)
• don’t learn to take responsibility for their own life
• don’t get the experience of learning what works & doesn’t – for them
• feel humiliated, by being one-down & eventually get angry, resenting us for our power-position
• don’t get a chance to find out what they’re actually capable of doing or becoming
• have a distorted view of us & themselves, and what is real


The goal of all personal healing is S & I – Separation & Individuation.
That means we have 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 (not others’ needs)
• Have permission to own those needs
• Actively get those needs met – by ourselves, & with the help of a positive  &/or loving support system

It is NOT selfish to take care of ourselves – it is a mark of mental health !
(Read: What Recovery IS  / New Rules / Boundaries  / Healthy Families)

NEXT: Healthy Helping (Part 1)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.