I KNOW WHAT YOU NEED!
I can take care of you, but not myself
Previous: People should treat me better, BUT….
REMINDER: Use ACRONYM page for abbrev.
ORIGIN: Growing up in dysfunctional families, ACoAs were not allowed to fully develop their own personality & identity, attend to their own needs, or have their own feelings – about anything. We had no choice but to focus on our wounded parents and their needs, moods & demands: (see ‘Toxic rules’)
• We were expected to grow up too fast - but only so we could relieve them of the burden of caring for us and so we could be there for them
• AND, any attention to our own tastes, opinions, & way of doing things was considered selfish, stubborn, overly sensitive, stupid and bad! (I was taught: S.P.S. – ‘Self Praise Stinks’ !!)
A primary result was that ACoAs developed a ‘false persona’, a common one being The RESCUER, whose purpose is to take care of others, instead of oneself.
a. for many of us, this is a very active role – doing, doing, doing for others OR using others to motive our actions.
b. for some ACoAs, who seem to do nothing for others – this role is passive. It’s ‘taking care of’ the family by asking for little, not trying for anything, not risking, not being a bother… obeying “Don’t Need” rule.
➼ The unspoken hope is that if we do a good enough job of rescuing (fixing them), they will, in turn, be able to take care of us. THIS NEVER WORKS.
DEF: A way to seem like we’re helping others BUT with hidden motives
a. from grandiosity
● Doing for others what they CAN & SHOULD be doing for themselves
● Being ‘one up’, giving the illusion of being powerful and benevolent, at the same time
● Assuming others need us (a not-always conscious belief that they’ll fall apart or even die – without us – based on our family experience)
● Assuming we know better what others need / want / should have, or not
● Preventing others from having to take responsibility for – & the consequences of – their own actions (to spare them pain)
b. from inferiority
● Using others to feel better about ourselves (to cover our self-hate & feeling of worthlessness)
● Trying to ‘fix’ a wounded person, so they can be there for us
● Trying to have an effect on the world, since no one listened to us as kids
● Wanting to use our talents, skills & abilities – but not allowed to use them for our own benefit
● Minding other people’s business rather than our own (not allowed to focus on ourselves)
NEXT: RESCUING – Unhealthy Helping (Part 2)