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 &/or dysfunction associated with or results from focusing on the needs / behavior of others. A constellation of responses by significant others, particularly family, to being involved with the active dependent.” (MORE….)
If we constantly rescue those we love from making mistakes, they will never learn to grow from them, and it allows 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,    and our need to show off how much we know (about everything)
• assume others cannot cope with their own pain and 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! – 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 worn out / burnt out over – 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 can do or be
• have a distorted view of us & themselves, and what is real


The goal of all personal healing is S & I – Separation & Individuation.
That means that 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)
• Having permission to have those needs
• Actively getting those needs met – by ourselves, & with the help of a 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)


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