Healthy HELPING (Part 2)


when we both benefit

PREVIOUS: Healthy Helping (HH) (#1)

REMINDER: See Acronym Page for abbrev.

Just because we were trained to be rescuers by our family does not mean we can’t be of service.

3. WHEN – you can help IF:
• you don’t have to keep your antennae up all the time – to check for what’s wrong, walk on egg shells, worry about being accused wrongly…
• it’s short term, because they’re growing, learning, changing
• you only have to do ‘so much’ & then back off & let them handle things
• don’t take any action when being guilted or shamed by someone
• not to boost your self-esteem or sense of identitycup overflows

• you’re cup is full enough that you’re not draining yourself dry
• don’t secretly ne-e-e-ed a return for your efforts – it is appropriate to get paid, get thanked, have some reciprocity
• they genuinely can’t do something for themselves, but it’s temporary
• you can do it without being resentful or hurt yourself in some  way
• you’re NOT trying to do the impossible (force-fix someone’s damage)

4. HOW you can Help
• by setting limits with self & others
• speaking the emotional or intellectual truth.  Some won’t want to hear it & will go away, but others will value it & grow
• don’t assume – ASK Qs – re. their problem: What do you need from me? What have you already done?  What are you planning to do?…
• give EMOTIONAL support, instead of solutions (head, actions)NEIGHBORS-TALKING

• be clear about what you can & cannot do OR will & will not do
• wait to see if they CAN do something on their own OR if there’s someone else who can / will help them
• help someone think a problem thru – THEIR way
• don’t jump in, don’t assume you know what’s needed

Sometimes, DOing NOTHING is the best or only option.  ALSO, it’s:
• OK to do someone a favor, sometimes  – even if they can do it themselves, if it’s on your way, not a burden, something you like to do
• OK to help someone get thru emotionally hard times – death of loved one, work trauma, health problems….
….AS LONG AS the HELP-EE (you are the help-er) is respectful of your time & efforts, appropriately appreciative (but not overly),  & is not an emotionally bottomless pit

5. RESULTS of H.H.
a. In Us – if we
• feel satisfied, pleased, ‘full’, comfortable, relaxedSserene
• feel good about ourselves, but don’t need it for our identity
• are not depleted or resentful
• feel more connected to others, & the world
• don’t have to ‘hide’ any more from needy ‘pests’

b. In Them — if they’re OK (reasonably healthy)
• they grow & improve, no matter how slowly
• are empowered & gain self-esteem
• don’t resent or blame you
• are appreciative but not fawning
• become more independent, & inter-dependent
• get real nurturing from your help

HOWEVER,  if they’re still too damaged, then it’s likely they’ll be resentful, attack you, accuse you of not caring, bad mouth you to others, accuse you of abandoning them & of being SELFISH….
….specifically because you’re NOT rescuing them!

6. DON’T DO anything to help, IF:
a. THEY need too much from you, more than you can give or more than is appropriate to ask, & no matter how much you do offer, it will never be right or enough!
• they make you feel unsafe, because they’re a taker, user, abuse, bully….

b. YOU are needy/ in need, at the moment OR Overextended
• you’re going to do it out of guilt or from too great an obligation
• you just do not want to OR it is truly, deeply is not right for you to do. Do not JUSTIFY your ‘NO’ – it’s a complete sentence!

➼ TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST, & always pay attention to what your GUT is telling you!

NEXT: Wounded Child #1


2 thoughts on “Healthy HELPING (Part 2)

  1. Is it ever healthy for an ACOA to help someone else? Because I’m in the middle of a family of 7 brothers and sisters — all ACOA’s — who all say Deny! Deny! Run away! too scary! I can’t! Get away! when something needs addressing. Anything. I, on the other hand, never developed that attribute – having been appointed my mother’s conservator when I was 23 and remained so until her death when I was 38. Without help or acknowledgment from any other sibling — they ran away from that, too. I have also repeatedly helped a sister (also mentally ill), and now am helping a brother (mentally ill). While the other ones hide again. I’m in therapy while doing it — knowing what a slippery slope it is! My family consistently abandons me, but I keep refusing to abandon them. Oh crap. Perhaps I abandon myself instead?

    • Yes we can be of help to others, if we know the ‘rules’. Please study my posts : ‘Rescuing – Unhealthy Helping, ‘Healthy Helping’, ‘Toxic Roles:The HERO’, Boundaries, & the recent series on Control … If you look at the POSTS ’10 & POSTS’11 pages you’ll find many topics that can help with your question.
      Loyalty is a good quality, but we always have to ask ourselves: “What is my motivation?”, “What am I being loyal to?” , “Is this loyalty or just co-dependence?”
      Thanks for your comment.

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