I have had many conversations lately, mainly with women, but also men, that find themselves in a place in their life where they have NO IDEA what they want or how to meet their needs outside of helping another. They are addicted to caregiving.
It all starts out as an innocent desire, usually at a young age, to help, protect, or solve a problem for someone you love. It could be your mom or dad, sister or brother, or friend that was in a tough place. They are hurting and you want to make them feel better.
But, then slowly, over time it starts to become wired into your body that caregiving for others is the way to receive love, to feel significant, feel worthy, and feel like you have a purpose in life. You feel confident and in control. When you are not solving someone else’s problem, you feel alone, uncertain, and uncomfortable focusing on yourself.
Caring for others is heavily encouraged and rewarded in society, especially with women. You are taught focusing on yourself is selfish. You are here to take care of others, to put your needs aside for your family, if you are to be a good wife/mom.
I’m NOT saying don’t ever offer to help someone else. But, if this is a consistent pattern that is negatively impacting your life, then you have an opportunity to give yourself a reality check, or not.
Here are some warning signs that you may be addicted to caregiving…
– you care more about the health and wellbeing of the loved ones you help than they do about themselves
– you have absolutely no idea what you want in your life and it feels more comfortable focusing on and helping others than it does yourself
– you consistently try to “rescue” or “fix” others
– you are so exhausted by doing for others (family, friends, co-workers) all day that when it comes time to do something for yourself you are too tired
– you are well known among your friends or family as the “go to” person when there is a problem
– energetically you “carry the weight” of others burdens…this can show up as excess weight or unsolvable health issues
– you take over responsibility for the feelings or health of loved ones, making it your responsibility to help solve
– your health is suffering, you feel lost, depressed, alone, or like no one cares
– the thought of stopping caregiving for others makes you question if you will be loved or what is your purpose in life
Make no mistake, you can be addicted to caregiving for your children, but it’s in the disguise of doing everything you can for your kids. It’s what being a good mom is all about. Or is it?
When you are trying to solve other people’s issues and take them on as your own, you leave them incapable. How will they ever learn to connect with their inner resources when they have yours all the time?
You think you are doing them this big favor, but really you are enabling them to be irresponsible for their own well being. And deep down, you are doing it because you need to in order to feel loved, worthy, and like you have a purpose.
I know this may trigger the hell out of some of you. GOOD! 🙂 If it does, take notice. What does it bring up for you?
Being addicted to caregiving for others can lead you down a path of becoming exhausted, resentful, feeling like the world is full of takers, and lost.
You are not here to only serve others. What YOU want matters! Your soul is calling out for you to look at what you want, outside of others. If you consistently avoid this calling, your soul will create a “crisis” where you will have no choice but to focus on yourself. I’m not saying this from fear, I’m saying this from truth, from my own life and many others.
The trick to breaking this habit is to learn to rewire your body to meet your needs of feeling loved, significant, and worthy in a new, healthy ways.