Stop Rescuing Others!

This is the last self-defeating behavior I will blog about from the book Too Nice For Your Own Good, by Duke Robinson. I chose this one, because I think it is the reason for giving so much advice. Many of us have spent a lifetime trying to fix/help/rescue our parent(s), spouse(s), friends and children.  If these loved ones are intent on self-destructive tendencies, we jump into the role of savior. They obviously need someone to take care of them and that someone is nice ole us.Whether it is addiction (if so Al-Anon is a great resource), mental illness, irresponsibilty, teenage insanity, etc. they are causing damage and turning to us to clean it up.  And since we are nice and caring and loving and responsible, we rescue them time and time again.

So why is rescuing others a mistake? (How can saving our loved ones be a bad thing?)

1. It doesn’t work.  They won’t stop or change because of our help. Bailing people out of jail, giving them money over and over for fines, etc. doesn’t change their behavior. (When you are doing more work to help them than they are….hmmm. What is wrong with that picture?)

2. It actually enables them to keep on doing their destructive acts.  We are actually making it worse!  As long as we keep rescuing them, they suffer no consequences and will keep doing whatever they want.

3. It creates dependence on us.  And let’s be honest some of us want that dependence.  We like to be needed.  Some of us believe that if someone needs us enough, he or she will never leave us.  Don’t you believe it!

4. It harms us.  We are crazy with hypervigilance.  Where are they?  What are they doing?  We are stressed out.  We are controlled by their behavior.

Duke gives us several ways to stop enabling others. Personally, however, I think it is too hard to do this without help.  We need help ourselves to know how and when to stop rescuing others. It is agonizing to stand back and watch a loved one suffer.  It is heart wrenching and scary when it is your teenager or young adult child. This takes a lot of courage and a lot of support which is why I suggest professional help and/or 12 step support groups.

Best wishes….this will be one of the hardest things you will ever do.  But sometimes they really do change after you stop rescuing.


One Comment on “Stop Rescuing Others!”

  1. Self Help Books Says:

    Very interesting site and articles. Really thankful for sharing.Will surely recommend this site to some friends! Regards,


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