While one can give people a helping hand from time to time, they can also try to do everything for them. When this happens, other people may not see them as someone who is there to give them support from time to time; they can see them as someone who is responsible for their life.
As a result of this, it could mean that they see one as more like a caregiver as opposed to a friend or a lover, for instance. It could be said that it would be strange for someone to see another person in this way and yet at the same time, it could be seen as something that is perfectly normal.
For if one was to do things for others that they should be doing themselves, they are going to be behaving more like a caregiver than a friend or a lover, for instance. And although other people could appreciate what they do for them; there could be others who don’t.
If someone was in a position where another person did practically everything for them, they could find that it causes them to feel empowered. They will know that one will be there for them if something goes wrong or if they make a mistake.
In their eyes, the other person could be seen as someone who is completely ‘selfless’ and that they are only too happy to ignore their own needs. It would then be normal for them to think about how they wouldn’t cope if the other person wasn’t around.
However, even though there can be people who will appreciate having someone like this in their life, there can also be others who have a different experience. This is not to say that they won’t have moments where they will happy for them to be there; but they can also have moments when this won’t be the case.
During these times, they could feel as though the other person is trying to control them, and that it’s not possible for them to have their own life. Yet even though they might want to have some space; this could be something that would cause them to experience anxiety.
So on one side, they want the other person to be in their life and on the other side; they want them to keep their distance. At a deeper level, they are likely to believe that they can’t support themselves and this is why they are dependent on another person.
It could then be said that although they might look like an adult, they don’t feel like an adult. It might be more accurate to say that they feel like a vulnerable child, and unless this changes, they are going to continue to be drawn to people who stop them from being able to express themselves.
If one experiences life in this way, there is a strong chance that they have been this way for most of their life. There is the chance that their childhood was a time where their developmental needs were rarely, if ever, met.
As a result of this, they wouldn’t have received the kind of care that would have allowed them to develop. It could then be said that they are stuck in this developmental stage and until what is taking place within them changes, they will continue to feel like a dependent child.
A Lack of Control
So through feeling like a child, they will be drawn to people who come across as highly capable, and this can then cause them to feel as though they have no control over their life. But if they were to avoid people who are like this, they can also feel as though they have no control.
This is because they will experience control through having the other person in their life, but because they will end up taking over, they will feel similar to how they did before. There is the chance that this won’t happen in the beginning of a relationship, as it could take a while before they feel as though they are losing themselves.
The Other Side
When one feels the need to do practically everything for someone, they are also going to suffer. This is because they will be putting the other person’s needs before their own; if this was something that took place from time to time it wouldn’t be a problem.
The reason they focus on the other persons needs and ignore their own is likely to be because they are not comfortable with their own needs. Therefore, being there for others will be an indirect way for them to fulfil their own needs.
A Flawed Approach
Through having this approach, there is a strong chance that their needs will be rarely, if ever, met. For one thing, it is not going to be possible for them to read one’s mind, and if they feel like a child, they are going to see them as someone who is there to provide for them.
There will then be no need for them to give one anything in return and it will then be normal for one to feel as though they are being taken advantage of. But unless they being to feel comfortable with their own needs, they are likely to continue to behave in the same way.
A Deeper Look
When one feels ashamed of their needs and believes that they can only get them met indirectly, it is likely to be a sign that their early years was a time when they had to take care of their caregiver needs. The roles were then reversed, and while one became the caregiver, their caregiver became the child.
This would then have set them up to feel ashamed of their own needs and the only way for them to get their needs met would have been to fulfil their caregivers needs. So through having these early experiences, it is to be expected that one will use the same approach in their adult relationships.
In order for one to have adult to adult relationships with others, it will be important for them to feel comfortable with their own needs. This is something that can take place with the support of a therapist and/or a support group.
During this time, one may need to grieve their unmet childhood needs, discharge the toxic shame that is within them and to receive the positive regard that missed out on as a child.
And once they have healed the part of themselves that needs to be rescued, they will no longer feel the need to rescue others. They will feel comfortable with their own needs and this means they will be drawn to people who are able to be there for them.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.