When we realize what our caretaking behaviors are serving in us, we get the opportunity to see how we are enabling others to not step into their own empowerment.
Caretaking is often a distraction to our own feelings of low self worth, lack of empowerment, and resistance to feel our own emotions. (I'm kicking off this post by cutting right to the chase!......sometimes that is a better route than tip toeing up to it. I dont know about anyone else, but I pay more attention to a wallop to my gut than to a little pitter patter.)
We tend to create scenarios where we are needed (or insert ourselves into a space we perceive as open) and create a dynamic where we become the "helper". We call this love.
it is not love.
it is co-dependence.
It is enabling.
In actuality we are denying other people the opportunity to step into their own power, to be responsible, to grow up. We are not tending to our own REAL needs, but instead attempting to fill voids with well meaning actions. Gradually we become resentful, especially if we don't get the reciprocation we expected.
It always feels a bit empty, thus can become obsessive, because we are trying to fill a deep need that is rooted in early emotional wounding. It creates destructive cycles where we stay stuck. It's actually the opposite of helpful. It's damaging.
I look at this in my own life quite often, as a wife, mother, and a practitioner. I often ask What is this behavior serving in me? which then brings me information to explore.
It's a fine line, which comes down to how it feels to each of us. Because sometimes we really are coming from a place of helping or supporting our fellow humans.
These are the two questions I always pose ........
Are we "helping" others to be responsible for themselves and step into their own power?
Are we "enabling" others to be dependent on us?
And the fine line is always, are we doing it from a truly compassionate place (we almost always will believe we are, until we explore it more deeply) or is it coming from a place in where we need to be needed? (it often is coming from this place)
And then......we get to look at ........
What things are we avoiding in our own selves?
Who are we if we are NOT needed? If "THEY" didn't need me, would they still be here?
AND.....the big one, which is at the root of all of it........
Are we worthy of love if they don't NEED us?
It ultimately comes down to worthiness.
Are we worthy simply because we are alive?
And Ok I lied.....Here is the real BIG QUESTION ......
What is so scary about our own empowerment?
I think that is what it comes down to. I think it scares the shit out of us. If we can stand in our own power, it invites others to stand in their own power. If everyone is standing in their own power, and we aren't NEEDED, well........then what?
It's a good question to ponder and I invite you to do just that. See where it takes you.
Harriet Learner's book "Dances with Anger" offers a more in depth look at this. I encourage the read.