Can Helping, Caring and Loving Too Much Drive People Away?

If you’ve been following my blog at all, you’ll likely come to recognize that my adult-daughter has taken off to be with a narcissistic, controlling Jerk with severe emotional, social and mental issues who smokes weed and, in reading my last entry, you will know that my husband is somewhat less than a stellar listener, likely locked within his own little world more than 90% of the time.  In other words, I don’t have either of them.

If I were reading my own words, I’d be thinking, “hmmm…must be her.  She’s driving people away!”

Honestly, I wouldn’t blame you if you were thinking that as I’ve wondered the same thing and asked myself the same thing, over and over and over again, grinding myself into the floor, stomping on myself and beating myself up a bit more just for good measure.

However, after a lot of therapy sessions where I’ve posed this scenario, 10 or more notebooks worth of journalling, 3 copies of cognitive therapy books worn out and replaced each time, I’ve come to the conclusion that yes, it is me that’s to blame.

Now, before you say “ah-ha…thought so…”, let me say that I’m not a Fish Wife, nagger or someone who simply gets under someone else’s skin.  Those aren’t the causes of both my husband and my daughter being as they are with me.  As a matter of fact, you might recognize this “flaw/fault” within yourself too and it may be the reason why some of your relationships are or have been literally, kicking/kicked you in the ass.

I’m going to admit something here that I have been told and are thinking about for a long time.

I mother and help people far too much.

That sounds a lot like back-patting rather than an admission of any blame, fault or flaw, doesn’t it but, let me assure you that it is a wart that drives people away for several reasons.

  1. The people you help come to resent you.  Unbelievably, at some point or another, helping others too much, turns against you because people feel “weak” around you.  They know that you know their weaknesses and they don’t want to be around you once they no longer have the issues that you were helping them with in the first place.  You remind them of those times and no one wants to remember their weakest times especially, if they were chronic.
  2. Mothering everyone is nice when others want and need it but eventually, you actually start becoming too caring, concerned and they see you as being more of a pain-in-the-ass when they want to do things on their own.  As an adult, when someone is constantly swooping in to “clean up the boo-boo’s and make it all better”, people come to a point where your maternal help is more annoying than anything else.  They need to fall and make mistakes, get scrapes and cuts, bruises and broken bones and hearts in order to grow.  If you’re taking that away by softening the blows or preventing their need to do things as grown-ups, you’re stunting their growth and they will resent you for it at some point or another and want to break free of your “smothering”.
  3. You’re seen as controlling even if that’s not your intentions.  You’d think that helping others and mothering them, would somehow endear you to them, wouldn’t you?  However, that’s not the case.  Even the laziest or most inept person on this planet, eventually comes to see someone who is constantly there, helping, hand-holding, telling them how to deal with their issues (no matter how kind-hearted you were in giving it all to them) as “controlling” them.  They eventually come to the point where, again…they feel smothered and come to resent it.  It is looked upon as a form of control on your part rather than a loving gesture or set of gestures.

This is the point where I am at with both my husband and my daughter.  I cared too much. I loved too much.  I couldn’t stand to see either of them fumble, fall, get hurt or be in pain of any kind so, I’d try to help sort things out for them and yes….”mother them” silly.  I gave far too much of myself to both of them and I am paying for it dearly now through both rejection on my daughter’s part and by distancing himself on my husband’s part.

If you truly want people to be in your life fully, STOP CARING SO MUCH!

While that may sound counter-intuitive, it’s not.  It’s what will keep people in your life more than not.  For all of the above reasons, it’s important to take a giant step back from the situation and get yourself in check.  Ask yourself if you really need to help them.  Look at the situation and size it up for what it is.  Slap yourself if you have to but, ask yourself if they fell, got hurt or felt “pain”, would they really fall apart or, would they learn from it?  If you can answer “no, they won’t fall apart and yes, they will learn from it,” remain standing back and let it happen.  If they really want you, they will ask but, stop swooping in like a guardian angel, ready to take over all of their problems for them.  Not only will they learn and grow from it but, they won’t resent you.

I’ve learned a valuable lesson from being hit across the head one too many times.  I don’t intend on continuing to help or mother the world.  I’m turning down the volume on caring quite so much and I’m finding both my blood pressure as well as my anxiety levels dropping.  Carrying everyone else’s issues on your shoulders and making it your responsibility is a heavy load to keep carrying around especially, when you’re losing people anyway.  Something has to give so it may as well be other people’s problems rather than you and your self-esteem.

From my little corner of life, I can see where my energy is better placed and that is…into my own needs, wants and more importantly…me!


Published by ponderinglifetoo

I'm a wife, mother, artist, photographer and bookkeeper. I love writing out my thoughts in journals but, am finding my way to sharing these with others now.

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