Helping people out is awesome. Everyone feels good when they lend a hand, help out a friend, or give to someone in need. It’s human nature for some to help out when they are needed. I think honestly most people are pretty supportive and helpful on an individual basis. I think my problem is, I help out too much. I don’t just help, I carry people. I let people take advantage of me and it sucks. My mom once talked about something she learned. The difference between a caretaker and a caregiver. A caretaker needs to be needed, is an enabler, is filling their own needs by making someone else dependent on them. A caregiver is someone who gives you the help you truly need but makes you do as much as you can for yourself. I often have to check myself and see which I am being.
I recognize myself as a needy person in terms of I need to be needed. I often surround myself with people who need me to fill that need. And I take them on in my life and carry them. I don’t raise them up and help them stand on their own two feet – I enable them to stay needy by solving their problems for them, doing everything for them, and not making them do for themselves. I’m not helping them. And what really sucks about it is I’m not really helping myself either. While my need to be needed might be filled, I’m not filling my other needs. I’m letting myself be stressed, be tired, go without. I don’t make myself a priority.
Now, I’m not saying that I have Munchausen syndrome by proxy or anything. Where I create the problems in their lives so I can help them. But there is a definite need in me to be needed by others. One of the things I find I have to do time and time again is look at the people and my relationships in my life and decide if it’s a healthy one or not. If it is a two way street, or am I carrying them. Because honestly, it’s time for me to put everyone else down, stop carrying them, and lift myself up. I will probably always be someone who tries to take care of others, tries to be a caretaker. But the more aware I am of it, the easier it gets to walk away from needy relationships. The easier it gets to take care of me. And that, after all, is the most important person I need to take care of. Because if I’m not taking care of me, I can’t take care of anyone else.