Here’s a question for you:
Are you trying to help people who don’t want help?
Better question: Are you desperately trying to help people who don’t want help?
If your answer is YES, today is the best day to start unravelling that dynamic.
Helping people who don’t want help is a sort of emotional yo-yo.
In a very harmless way, this is something like trying to push your latest smoothie on your family who could care less.
In a very harmful way, this is trying to help an addict by bending over backwards to make even the most incredibly abusive behavior OK, all the time giving away more and more of your greatness to this terrifying dynamic.
What do you get out of this?
A feeling of control? A sense of peace that you have tried to help?
I am no scientist but I truly believe that we get into these no-win situations trying beyond bounds to help people who don’t want help to satisfy a familiar (even if self-abusive) emotional pattern.
Think about it.
Someone asked me once, watching me run in circles and dedicate my life to helping people who had zero interest in recieving help: “Dana, who couldn’t you help in the past?”
That’s easy. I kind of laughed.
I couldn’t help my mother who brought a hateful, passive aggressive man into our house, someone who had no interest in knowing us as kids, someone who isolated her from the family and who would have her choose between him and us. We were about 11 and 8, my sister and I… and all we saw is my mother devolving into someone who drank wine who never drank before, who chainsmoked herself to sleep, who cried for no reason… She’d come and go at the demand and manipulation of this angry, messed-up man. She couldn’t have a job. He didn’t live up to any of his promises. Ultimately she would die young as the product of her fantasy love would leave her, would torment us all, and would finally live his life in regret, searching for her grave to beg for forgiveness.
I couldn’t help my father who was an alcoholic, drug addict and mentally unstable con artist that bilked widows of their money in torrid love affairs that we would, ultimately, be a part of… We’d be forced to befriend them. We’d hear the stories of their love with my dad. Many at a time. We couldn’t say anything to them… He told us to just be quiet. He pretended it was all normal. We were just kids, watching vulnerable women sign over their fortunes, chauffeurs, properties and jewels to my father.
But as an adult, I became used to the swings of emotion. I made it more of my mission “as a good person” to try to help both of them, both who didn’t really have the capacity to see beyond their own personal self-abuse.
Intellectually I understood that “You can’t change anyone who doesn’t want to change.”
My heart couldn’t catch up with that notion.
If they loved me enough perhaps my own suffering would pull them out of their patterns of apathy, self-neglect and abuse? Maybe if I learned enough self-help I could sway them with persuasion?
So my life became a universe of “fixing” modalities: everything from yoga and meditation before it was trendy to therapists, healers and New Age gurus.
I wasn’t trying to fix me. I was trying to find the key to fixing them.
In the process I became scrambled, stuck and broken.
And not a single person was there to help me out of the hell I had stuck myself in.
Have you done this? Are you doing this now?
When I see people devolve from happy and calm to stuck, broken and scrambed in love affairs, in jobs, in any kind of relationship, my first instinct is to try to help.
It’s in my blood.
Consciously I stop myself.
In feng shui in my way, its compassion that leads to self-empowerment. More compassion for someone allows you to grow. It allows them to grow.
I understand in my heart now that I can’t help anyone who doesn’t want help. All I can do is very clearly speak my truth and then let them make their own decisions.
In feng shui in my way, it’s wisdom that leads to healthier relationships.
Wisdom is often hard-won. Letting people get their own wisdom is the hard part, but its the only thing that I’ve ever seen actually work.
Also, in all of life, and feng shui, health is the center of everything. Learning to love yourself despite your seeming powerlessness over a situation is a massive part of detaching from the toxic parts of these dynamics.
- Clean your house. Organize your own life. Bring more pride to everything you do. Speak and think about people (even if they are self-destructing) with compassion. Have compassion for yourself and seperate yourself and hopefully you will gain wisdom in that clear space.
- ALANON has been a helpful source of wisdom. There are groups around the world that can be of help, even if you don’t get deep into it.
- Spiritual practice is a vital source of power, however you find it. My own Buddhist practice has truly saved me from the spell of over-helping.
- And, caring deeply about your own life in action- self-care, building your talents, being a leader for causes you champion, loving yourself enough to have only really supportive friends that you can easily and whole-heartedly support- is a major help in unravelling the roller-coaster cycle.
It’s really hard to feel like you are giving up on people you love.
By making yourself stronger you aren’t giving up anything.
By pitching your heart and soul into someone elses destruction you give up everything.
Wishing you tons of peace and calm and love.
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