Relationships

Do You Feel the Need to Rescue the One You Love?

How being a fixer and a rescuer can actually take you down

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Photo by Samantha Garrote from Pexels

We are rescuers. And rescuers are really good at one thing. We are problem solvers. “Ain't no mountain high enough, no valley low enough” kinda people. We will overcome. We will persevere.

But in truth, what made these things happen was the natural rescuer within me. I was a proud fixer. The bigger the challenge the more tenacious I would become. I found it intrinsically motivating. The desire to come through for other people superseded any desire I had to come through for myself.

Now you have to think like a fixer. I did not believe I was rescuing my husband. I believed I was being a part of a team. Which would have been the case had it not had such far-reaching extremes. And if every once in a while my teammate was helping me solve a problem.

My overly caring and empathetic nature was a strength. But it led to certain weaknesses. The fixer, the rescuer, the enabler. The lack of self-protective boundaries.

I convinced myself my husband was a good person in a bad place. He had to be experiencing some type of mid-life crisis. There had to be a reason, aka, ‘an excuse’ for his current ‘men behaving badly’ status.

I was doing the right thing. Relationships are a partnership. You don’t just abandon a marriage.

It’s not our job to rescue people. People are responsible for their own behavior. Shockingly simple, yes?

But rescuers run deep. It’s ingrained in our DNA. It follows patterns and roles we played in childhood. Thus, we are ‘in it to win it.’ And the worrier within us, convinces us bad things will happen if we don’t keep throwing a lifeline.

Believe me, I am respectful and could see my own faults. I definitely heard his words. But I was attempting to reverse who I had grown to be my entire life.

It wasn’t easy to let go of the rescuer within me. I had grown to like her. She was after all, responsible for some of my better achievements. The girl people called to move mountains.

I both embraced and resisted learning about myself. I would say that is probably not too uncommon in self-discovery.

I was a contradiction. I read, researched, and went to counseling. I fueled personal growth. And then I fell back into old patterns. I stayed, I begged, I pleaded, I talked too much. I lacked self-protective boundaries.

Sometimes things can’t be fixed. Sometimes people can’t be rescued. Sometimes people don’t want to be saved. Sometimes the worrier has to let go of fear. Sometimes the tenacious must give up. Sometimes the loyal must rethink their flock.

Sometimes we have to have boundaries.

Written by

National Relationship Columnist, Freelance Journalist & Former Business Columnist. All Shapes of Love — #WomanResurrected colleen.sheehy.orme@gmail.com

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