Rescuer and victim
Opposites do attract. Partners who play the victim, poor me, blame others and take no or little responsibility often seek to be rescued by others. Conversely, people who have an unmet need to help others attract partners who need to be rescued. In order to fulfil those needs, the rescuer and victim attract each other. They are a perfect fit in the sense that they fulfil each others’ needs, however in the process they create a disempowering dynamic.
Rescuing your partner can take many forms, including:
- Always paying for coffee, meals, going out, holidays, gifts, bills, etc because they can’t afford it rather than enabling them to be financially responsible.
- Doing your partner’s share of the work around the home because they can’t be bothered, they are too tired, or it is hard work.
- Overprotecting your partner from emotional hurt rather than allowing them to learn their lessons and growing as people.
How much is enough?
While it is wonderful to want to help others and to be of service, the real question is how much is enough? What amount of help is appropriate and when is it too much?
There is a difference between being empathetic and supportive, and taking on board too much of your partner’s emotions. The latter has you lose your objectivity to offer a different perspective on a problem; it is hard to help them when you are too caught up in the problem with them.
This is where being clear about the lines of responsibility helps us to understand whether we are creating an empowering or disempowering relationship with our partner.
You are personally responsible for four things: how you think, how you feel, how you act and how you influence your partner. Your partner is also responsible for four things: how they think, how they feel, how they act and how they influence you and others.
When you start to take responsibility for how other people think, feel, act and influence others, you are taking on too much responsibility because this is beyond your control. In the process you are disempowering both you and your partner because:
- They do not get to step up and reach their potential because you do not allow them to for as long as you continue to do too much for them
- You do not reach your full potential because you are taking your focus off your goals and preventing yourself from having what you want.
Rescue you, rescue me
What is interesting about a rescuer, is that they rescue everyone except themselves. They are so busy taking care of everyone else that that often neglect their own wants, needs and goals.
By far the biggest contributor to people taking too much responsibility for others and rescuing them are their own limiting beliefs. For example, beliefs such as needing to please others, feeling unloved, feeling less important than others, etc. can have us take on too much responsibility for our partner.
The best way to end this is to identify the limiting beliefs which are driving your rescuing behaviour, and then to address them. This will assist you to rescue yourself from rescuing others, so that you can empower both yourself and your partner to reach your potential.
Dr. Vesna Grubacevic is an author, speaker, media commentator, the founder and Performance Transformation Expert® with award-winning company, Qt. She is the creator of breakthrough behavioural change techniques, holds a PhD, a BEc and has over 35 years’ business experience. She is passionate about helping people to improve their relationships and confidence. Her Amazon best-selling book, Stop Sabotaging Your Confidence, has also been gifted to Hollywood and Australian award winners, nominees, hosts and celebrities. For more free resources on improving your relationships, please visit www.qttransformation.com.
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