We often confuse the terms helping and rescuing…
But these are two very different things. Helping is when we support someone who has already committed to helping themselves. Helping has consistent and healthy boundaries.
It means there’s a difference between what “I” can do for you and what “you” have to do for yourself.
Rescuing is when we try to fix someone’s problems for them – whether they’re committed to helping themselves or not.
When we’re deep in “rescue mode”, boundaries are sometimes non-existent. We don’t know where our responsibility ends and someone else’s begins.
And although rescuing often begins with the best of intentions… it can quickly become a bottomless pit in which we lose ourselves.
As much as we want to be helpful, the best thing we can do is first ask ourselves: Does this person even want help? Have they said they want to change AND have their actions shown that?
If you’re consistently trying to “help” someone, but feel that you’re doing more to make things better than they are…
You’re probably not helping – you’re “rescuing”.
And that rarely ends well.
Because the other person either becomes completely dependent on you, resents you, or leaves you when they feel like you’re not helping them enough.
Do you feel like you usually “help” or “rescue”?