Updated: Oct 24, 2020
We sometimes take responsibility for other people’s happiness, or their mistakes. We want so badly to help them, whether that’s out of love, or often guilt (because we ‘should’ help them/stay with them, right?) yet all we end up doing is cutting ourselves with their broken pieces..
Addicts for example, do not gravitate towards family and friends who could help them get well, more so they look for people who can help (enable) them to stay sick.
Same for abusers, they choose partners, family members and friends they can dominate, humiliate and manipulate, then get furious when those people start to stop rescuing them or they pull away for self-preservation.
Pay attention to how you feel around people like this. Do you feel guilty for distancing yourself? That’s a normal reaction. You care about them, right? You’re doing for them exactly what you know would help you.. however they don’t want help, they want to stay in their pain. And they’ll do anything not to feel it so they project that on to you..
It doesn’t have to come from a bad situation though. You may have people who are simply in a pattern of self-destruction financially or emotionally, with health, relationships, family etc. They are only hurting themselves, and you love them, and you can see how they could be happier with a little effort. Yet they get angry or defensive when you attempt to discuss it.
Remember this, you have the right to draw boundaries, you deserve respect, love and safety. You cannot fix everyone, God knows I learned that the hard way, many times. You cannot love someone ‘well’, you cannot ‘make’ someone see what they are doing to themselves and the people around them.
Pay attention when people react with hostility or anger to your boundaries. You have found the edge where their respect for you ends..
Having healthy boundaries was something I didn't learn until I was well into my forties. It's scary saying no, being firm on not enabling others, or simply protecting yourself. And it's equally very empowering..