Caretaking Others Prevents You From Knowing Yourself

by Dr. Margaret Paul

Is Your Addiction to Caretaking Stopping You from Knowing Yourself?

“I have had to parent my whole life, never really able to be a kid from my childlike mother to my son-like husband. Everything seems to depend on me doing the right thing and staying on the straight and narrow. My husband is saying he is going to leave for many years and I know it is the right thing, but I’m scared of facing ME, I don’t even know Loretta. What is one thing I can do to let go? After 18 years with my mother and 21 with my husband, dysfunctional relationships are all I know, despite my years of therapy and self-help books.”

If you were brought up in a codependent family system and learned to be a caretaker, it is likely that you do not know yourself. Despite years of therapy, this is the position I was in when our guidance brought us Inner Bonding, and this is the position Loretta is in:

How is It that Years of Therapy and Self-help Books did not Help me or Loretta Know Ourselves?

The answer is that we can’t know ourselves through the eyes of our programmed wounded self. In all my years of therapy, no one ever helped me to have a spiritual connection so I could learn to see myself accurately. And no one taught me how to take loving care of my own feelings. Not once did any therapist tell me that I was responsible for learning how to love myself and how to learn from and take responsibility for my feelings.

The best thing Loretta can do is to learn and practice Inner Bonding. Practicing will enable her to learn how to access her higher self, which will enable her to see herself through the eyes of love rather than through her mother’s or husband’s eyes.

It’s Time To Parent Herself

The fact that she has been parenting her mother and her husband for her whole life indicates that she knows how to parent. Now she needs to take all her parenting skill and apply it to herself. This is what the Inner Bonding process will help her learn to lovingly parent that little child in her who never got to be a kid so that she can start to let go of taking responsibility for her husband.

She asked, “What is one thing I can do to let go?” The one thing she needs to do is to start focusing on herself — on her own feelings and needs. She has been ignoring her own feelings all these years, in order to care-take her mother and husband — which is why she doesn’t know herself — and she is now afraid to face herself. She has been avoiding her feelings for many years by caretaking others.

Caretaking is an Addiction, and Like All Addictions, It’s A Way to Avoid your Own Feelings.

Loretta likely wants to avoid her feelings because she is afraid she doesn’t know how to manage them. It seems easier to care-take others’ feelings than to face her own. However, ignoring her feelings by caretaking others is a form of self-rejection and self-abandonment.

She will find, when she learns and practices Inner Bonding, that taking care of her own feelings is actually much easier than caretaking others’ feelings. She CAN learn to feel, learn from, and lovingly manage her feelings.

When she stops caretaking her husband, one of two things will happen. Either he will start to take better care of himself and their relationship will improve, or he will finally leave. In either case, she will likely be better off. So, she has nothing to lose by learning how to take loving care of herself — and a great deal to gain.

To learn more about caretaking see: Discovering Self-Love

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