Published: March 2, 2016 by Patch Welling
Following my article with the Counselling Directory, I will explore the complex dynamic relationship of a mother’s love as a compulsive helper further. It is a safe assumption to think that compulsive helping is nice, healthy and kind.
It is not necessarily the case, it can be a hinder especially to her child(ren). It prevent normal development or healthy relationship. It prevent growth and undervalued emotional responsibilities. Children do not learn from their own experiences, as their emotional responsibilities are taken from them.
For this type of mother, she truly believes herself to be helpful and not doing enough by doing too much. She interferes and infers, insisting on doing things for the child, doing things her way, and removing their free will. She reduces their dependent and keep a firm hold on their worth.
Here are some helpful signs to check if your mother falls into the compulsive helper category.
• She interferes and infers in your lifestyle, by calling round or telephone you on a daily basis.
• She offers to help you, help your friends, help you with your family and help you with chores, when it unnecessary.
• She adopt a passive manipulative tactics to make you feel bad for rejecting her offers of help.
• She give unsolicited advice on the practical ways to help you with routine tasks.
• She uses emotional blackmail to make you feel bad for rejecting her offers to help.
Compulsive helper are relative unrecognized as a psychological symptom of addiction but it is the mirror-image of primary addiction to mood altering substances. It is about seeking something out there to help them feel better about themselves, by offering themselves to other people. They have a strong need to be needed and feel valued.
Of cause, generally we strive to fulfill our purpose and to reach our self-actualizing tendency, to living life to the full. The compulsion begins when someone forces or being forced to do something. In this case, a mother will force herself into the child’s life by excessively offering to help.
In order to have a better and healthier relationship with your mother, first identify if she is a compulsive helper and try the followings tips.
• Establish clear boundaries, restrict visits if necessary.
• Listen to the offers, give feedback on the offers of help and give clear reason for rejecting the help.
• Acknowledge the passive manipulative tactics and give alternative healthy responses.
• Acknowledge the unsolicited advice and imply own alternative healthy responses.
• Acknowledge emotional blackmail and stand your ground.
• Breathe and count (3 in your head) before responding. It does not pay off to retaliate to her responses in unhealthy negative emotions.
If all else fail….call me to explore your complex relationship dynamic through psycho-therapeutic counselling further.