Isn’t/is

Caretaking isn’t nurturance, it’s manipulation.  Enabling isn’t support, it’s exacerbation.  People-pleasing isn’t “nice,” it’s frightened.  Codependency isn’t love, it’s addiction.

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7 responses to “Isn’t/is

  • Attachment Girl

    Steve,
    I have struggled at times because I know that there are times when I have been caretaking because being useful was the only way I believed I could stay in relationship, so it is manipulative. “I’m taking care of you, so you can’t send me away.” As I have healed and gotten more healthy, I do find myself reaching out and gaining a lot of satisfaction from helping other people through a variety of outlets. So I have a question for you. How do you tell the difference between caretaking and nurturance. I sometimes struggle (ha! sometimes, try often!) with my motivation and want to be acting out of healthy motives. I would really appreciate anything you have to say on about it. Thanks! AG

    • Steve Hauptman

      Nurturance is giving, caretaking (as the word implies) is taking.

      Nurturance comes from fullness and love, caretaking from emptiness and fear.

      Nurturance comes without strings or expectations; caretaking expects to be rewarded.

      Nurturance genuinely focuses on meeting the needs of another; caretaking secretly focuses on meeting the needs of the caretaker.

      Nurturers value themselves and practice self-care; caretakers neglect themselves and lose themselves in relationships.

      Nurturance is energizing, caretaking is exhausting.

      Nurturance promotes inner peace, caretaking creates anxiety.

      Nurturance is active and assertive; caretaking is worried and obsessive.

      Nurturance admires strength and independence in another; caretaking finds those qualities threatening.

      Nurturance is accepting, caretaking is judgmental.

      Nurturance respects boundaries, caretaking crosses them.

      Nurturance waits to be asked for help; caretaking leaps in without invitation.

      Nurturance is mindful and self-aware; caretaking is unconscious and compulsive.

      The nurturer’s goal is to become unnecessary; the caretaker’s goal is to find security in being needed.

      Told “Thanks, I won’t need your help anymore,” the nurturer feels gratified (My work here is done); the caretaker feels hurt, rejected and/or panicked (What do I do now?)

      • Attachment Girl

        Steve,
        Thank you so much for such a clear and thoughtful response, I really appreciate it. I love this list because it provides a way to check in with my feelings in hope of getting a clear picture of my motivations. I can honestly say that sometimes I care take and sometimes I offer nurturance (hmm, just the fact that we “offer:” nurturance says something about it, doesn’t it?). And now I am going to work on accepting my humanness and not beat myself up for the times I’ve sought to meet my own needs in a manipulative way. 🙂 I so appreciate your clarity around this stuff. ~ AG

        • Steve Hauptman

          Thanks, AG. Glad it was helpful. Also that you’re cutting yourself some slack. Escaping control addiction is like learning to ride a bike: we learn how to do it right by first doing it wrong.

  • Clare Flourish

    Wot? You mean I have based my self-worth- “I am a good person”- on being frightened and manipulative? AAARGHHHHH!!!!

  • Ann

    Tattoo this one on my forehead.

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