Do you find yourself in a never-ending pattern of being in relationships where you do all the giving and your partner does all the taking? Are you attracted to, or attracting people who are not capable of managing their own life? Are you consistently the over-responsible person paired with an under-responsible person? If so, you may be a “rescuer.”
A rescuer is a person who forms a relationship with someone who needs rescuing. The benefit to the rescuer is that it may feel very rewarding to help. Often, rescuers are very compassionate people. The person being rescued benefits as well. They have someone who provides assistance in their life, both in a tangible sense as well as an emotional one. It seems like it pleases both parties, which it may, but it is really a way to avoid the personal growth and development needed on either end.
A rescuer is often avoiding taking care of themselves because they do not feel worthy or do not know what will fulfill their needs. Instead, they are picking someone else to care for and neglecting themselves. Likewise, the one being rescued is going to stay stuck in an under-functioning role to maintain the harmony in the relationship.
People become rescuers for a variety of different reasons. They may have lacked emotional development from caretakers in their formative years. They may compensate now by finding someone who they can give the love and nurturing to who reminds them of the little person inside themselves that got stuck and lacked emotional nourishment.
Either way, the relationship is unhealthy and often ends in disaster. The rescuer may grow resentful that they are doing all the giving, or the one being rescued may start developing themselves and feel controlled by the rescuer. To remedy this dynamic, both parties need to identify their role in the relationship and work on transforming themselves. Often, this must occur outside of a relationship and once people become healthier, they will stop repeating this dysfunctional dynamic and can form successful reciprocal relationships.
If you or someone you know is looking for help with this issue, please contact me to schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation.