Stop Working Harder On Their Life Than They Are
When someone we love is crashing, we need to save them, but too often, we try to live their life for them. Eventually you need to stop working harder on their life than they are. It will not help them in the long run and will hurt you.
We all know the difference between a hand-up and a handout. Certainly there are times when a handout is necessary to intervene in a crisis or to encourage someone to take a step forward, but it becomes an issue when we repeatedly try to steer another person’s life for them. Eventually, we find ourselves giving more effort than they are giving.
Because love and fear are strong motivators, we are trapped in the cycle of doing more for them than they are for themselves. We call this enabling, and I was there for many years during my daughter Jamie’s addiction.
I missed out on vacations, family gatherings, self-care, social engagements, and sleep. My time was spent stressing, worrying, and trying to figure out how Jamie’s life could get on track, only to find out she wasn’t worried about it or me while she was doing her thing.
Enabling Doesn’t Help
Your attempts at saving are born out of love and fear. We somehow think it’s our job or responsibility. Still, the fact is that each person is responsible for their life and their actions.
Here are some perspectives that can help to stop working harder on their life than they are:
1. If You could save them, it would be done. We spend years feeling like a failure because our attempts seem to fail. So, we try harder, hoping it will finally work. Eventually, you must realize it would have been done a long time ago if you could save someone from themselves or their beast. You’re not that powerful.
2. Consider what it’s doing to you. With our enabling and codependent behavior comes undue stress, strained or broken relationships, financial hardship, guilt, health issues, confusion, and more fear. Around and around you go. While you try to save your loved one, you are self-destructing.
3. Consider what it’s NOT doing for them. As mentioned in point #1, if our savior attempts worked, you wouldn’t need these perspectives. When our situation gets to being manipulated and we are enabling, we are hurting the other person. We keep them from standing up and handling their business.
4. Think about what you need. When my daughter was in the belly of her addiction beast, I craved peace. I needed hope. I wanted to sleep. To feel happy for more than a minute at a time. What do you need? It’s critical that you take care of yourself, or you will have no way to be there for anyone else.
5. Don’t miss your legacy opportunity. Your situation is challenging, but it comes with opportunity. When you stop working harder on their life than they are, you can focus on moving yourself out of the darkness. Your willingness to stand up in your darkest days and use this trauma for good is one of your life’s most significant opportunities. Don’t miss it.
You have just one shot at this thing called life. Time is flying by, and your legacy is in the works. When it’s time to step out of this world, you want to know you have done your best to leave a legacy of hope. You can’t do that lying down on the mat with your beast on top of you. It will not happen if you self-destruct. It’s time to stand up and shine your light and lead the way.
Stop working harder on their life and start working more on yours.
Your Story Matters. Live it Courageously, Warrior!
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