I am a recovering chronic helper. It stems from years of serving those who couldn’t care for themselves. It thrives off of enabling, codependency + no boundaries.
As I entered this healing journey, I still had a deep desire to “help.” But I had to slow down + really examine the motivation behind it.
Was I just needing to be needed?
Was I trying to make a point?
Was I avoiding helping myself?
Was I hoping to have control?
Was I trying to save/fix?
Was I working to earn my spot?
I was a few months into sobriety when someone said “no” to my help. It wasn’t a big event, it was a simply a gentle decline to something, but boy did it S T I N G. What they didn’t know was that they were helping me establish a new identity. They weren’t just saying “no” to my help, they were reminding me that I no longer had to be the helper, do-er, fixer, saver, volunteer in every relationship. I no longer had to earn or prove or work. I could just be me. The sting subsided, + I felt a sense of freedom arise. I am still thankful.
It is okay to say “no” to someone who is “just trying to help.” It doesn’t make you uncaring, cold or selfish. Somewhere along the way we have been taught to believe that boundaries don’t apply to the givers/nice guys. But sometimes even the givers need to know that they can show up empty handed + be welcomed, loved + accepted as is.