Do you care TOO much?

by Annie Kaszina on May 3, 2012

As women, we pride ourselves on caring.  It’s something we do wonderfully well.  And it’s something even the most self-effacing of us pride ourselves on. We have a caring heart.  We want to save our loved ones – and possibly the World – with our caring.

So can we really care too much?

What do you think?

The more I listen to abused women’s stories, the more I believe that the way we care often does us a disservice.

Let me explain:

A caring, loving heart can never be a bad thing.  It is one of the most precious gifts we bring to the World – and it is NOT by any means the only gift we bring to the World.

But can we overdo it? 

You bet we can! 

When you care too much, what happens?  More often than not, you DO too much for other people.  So, you end up carrying the ‘load’ for them.

That load may well mean taking care of their physical comforts, and lead you to being their Very Own Domestic Fairy.  Domestic Fairies, as I’m sure you know, work powerful, unseen magic; making sure pressed clothes, cooked meals, clean and well-behaved children, and toilet paper, are always to hand when required.

That load may also mean taking care of their finances for them, as well as every other area of their lives.  It certainly means carrying them emotionally.  So, the most they ever learn about accountability is how to wail your name urgently, the way babies wail when they’re hungry.

When you care too much, you deny your loved ones the right to be responsible for themselves.  Which means they can drift through life taking as little ownership for anything as toddlers do.  Like toddlers, they become very attached to their toys… and very prone to throw temper tantrums when their – never-ending – needs aren’t met.

The worst of it is this: when you are in Caring Too Much mode – which for abused women is, quite simply all the time – you take ownership of the problem.  You think, if they are behaving badly, it must reflect on your failings.  You think it points up gaps in the care you give them.  Which means you need to do more and better.   

That, in turn, teaches others that having two-year-old temper tantrums is a behaviour – or, more correctly, a strategy – that works really, really well with you.

And they’re as good at doing what works for them, as you are at doing what doesn’t work for you.

That brings us to the final piece of the puzzle.  Caring too much stinks because it means you’re never caring for you.

Who cares for and about you?

Why do you suppose they will show care in action for you, if you don’t do it for yourself?

Even you, with your enormous generous heart, have only so much love and care to give.  When you lavish it ALL unconditionally on your immediate World, there’s none left for you to give to yourself.  And when you lavish it on an abusive partner, you can be sure it will never, ever, come back to you.  That care will be wasted.  Squandered.  The priceless pearl necklace cast to the proverbial swine.

Don’t do it!

 

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