Thursday, June 3, 2010

Why Do We Rescue?

Many of us who have gotten into a relationship with someone suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder would fall into the role of Rescuer. We rescue people from their misery and make their lives better. They love us because we are so good at rescuing and making them feel better about themselves.

The problem is that after we have rescued, we inherit their misery, their upset, their hatred for themselves, and we are miserable. Or the person burns us out because we give so much to the person that we have nothing at the end for ourselves.

Rescuing Others From Their Misery Feels Good -- At First

When we rescue others, we feel great about ourselves, and the other person feels good as well. They give us love because we make them feel loved, while the rest of the world does not love them, no one loves them.

We look at them, and our hearts go out to them. I felt that way about the borderline. I felt so bad for her that I jumped in to save her and make her feel better.

At that point, I thought that I knew how to keep myself clear of the rescuer role. But I didn't know how to keep myself clear at all. Eventually, the person who has been rescued starts to give you their anxiety, their dysfunction, their whatever, and you have to deal with it. It's really not fun, I promise you.

I recently met with my ex wife to discuss how her actions were negatively impacting our children, in the past, now and in the future. We met at a diner and had quite a difficult conversation. She is drinking too much and has been dating a married man for the past few years.

Despite these indiscretions which are clearly impacting my children, I still felt so bad for her. My heart jumped to feeling her pain. What a shame that after all this time, she still cannot help herself and is now negatively impacting our children. She doesn't even know that her actions negatively impact the children.

We Must Rescue Ourselves First

Rescuing others gives us purpose. It gives us meaning. It makes us feel good and keeps our minds outside of ourselves. We get wonderful initial responses, so we rescue for the response that we get.

The truth is that we first need to rescue ourselves. We first need to determine our own meaning, our own insecurities and deal with them. We can rescue all we want, but until we deal with ourselves, we won't feel whole and complete.

Rescuing starts with the best of intentions, but we're actually masking our insecurities. Before we can help others, we must help ourselves.

1 comment:

  1. I am so glad I found this place! I just split up with my b/f of 3 years and somehow fell upon the BPD diagnosis myself. He's been in therapy on and off for years and therapy is a foreign concept to me - so all I knew is he had MASSIVE issues with his Mum, and huge abandonment fears... now I am pretty sure he was a mild BPD! The things people are saying on this blog make me suddenly NOT FEEL LIKE I AM INSANE! I mean, really, all my other boyfriends made sense, and were predictable, and I generally thought we'd been good to each other. This one MESSED WITH MY MIND, twisted (or actually MISREMEMBERED things I or he had said) and kept me on a roller coaster ride, of ups and downs for most of the 3 years we were together. I often wondered if I was completely mad, and he was the sane one... but now it's all making sense. There were lies, compulsive pornography, drugs, repeated breaking of my boundaries until I had none left, and just felt tired and beaten. He was insanely clever, and could argue black was white and I kept giving him the benefit of the doubt... but the cycle would repeat, whenever the relationship started to feel stable I KNEW he would find something to have a crisis over, and likely I would be the one left trying to make amends (for things I never had any control over anyway). Oh my. Thanks, I just needed to vent. Anyway, when he was good - he was amazing, and it does hurt that it's over, but mostly I feel free... I also realise I let this happen, I was being a rescuer - I've done it before, but didn't see it this time until it was too late. Anyway. Much love to all Nons and you troubled BPD's out there. As I see it - the BPD often doesn't understand their own motivation for manipulating the truth to protect themselves - so I am not angry with him... although it's impossible to have a relationship with someone who can't see it. He did get a bit better and take a bit more responsibility for his craziness, with therapy... but it's a long road.


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