By the end of this post, you will realize whether you are a certified caregiver or sponsor and what a healthy way to live is for you.
The common belief is that we can never love too much, but this is not always true. Sometimes love can blind us until we deny the painful truths. We may believe false promises and continue to justify abuse or disapproval on the part of someone. We may sympathize with them but not enough with ourselves.
If we grow up in a turbulent environment, we may confuse our pain with love. Although relationships have disappointments and struggles, love isn’t supposed to be painful and hurtful too much. As dependent on others, we have a habit of ignoring our own needs and constantly putting the needs of others first. We end up with self-sacrifice. By not having boundaries, we are hurting ourselves and the relationship. We may also confuse love with being someone’s patron.
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care versus care
Parental love is expected to be unconditional and one-sided towards their young children. As they grow, good parenting includes mutual respect for each other’s boundaries. Caregiving is a natural outgrowth of love and is also part of healthy adult relationships. When someone we love is in need, we naturally want to help.
However, there is a difference between ‘giving care’ and ‘caring’. In the latter case, we may care about someone in an intrusive or empowering way. We harm the other person and risk giving our lives in the process.
With a certified sponsor, there is often more “taking” than giving. The caregiver’s goals can take precedence over ingenuity. This is because giving care comes from abundance, and care stems from need and deprivation.
Caring for the recipient can become so habitual that it empowers and disables the recipient so that they can no longer take responsibility for their own behavior and needs. He treats this person as a child who does not have to grow up and reinforces his lack of self-confidence. Again, due to the lack of boundaries, caring ultimately takes a toll on the relationship as a whole.
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When one partner acts as a dependent custodian of the other, it leads to an imbalance and an unhealthy mutual dependence – co-dependence. A caregiver does not have to be as vulnerable as his or her partner. The caregiver feels needed and superior and at the same time reassured that his or her partner will not leave. Over time, you end up feeling guilty and angry.
The more a certified caregiver invests in his or her partner’s problems, the more advice and control that sets the dynamic between them. What may have started as an act of love turns into resentment when well-meaning advice or wisdom is not followed.
So how do you differentiate caregiving and care? Here are some differences:
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
1. Are you giving unsolicited advice?
2. Do you control your partner?
3. Do you think you know what’s best?
4. Do you frequently do things your partner can do?
5. Is your partner meeting your needs?
6. Is your bid reciprocal?
7. Do you practice self-care?
8. Do you feel responsible for your partner’s negative feelings?
9. Do you feel guilty for saying “no” to your partner?
10. Do your partner’s problems concern you?
11. Can you listen without giving advice?
12. Do you get upset if your advice is not followed?
13. Do you give with strings attached?
14. Is it uncomfortable to listen to other people’s problem and not offer solutions – even when asked?