Are You in Danger of Being a Compulsive Helper?

Can Good Intentions Hurt You?

Do you constantly feel the need to help? Do you give too much and spend too much of your time on a situation that could easily work itself out? Do you tend to offer your feedback and advice even when not asked for? A compulsive helper is sometimes referred to as a “rescuer” and can be an extremely draining role to play throughout a lifetime. Wanting to help others is a generous characteristic to have, but it can lead to extreme behaviors if not managed appropriately.

If you constantly feel the need to rescue someone, fix problems and provide aid to everyone around you, you may be a compulsive helper. It is important to remember that people do not always want to be helped or fixed. While it is great that we have helpers in the world, there is a fine line between helping and helping too much.

Compulsive helpers should not be criticized, but rather take a look into how they help and consider that they might have to take a step back from trying to “save” everyone. A rescuer and compulsive helper tend to never be satisfied with how they help and push the limit with their actions. This personality trait can become dangerous in the long run because the ‘helper’ neglects their personal needs and can end up burning out completely. They may feel used, dissatisfied and lost when they don’t get the outcome they wished for. It is very important that the chronic helper gives help when needed and does not overstep boundaries for their own self desires to feel accepted and to have purpose.

Are you a healthy helper or compulsive? Check the characteristics of rescuers (compulsive helpers) and a healthy helper below to find out.

A Healthy Helper:

• Presents help when asked for.
• Checks in every now and then with an individual needing help.
• Checks the results of their help. Did it help to allow the person to meet their goals, function appropriately, make decisions and use your ideas in a successful manner?
• Waits for a help request before taking action.

The Compulsive Helper:

• Gives help when not requested.
• Offers their “two cents” on every situation.
• Oversteps boundaries and tries to “fix” an individual overnight.
• Ignores the fact that help was not asked for.
• Does not welcome feedback on their helping skills.
• Spends too much time on helping another individual and neglects their own personal needs.
• Takes over the conversation when someone expresses the need for help.

Any relationship that has a compulsive helper on board may result in loss of confidence in both parties. If you feel you may be helping too much in your life, it might be a good time to sit back and find a healthier approach to helping others. Helpers and people of good intentions are extremely important in this world, but it is best to set some boundaries.

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7 thoughts on “Are You in Danger of Being a Compulsive Helper?

  1. Abigail

    Personally, I’ve always been a helper.
    I was “that people pleaser once” with no boundaries, unable to say NO and offering help even when not being asked. Boundaries are extremely important, as it allows a person never to enable another.
    It’s now used in another parallel perspective of work in grief and traumatic loss. The utmost importance is validation of thier grief and is a full requirement of selflessness.
    Having much experience in death can help though, much later on as we can share it “only when asked” how did I end up doing this for a living?
    Being a lightworker and a phychic helps temendously, allowing me knowledge with egos with such great awareness’!
    It is sow like planting a biased seed in them & watching the growth happen from thier own actions.
    Inspiration is a must!
    Such a useful article for many whom may want to end up in an area of being of assistance. Thank you Natasha!

  2. Rich

    My grandmother was a font of pithy homespun sayings, and in any conversation, a topic would come up that would put her in mind of one. I used to laugh at her about this, but now in my own elder years, I find myself recalling those sayings frequently. The one this article brought to mind is “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

  3. Momi

    Love this article! I just had the misfortune of being a Compulsive Helper. A lesson well learned. Thank you for putting it into perspective.

  4. Gina Rose ext.9500Gina Rose ext.9500

    oops, I meant because they * haven’t * learned healthy boundaries

    ( sorry…my eyeights is not what they used to be ).

  5. Gina Rose ext.9500Gina Rose ext.9500

    really liked this article…..

    many clients come to me feeling sad and drained because they have learned healthy boundaries…..

    it’s great to help others….but there are boundaries that still apply….this article successfully tells how and when to establish those boundaries.


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