When You Reach for Help, Are You Loving or Abandoning Yourself?By Dr. Margaret Paul
January 25, 2016
Discover the big difference between reaching out as your loving adult or as your wounded self.
Dorothy asked an important question:
"What is the difference between turning to someone and handing my little girl over to them?"
The difference is in your intent.
When your intent is to be loving to yourself, but you are stuck and you need help, you are being a loving adult when you reach out for help. You are not asking someone to do it for you – you are asking them to help you and do it with you. You are not asking them to be your loving adult – you are asking them to be a second loving adult along with you as a loving adult.
There are many times in life when we cannot manage a situation alone, or when we need help in understanding what to do for ourselves. The loving adult is not stuck in the false belief that we have to do everything ourselves. Just as when you are physically ill and you reach for professional help, or you have a legal problem and you reach to an attorney for help, the loving adult reaches for help emotionally and spiritually when feeling stuck or overwhelmed. If you can't get the help you need from family or friends, then the loving adult reaches to a professional for help.
The loving adult understands that there is a big difference between dependency and interdependency, and that being overly independent isn't self-loving either. Interdependency is healthy - we are social beings and we need each other for help and support. Being there for each other is one of the great perks of being in a relationship.
When your intent is to get someone to do it for you rather than with you, then your wounded self is in charge. You likely come from the false belief that others can do it better than you, or that it's other people’s job to give you what you didn't get as you were growing up and are now not giving to yourself, or that others – rather than Spirit – are your source of love. When the wounded self is in charge, you are abandoning yourself, and you then try to have control over others giving you the attention, love and compassion that you are not giving yourself. You want the other person to be your loving adult/higher power, so you hand your inner child over to them.
Most people respond very differently when you are showing up for yourself and you need their help, from when you are abandoning yourself and handing responsibility to them for your feelings. When you are a loving adult asking for help, most people are happy to be of help. When you have abandoned yourself and you are trying to get the other person to take responsibility for your feelings and well-being, most people feel pulled on and might respond by withdrawing. Unless someone is deeply addicted to caretaking, they won't want responsibility for you. If they do take responsibility for you, there will likely be a big price to pay, in that they then expect you to give yourself up for them.
The moment you abandon yourself and hand your inner child to someone else, your inner child will feel rejected by you, so nothing the other person does will actually make a big difference. The other person cannot make up for your self-abandonment/self-rejection, so you will continue to feel badly – even if the other person is caring and compassionate. No one can make up to you for your own self-rejection.
It's important, when you want help, to first be honest with yourself about your intent. Are you reaching out as a loving adult being loving to yourself, or are you operating from your wounded self and abandoning yourself to the other person? It's your intent that determines the outcome.
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Focus on anyone you are angry at. Let yourself voice your anger out loud but not at the person. Now turn it around and let your inner child say the same thing to you, listening with openness and compassion. Whoever you are angry at can become your teacher for becoming aware of how you may be abandoning yourself.
By Dr. Margaret Paul