Addiction to CaretakingBy Dr. Margaret Paul
December 12, 2022
Caretaking is an addiction to giving to get back, rather than giving for the joy of it. Discover the various ways you might be caretaking.
Caretaking is doing something for others with an outcome in mind - they will love you, approve of you, give you attention, give you money, and so on. It is giving to get something back, as opposed to giving for the joy of giving. Caretaking always has an agenda attached, as opposed to caregiving and true giving. Caregiving is taking care of someone who cannot take care of themselves, such as a child or an old or sick person whom you have agreed to take care of. True giving is giving from the heart with no expectation of getting anything back. It’s giving purely from love.
When we give from our wounded self, we are always giving to get something in return. This form of giving is manipulative because it always has an expectation attached of what the other should give back to us. We believe others owe us when we give from our wounded self, and we may feel angry and used when we don't get back what we expect. Whether we are giving compliments, attention, money, sex, time, food, presents, and so on - if we have an expectation of how the other should respond to our giving, we are caretaking. Caretaking is a form of covert control, as opposed to anger, which is a form of overt control. Both caretaking and anger have an agenda attached; anger is obvious while caretaking is subtle. Caretaking is just another way of making another responsible for your worth and security, i.e. "If I give to others what they want, they will give me the love and approval I need." It is another form of making others responsible for your worth and security - one way codependency gets acted out.
How do you caretake?
Be sure you do not judge yourself as you read through these. Self-judgment always gets in the way of learning.
- Making others wants, needs and feelings more important than my own
- Being overly nice
- Giving gifts with strings attached
- Being emotionally or financially indispensable
- Flattering or giving false compliments
- Having sex when I'm not turned on
- Giving in, giving myself up, going along with things I don't really want to do
- Not asking for what I want, putting aside what I want
- Agreeing with others’ points of view
- People pleasing
- Censoring what I say about what I want and feel
- Second-guessing and anticipating what others want
- Putting myself down, keeping myself limited so others will feel superior
When we give from the loving adult, we are giving for the pure pleasure it gives us to give with no expectation of how another should respond. Others do not owe us when we give from the heart. We receive in the act of the giving and do not need anything back to feel fulfilled.
While caretaking may look loving, loving never has an agenda. It’s a pure gift of love.
Heal your relationships with Dr. Margaret’s 30-Day online video relationship course: Wildly, Deeply, Joyously in Love.
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Do you know who you are in your essence - the spark of the Divine within you? When you know and cherish your essence, you will never feel inadequate. Today, open to learning with your Guidance about who you really are.
By Dr. Margaret Paul