"Who, if I cried, in the hierarchy of angels would hear me?" Rainier Maria Rilke

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On Help And Helping

The question has arisen from several sides lately regarding what is help, when to seek help, when help is not helpful but hindering. Some of this depends on the agenda of the person helping: do they wish to move you forward in your life, do they wish to impart information you don’t have and alleviate unnecessary suffering? Or are they trying to lessen your pain so you quit taking it out on everyone else but aside from that have no real interest in your well-being? All of these are fine, I think, although the last one will leave you feeling a little odd as the motive is nothing to do with you.
What does not work and only backfires is the “helping” which is predicated on the need of the helper to be useful and to perceive him or herself as better or one-up on the helpee. It draws us into the Karpman drama triangle, where the helped person must be viewed as victim, there must be a persecutor, and the rescuer is more likely than not to take on the persecutor role at some point. Equally often, the victim gets tired of being considered victim and flips into persecuting the rescuer.
All very messy. Feelings are hurt all the way around and no real resolution occurs. Generally, everyone walks away with whatever world view they held going in feeling confirmed for them, and everyone feeling ill-used.
Real help by contrast feels supportive and freeing. It is something you are at liberty to respectfully decline. It adds to your power rather than taking away from it. These are people who ask first, “would you like help or feedback with that or are you just wanting me to listen” before they volunteer solutions or step in to do anything on your behalf.
Another “help” issue which has arisen for me lately is when to ask for help in areas I consider my own specialty-when, in other words, to admit that personally I’m in over my head and become willing to accept help.
I had a steep and good learning curve with that this morning. (Thank you, Ed!). No matter how gifted a healer one is, there is a time and a place to turn to others and accept assistance. I am most grateful this finally occurred to me today.