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NLP | stop rescuing others
Tired of Being the Rescuer?

by Dr. Vesna Grubacevic


Are you constantly saving your partner, family, friends and colleagues from their dramas?  Do you feel drained by carrying other people’s emotional baggage?  Would you like to end this cycle once and for all, and free your energy to focus on creating more empowering personal and professional relationships instead?

Rescuer and Victim

Opposites do attract.  Family members, partners, friends and colleagues who play the victim, poor me, blame others and take no or little responsibility often seek to be rescued by others.  Conversely, people who have an unmet need to help others attract family members, partners, friends and colleagues who need to be rescued.   In order to fulfill those needs, the rescuer and victim attract each other.  They are a perfect fit in the sense that they fulfill each others’ needs, however in the process they create a disempowering dynamic.

Rescuing your partner, family, friends and colleagues can take many forms, including:
  • Always paying for coffee, meals, going out, holidays, gifts, bills, etc because they can’t afford it rather than enabling them to be financially responsible;
  • Doing your siblings’, children's or partner's chores or homework because they can’t be bothered, they are too tired or it is hard work;
  • Overprotecting your loved ones from emotional hurt rather than allowing them to learn their lessons and growing as people;
  • When your colleagues leave their work to the last minute, you rescue them by helping them to complete the work, rather than encouraging them to complete their work on time;
  • Doing too much to help your colleagues, partner or family members and then they get the recognition for the work you have done and in the process their negative behaviour of being rescued is being rewarded too.
How Much is Enough?

While it is wonderful to want to help others and to be of service, the real question is how much is enough?  What amount of help is appropriate and when is it too much?  

There is a difference between being empathetic and supportive, and taking on board too much of your partner’s, family’s, friends’ and colleagues' emotions and feeling really upset because they feel upset.  When you are too caught up in the problem with them, you lose your objectivity to offer a different perspective on a problem to help them.

This is where being clear about the lines of responsibility helps us to understand whether we are creating an empowering or disempowering relationship with our family, friends, partner and colleagues.

You are personally responsible for four things:  how you think, how you feel, how you act and how you influence your family, friends, partner and colleagues.  Your family members, partner, friends and colleagues are also responsible for four things:  how they think, how they feel, how they act and how they influence you and others.  

When you start to take responsibility for how other people think, feel, act and influence others, you are taking on too much responsibility because this is beyond your control.  In the process you are disempowering both you and other people.

Rescue You, Rescue Me

What is interesting about a rescuer, is that they rescue everyone except themselves.  They are so busy taking care of everyone else that they often neglect their own wants, needs and goals.  Isn’t it time you rescue yourself from this disempowering dynamic so that you can live the life you desire, and have the fulfilling personal and professional relationships you seek?  

By far the biggest contributor to people taking too much responsibility for others and rescuing them are the disempowering dynamics between people.  These dynamics are at the deepest core of the problem.  For as long as those disempowering dynamics remain you will keep yourself and your loved ones stuck in the same cycle, as you unconsciously encourage their behaviour.  The best way to end this cycle once and for all is to identify the specific disempowering dynamics which are driving your rescuing behaviour, then to permanently address them.  This will assist you to stop feeling tired, have more energy and to create empowering and fulfilling personal and professional relationship dynamics with other people.

How to once and for all stop rescuing others and empower them and yourself for greater confidence and success!


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