To Give Up Rescuing ….

As you may have noticed, the rescuing aspects of our national policies in taking care of the poor has been on my mind…. (see previous posts)

I've been talking about the difference between offering true support to others – by sending a message that reinforces an individuals right to have as much independence as his/her physical &/or mental capacities allow – and our governments present approach of carrying people in a way that ends up fostering crippling dependency, thereby exacerbating the problem.

A lesson I learned from the study of the victim triangle, which might be applicable here, is that the doorway off the triangle is often through the persecutor position.

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In other words we must become willing to be perceived as a persecutor …. even though that is not what we're doing.

Being willing to be seen as a persecutor means understanding that those we've carried so long – and who have become dependent as a result, will not like it when we set them down on their own feet.

No matter how gently we do it – they're liable to be pretty mad at us. They very well may accuse us of being persecutors when in actuality we may be doing the most supportive and empowering thing possible …. by refusing to carry them … we act from a belief that encourages them to see life challenges as growing opportunities.

Rather than being so quick to rescue, we support others towards taking responsible action for themselves … In this way we support them towards independence and away from a life of crippling dependency.

2 Responses

  1. Thanks Lilan for your response.
    I think the bailout counts as a rescue maneuver as well. Rescuing happens on all levels … not only to “individuals with unsurmountable problems”. The Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac programs may have been good ideas in the beginning that devolved into bank loans being granted to those who could not afford the loans they got through these programs. They ended up defaulting(thus persecuting their rescuer) and suddenly the banks were in the red (thus in victim) It’s a good example of how rescues go awry. And then the original rescuers (banks & financial institutions) who are now in victim needed to be rescued. Thus the government steps in as the next level of rescuer. And the dance goes on and on and on.
    The point is that rather than solve problems, rescuing tends to create more mess.

  2. I can see your thinking about the difference between “caring for” and “carrying” that I read in your last three posts, but the main targets of your discussion are “individuals with insurmountable problems”. So its sounds like you are discussing unfortunate individuals who are receiving a government bailout. But the huge recent government bailout (over a trillion dollars as of today) is not going to unfortunate individuals, but to major corporations, such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and to banks. The everyday individual is the one who will be left with the tax bill to “carry” these major corporations. So, while I understand your discussion of the dangers of becoming a rescuer, I think your focus of who is actually being rescued here is off target. So, how do you apply your thinking on the victim triangle to the bailout of corporate America that is going on right now?

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