Family Rescuers don't like it when other family members are angry with them. When we relate to others from a primarily rescuer role, we hate for others to think we are mean or unfair because our sense of self worth and self importance comes from having others look to and depend on us. In other words, we need to be needed so we can feel that we count. We are willing to sacrifice our own needs and best interest, even our very lives, in an effort to get our dependent loved ones to acknowledge and recognize us for what we've done for them.
In getting off the Victim Triangle we must shift our priorities by changing our perception about who we are and are not responsible for.
Below is a list of shifts that happen as we move into recovery from rescuing:
- To recover from rescuing others we must make taking responsibility for ourselves our number one priority regardless of how selfish we have been taught to believe this is. And in so doing we become a model of self responsibility for those we previously rescued.
- We get clear about whose approval we really need – ours, not the ones we rescue! We must come to understand that we are the ones whose acceptance we need to be seeking, not those who look to us to carry them!
- We become willing for those we've rescued in the past to be angry with us as a result of giving up rescuing. We even understand why they would be! After all, if you had somebody that had taken care of you in some major way and that person suddenly stopped doing it … with no explanation … wouldn't you be upse
- We no longer try to control or manage the feelings, opinions, beliefs or behavior of those we previously rescued. We understand that they have the right to make (even poor) choices and experience the consequences of those choices as a part of their own learning about themselves and life
- We stop communicating to those we have taken care of that we see them as being or having a problem. Instead we support and encourage them to learn from the situations they create for themselves by reminding them that there are options and that they do indeed have the power to create a better life for themselves
- We are able to recognize and state boundaries. In other words, we are clear on what is our business (us) and what is their business (them).
They don't have to understand or approve for us to assume responsibility for our own life and to give responsibility for themselves back to them. There is a relationship law that applies here … when we do what is truly best for ourselves, (not some whimsical preference, but what is truly right for us) everyone involved benefits. Let go of the need to control their opinion of you. Act in a way that is respectful of you and them and give them the right to feel however they feel about it without you needing to fix it. When you get okay with yourself for not rescuing them, they will too. It's the way it works.
Trust the process and put your own needs at the top of your priority list.