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Thread: Vent re: overly helpful person
December 6th, 2012 04:49 PM #6
I think often times people volunteer at places like a crisis pregnancy center to fulfill their own needs, rather than necessarily help other people. She's an older woman whose children are grown. Perhaps working with scared pregnant women makes her feel needed, important, and like she can still 'run things' and act like someone's mother. You come along, you have a genuine need at the time, and by your self-description have a compliant, easy-going, non-confrontational personality. It's like catnip.
Along the same lines, crisis pregnancy center volunteers tend to be philosophically opposed to abortion. If that was something you were considering early in your pregnancy but later decided to keep your son, she might feel especially close to you and to Quinton as a "save." She might feel like his godmother because she might think she had a big role in bringing him into existence. Being a religious person might make her feel all the more strongly that there was a reason for the two of you meeting and for her involvement in your life.
As time has gone on and your own situation has become more secure, your needs have changed, but she can't perceive that. I think thanking her for her presence in your life but emphasizing how fortunate and lucky (perhaps use the word 'blessed') you've become will clamp down on the unwanted secondhand items. Also emphasizing your marriage and the role of your husband as your principal support person, rather than her, might curtail the unnecessary involvement.Blade, MD
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December 6th, 2012 05:18 PM #8
Ah, I see. Well, my advice is pretty much the same as everyone else's. If she gives you more stuff, thank her kindly but let her know that you don't actually need it and you're sure there's someone else she knows who could make better use of it. Also, you need to start distancing yourself from her. If you don't consider her a close friend, then there's no reason to call her right away about important events in your life (ie, your children's births). If she gets her feelings hurt, then so be it. You have to establish boundries with this woman and if you don't, you'll have no one to blame but yourself for her continual involvement. You can still keep the friendship up but limit your time with her to things like group activities or lunch once a month. Hopefully she'll get the message and not be so intrusive.
December 6th, 2012 06:03 PM #10
You're not being unreasonable. I'm with meogan: this is creepy and inappropriate. It's up to you to put some boundaries up. She should have never crossed the line in the first place, and it's very telling to me that she did cross the line. I've volunteered at several crisis centers throughout my life, and we were always told to act as professionally as possible, even though we're only volunteers. I've cared very much about some of the people I talked to, but I would never push myself into their personal lives. People don't go to crisis centers to make new friends, they go for help, usually the temporary kind. I'd certainly think again about seeking help if I thought I was going to come away with a person who was going to intrude in every aspect of my life!
In my opinion, this woman has always needed you more than you've needed her. I wouldn't go so far as to say she sounds unstable, but I'd be cautious. I understand not wanting to hurt someone's feelings, but what about your feelings? You are allowing someone to make you feel this way. If you can't take care of and stand up for yourself, how will you teach your children to do so? I have no doubt that if (hopefully when) you start putting some boundaries up this woman will attempt to manipulate you. If I'm wrong, and she's just a kind woman who wants to "help", then give her the courtesy of knowing that she is embarrassing/annoying you so that she can rectify the matter. It's possible she's incredibly dense and socially inept. I don't think that's the case, but unless you make it clear what you will and will not tolerate, she won't know. If you make it clear and she manipulates or continues to intrude, then you know this woman doesn't care about you at all, and is motivated by a selfish need. Hopefully that will make it easier to "hurt her feelings".Considering...
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December 6th, 2012 06:27 PM #12Senior Member
- Join Date
- May 2012
What you're describing sounds like co-dependency, also known as "relationship addiction." This may interest you, from the website "Mental Health America":
"Co-dependents have low self-esteem and look for anything outside of themselves to make them feel better....They have good intentions. They try to take care of a person who is experiencing difficulty, but the caretaking becomes compulsive and defeating. Co-dependents often take on a martyr’s role and become 'benefactors' to an individual in need...."
"Characteristics of Co-Dependent People are:
An exaggerated sense of responsibility for the actions of others
A tendency to confuse love and pity, with the tendency to “love” people they can pity and rescue
A tendency to do more than their share, all of the time
A tendency to become hurt when people don’t recognize their efforts
An unhealthy dependence on relationships. The co-dependent will do anything to hold on to a relationship; to avoid the feeling of abandonment
An extreme need for approval and recognition
A sense of guilt when asserting themselves
A compelling need to control others
Lack of trust in self and/or others
Fear of being abandoned or alone
Difficulty identifying feelings
Rigidity/difficulty adjusting to change
Problems with intimacy/boundaries
Difficulty making decisions"
I agree with all of the previous posters' advice on how to confront the situation, but it may help you to look more into co-dependency if the above information sounds like your friend.
December 6th, 2012 07:08 PM #14Member
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- Aug 2011
- Southern Manitoba, Canada
Thank you for all the responses. Some of them have described the situation back to me quite accurately, and that is what I needed, some sort of outside perspective on this. She does have a number of co-dependency traits, though not all (she never appears angry for example). So here's the plan: Next time she calls I will kindly inform her of the existence of the PM feature on facebook, as well as the fact that the breast pump she got me doesn't work, and sneak in a hint that there's a reason people bring stuff like that to a thrift store. I'll also bring up the fact that my kids are loaded with toys as it is, and that we're running out of room. Hopefully that will be enough to get the message across without hurting her feelings. I suspect that she's a little "dense" (don't know how else to word this kindly) if she were older I'd be inclined to say she was in the early stages of dementia due to her often repeating the same stories etc but she's been doing that for as long as I've known her which is going on 7 years.Mommy to Quinton Vladimir and Maeve Elisabeth
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