Are You an Enabler? Overcoming a Rescuer Behavior Pattern +EOs to Use

Do any of the people you're in a relationship with continually confuse and baffle you, or continually drain you of energy? Do you ever feel no matter what you do, or give to someone, it is never enough? Do you feel you have to continually prove your love, or loyalty to someone?

Co-dependent relationships where you're playing the rescuer are those characterized by a kind of dysfunctional helping behavior. Playing out the role of the ‘white lady’ rescuer, or savior complex, can become quite self destructive if allowed to go unchecked.

These types of behavioral relationships are those in which one person supports, enables, or otherwise makes excuses for another person's addictive behavior, immaturity, irresponsibility, under achievement, or poor mental health habits.

Rescuers or enablers are known to chronically attract narcissistic personality types who always blame others for what’s gone awry in their life. One of the classic telltale signs of a narcissist is always their inability to accept responsibility. They are experts at evading, distracting and deflecting blame.

Prevalence of Narcissism in the U.S.

According to a study published by the Reputation Institute, the U.S. is the second most narcissistic country in the world with a 23.4% difference between evaluation of what U.S. citizens think of our country and how country's worldwide perceive the U.S. The #1 most narcissistic country in the world is Russia with a whopping 40.8 % difference between Russian's perception of their own importance and how other country's perceive them. 

Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Ramani Durvasula, who specializes in narcissistic personality disorder estimates the percentage of narcissists in the U.S. is around 30%. Of course, we all have narcissistic tendencies, especially when we're young. As we mature, most of us develop a more collective feeling of compassion and consideration for others and grow out of any tendency to overestimate our own perceived value as being more important than others.

Ability to See Your Rescuer Pattern

When you’re a chronic rescuer, the issue at hand is your own inability to see your need to redeem other people’s faults. Your desire to help others comes so naturally that you really aren't able to see you're doing for others, rather than helping them help themselves. Your tendency instead is to rescue people from themselves and the messes they invariably make. People with this type of behavior pattern are often playing out the classic 'savior' archetype.

In most instances you can become, and often do, become co-dependent with your own shadow element to rescue others. In other words, you can’t see your own behavior pattern as a rescuer. That is until your rescuer pattern has resulted in your creating repeated emotionally painful (and confusing) relationship experiences.

Shadow co-dependence is characterized by repeated patterns of self-sabotage (falling into the habitual rescuer pattern) and all of the other characteristic attributes of co-dependence with another person.

By its very nature shadow co-dependence is addictive. And, by addiction, I mean repeating dysfunctional behavior patterns that imprison you. You’re incapable of walking away from these types of relationships. The patterns that you're playing out anchor you to another person at the subconscious ‘shadow’ level.

Both the addict and the enabler/rescuer of the addict are dancing with each others shadow.

That’s why its so intoxicating to both of you and so difficult to walk away from. This compulsive pattern is so hidden in the shadows that it continues to control you both making for ever increasing levels of toxicity in your relationship.

Two Characteristics of Shadow Co-dependence

  1. Obsession 

    One of the key characteristic signs that you’re in an addictive co-dependent relationship between your shadow and another person's shadow is the degree to which you feel obsessed.

    An obsession is when an idea or thought, person, place or situation continually captures your attention. When you’re in the grips of your own shadow the object of your obsession dominates your mind. You can’t think of anything else. Your life energy feels completely drained and all of your time is absorbed with the pursuit of this co-dependent shadow relationship.

  2. Guilt

    The second sign of co-dependence between your shadow and another person is the emotion of guilt.

    Shadow co-dependence continually plays the guilt game to keep you in its power. Co-dependence at the shadow level frequently controls your behavior through guilting you for committing an actual or perceived offensive behavior, or crime. In shadow co-dependence there’s always one who plays the masochist while the other plays the sadist. It’s a back and forth ping pong match that never ends. You keep getting sucked in deeper and deeper with the dangling carrot that, “This next thing (fill in the blank) will do the trick for breaking through," but it never happens.

    When you feel inherently guilty, no matter what you do, or try, then your feelings of self worth and self esteem are greatly undermined. You may have continual situations and feelings of having to prove yourself worthy time and time again. What’s lacking is your own feeling of genuine self respect. This requires standing your ground for what’s okay and what’s not okay with you. People take our lead for what’s acceptable behavior. If you keep moving the boundary line, offenders will keep pushing to see what else they can get away with.

    Guess what, if you trade off your self respect and allow these co-dependent shadow mind games to go on, you will never be good enough and can never win. Winning is not even an option. It’s a false equivalent appearing to distract you from what’s really going on.

    The shadow plays the guilt game with you in order to induce you to do something that may cause further negative feelings about yourself. Your belief in your shadow gives it power over you and it continues to maintain control.

Breaking Shadow Co-dependence EOs to Use
Use these essential oils whenever you feel confused by another person's behavior, or trapped in an ever recurring cycle of unhealthy relationship patterns that leave you feeling drained.

Lemon (Citrus limon) - Psycho-emotionally helps you stay in control of your emotions and emotional outbursts. Powerful astringent properties help you cut through and break obsessive, negative thought patterns and think fresh thoughts.

Frankincense/Olibanum oil (Boswellia frereana and B. carterii) - Promotes integrity with Self and lends enduring emotional and spiritual support.

Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus radiata and E. globulus) - Psycho-emotionally good for relieving congested thoughts and promotes fresh thoughts and ideas.

Black Pepper (Piper nigrum) - One of best oils for breaking negative self talk and bad habits.

READ Next Article in this Series, Raising Your Emotional Set Point +Silent Witnessing Meditation & EO Recipe.

READ First Article in this Series, Essential Oils for Healing Negative Emotions +6 Types of Fear & 16 Common Personality Traits.


†These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All statements on this website are intended for informational purposes only.

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