Yes we have covered this subject before but I have just been given a new perspective. Maybe I have never thought about this sort of help being harmful but I guess it can be – I have recently been to a lecture about Caseworkers and what they are supposed to do. After the three hours I left with the biggest impression being that people who have a role in helping organise and take care of others cross boundaries in a well-meaning yet harmful way.
How many times have we helped someone because we feel good afterward – maybe they never even asked for the help in the first place. Have you ever taken the liberty of organising or helping out because you can get it done faster? (it being whatever you like).
It was funny to sit and listen to how caseworkers overstep boundaries and in their effectiveness sever the already strained connection between family members and those that need extra support. How? Well everyone has family – everyone with an addiction or handicap or illness have people who care about them. Now, not every family has the skills, or energy to handle all addiction, handicaps and illnesses. The family members do their best but as caseworkers step in and do better, quicker jobs – the family is not needed. This can be a relief in strained relations – “good someone else can deal with him/her”. What does that mean to a case worker or others in the health care business? Well it means someone has to clean up the mess – the question is whom and how. Should the caseworker they do the job, organize the job, or just orchestrate? How much can family help and be involved?
As the patient becomes stronger how will we gradually lessen the help so it does not become a crutch they lean on? Hmm this actually reminds me a bit of co-dependency. It is a fine line between helping, and harming here. If we do the work the person we are helping is not getting out there and doing the job, learning the process, taking responsibility and so on. Sure we should assist where the ability is weak but we should encourage where there is ability! Not easy to do when human nature is pretty lazy – hey you want to clean my house for me because you don’t think its clean enough? Go ahead! But don’t think it encourages me to clean up, actually maybe I will wait untill you can’t stand the mess and help me out again.
Co-dependents clean up a load of messes that are not our responsibility – for many different reasons. The biggest reason being for ourselves when we are honest about it. We get pats on the back, thank you’s and we get the control (imagined or otherwise) we want. Ordered chaos – not just a theory but sometimes a method of survival.
Where do I want to go with this? Like anything else we do I hope we think before we act. Ask before we assume. And allow others the room to grow and step up to their own challenges. No more advice. Just listen. Ask yourself, is my helping hand really a help or a long-term hurt – before we extend it.
- Doing Battle with Chaos (afternoonstorm.wordpress.com)
- Children may lose families’ care under Illinois DCFS cuts (stltoday.com)
- A Perfect Mess Type (avemaria92.wordpress.com)