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Six Questions to Recognize If You are Over-Giving in Your Relationship

Posted by on March 17, 2016 in Relationships & Sex with 0 Comments


True love is about giving. Balanced love is knowing how much and when to give and take. This is a dance we all have to learn but few of us master, which can take a lifetime. For some of us who are healers or have a deeply caring heart, it's easy to cross over to the side of over-giving. Over-giving in relationships is more common than we might realize and it can have detrimental effects to our well-being.There is also the social aspect of giving: altruism. It is an intrinsic desire to contribute selflessly to the well-being of others. It is hard to give selflessly when our giving takes from us and causes resentments.

There are no hard and fast rules about how much we should give. It all comes back to our intention. If we are reliant on the approval and appreciation that comes from our helping, things can take an unpleasant turn. It can set the stage for codependency when our giving isn’t for the sake of adding value but for buying love and approval. This can lead to us losing respect for ourselves and lower our self-esteem.

I am a recovering codependent and I have to watch my giving like a hawk. I inherited generosity from my father, which I am grateful for, but I can easily cross the line if I am not conscious or am unwilling to ask myself some difficult questions. Below are six questions I ask myself to catch and correct my tendency to over-give. If you find yourself easily falling into this pattern, they may light the way to awareness and empowerment for you.

1) Does the person I am helping use it to escape responsibility?

If I am honest, I can recognize that they have no plans for changing anything or taking action to better their situation. Someone who does not want to take responsibility for their own life and happiness will abuse your help and may even emotionally manipulate you to continue rescuing them. This will leave you angry, bitter and resentful. These weren't the feelings you were hoping to evoke when you helped them out initially. They may be in need of new life skills or a new perspective. Yet, you see no signs or motivation in them to reach towards a solution for their situation to improve.

2) Does my giving cause me to compromise my integrity?

My sense of fairness and striving for greater integrity are two of the pillars in my life that ground me to truth. They are not perfect but I pay a big price internally if I let them slide. If I find myself making up excuses or even lying to get out of helping them, I know that I will be leaking immense amount of personal power. Lack of integrity will wear down our soul and cause us to self-sabotage our own happiness.

3) Does my giving promote dependence?

It feels good to feel useful because it is aligned with the altruistic inclination in us. If my secret intention for giving is to keep them attached to me or have them in a place of owing to me, I know that I am fostering dependence unconsciously. One way to catch this is to imagine the person you are helping being completely independent of your help in some miraculous way. If that makes you uncomfortable, then you may be giving with an agenda. This essentially hurts the other person because it robs them of their ability to reach their highest potential. Trust me on this, in the long run they will harbor resentment towards you. Deep inside, people actually want to be self-sufficient and reach their life goals.

4) Is my giving putting me in a difficult place financially, emotionally or physically?

We can’t give what we don’t have. Trying to can cost us emotionally and financially and nothing but resentment comes out of that. When I was helping a friend go through her break up, I spent many hours listening to her. All she wanted to do was to talk about him and how he had hurt her. I empathized with that but I felt drained after our conversations. So I had to kindly tell her. She was upset with me for a few weeks. I gave her time to recover and come to the realization that what I said was out of self-love and not due to lack of care and love for her. I have done the same thing to my friends during my difficult periods and even burnt out a few of them. That didn't feel good either.

5) Do I feel guilty when I feel reluctant to help them?

The guilt may be caused by them or I may be fearing that I will lose their love if I stay within the limits of my ability to give. Either way, I need to look at that and address the root cause of my guilt. When processed, guilt is a gem that leads us to truths we have become unaware of. Guilt points to the fact that something feels wrong and ignoring that will cost us our joy. So, exploring it closely can help us identify the truth behind our guilt which will lead us to freedom and balance.

6) Do I feel like my helping them has changed the texture of the relationship in a negative way?

If the answer is yes, that's a bummer! Now, there is room for resentment, guilt and exhaustion and no room left to relate equally. You are put in a one-up position without really wanting that. When the need for helping is gone, the possibility of the relationship going back to where it was is slim. All is not lost, though. If both people are willing to talk about what happened openly and own their part without sinking into shame, the connection has a chance to become stronger than ever.

If you answer yes to one or more of the questions above, it may be a good time inquire about your intentions for helping and getting honest with yourself. You may have innocently learned to base your self-worth on how useful you are to others. Another name for this is codependency. Know that codependency is very common and there is help for changing this pattern. It has to start with accepting its existence. We are all worthy without needing to constantly give to know that. It may take some work and that work may be ongoing but there is light at the end of the tunnel. We all have equal responsibility on this planet and if our helping dis-empowers us and the other person, it is worth recognizing the price we are paying. 

Have you had any experiences where you felt like you were over-giving when it was hurting you? How did you grow through that? 


Banu-Sekendur  Banu Sekendur, MA is an intuitive and a psychotherapist turned relationship coach. Her purpose is to help people grow personally and spiritually through the complexities of their relationships. You can contact her through website and Facebook.

This article(Six questions to Recognize if You are Over-Giving in Your Relationship) was originally created and published by Conscious Life News and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Banu Sekendur and . It may be re – posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this Copyright/Creative Commons statement.

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