Saturday, June 23, 2012

When Help Harms

We've all been in that place where your loved one /best friend/closest people are in deep trouble or  dealing with depression  and we assume it is your duty to help and stand up for them in their times of trouble ,which is true and considered a good characteristic of a human being. But like most things, too much of anything gets you the opposite result. 

When you help beyond a certain point you fail to realize that in pulling someone out of their shit have too shared their emotional baggage and gotten yourself deep into their shit and are suffering along with them and still empathizing with them.

I've always been a helpful person ,counseled a lot of people intentionally or unknowingly with whatever I knew and could. But today I realize.. there's a very thin line between offering to help and helping someone with so much involvement that they rather tell you that they want some time off. Its like you consider it your eternal purpose to help someone in need, but not learning when to stop leads to hazardous and toxic relationships . I've realized that my feeling good bout the feeling I get after helping someone is not as important as helping the person grow, and I'm still learning. (and you have to admit ...we all feel good after being useful to someone)

When we lend someone some support till the time they need like a plaster helping a bone recover... but prolonged period of helping makes the bone actually weaker and life without the support seems impossible. with words of hope and empathy you never know you could be weakening someone or intruding too much in their personal sphere.I'm sure you're wondering why and how...

Here is a story I learnt way back in school,

'A biology teacher brought in the class a cocoon of a catterpillar which was about to break open. The teacher wanted the kids to realize the important concept of metamorphosis.cracks started to develop on the cucoon and the teacher left the class for a couple of minutes instructing them not to touch and just observe the incredible natural phenomena of the caterpillar transforming itself into a monarch butterfly.
while the teacher was out the students saw the butterfly struggle within the cucoon trying very hard to break it open and release itself into the world. the students emphatized with its condition and decided to help the butterfly by breaking open its cocoon enough for the butterfly to fly out.
As soon as the butterfly came out the children where over joyed but the teacher who had just returned back to the class knew what was coming next..
within a few moments the butterfly fell flat onto the floor and its wings stopped flapping.. in another minute there was no more movement .the butterfly couldn't fly anymore. The children empathized some more ..some even shed tears to see the non flying butterfly . that's when the teacher told them that they were responsible for the butterfly's inability to fly and that it will die soon.
 The cocoon breaking process is one of the most important events in a butterflies life and no matter how painstaking it may seem to you it is necessary for the butterfly to gain strength enough to fly for the rest of its life '

We all have people who are completely dependent on us and we have some people on whom we are completely dependent upon.Take time to analyze what is actually happening... what you are calling a relationship may be just a pure state of dependency and that may be making you or them weaker.
By helping too much you become the clown that now scares instead of making the child laugh ,no matter how much you are purely trying to entertain.
We all have our own battles and we must fight them on our own..and we must also let others fight their own battles...
I admit its tough for you to just leave them to the natural learning process .be their support but dont let them grow on you. Its tough to see your loved one suffer to see them cry ...and you may feel guilty about not being able to offer proper help or advice. Its tough to see your kid fall, your loved one fail, your best friend lose their love , suffering from a breakup or suffering from office politics....

But those are the times the butterfly is breaking out into a new dawn and before your tears dry, they'll be up in the sunlight spreading their bright wings and dressed up in beautiful colors.

Do not deprive someone or even yourself of the natural falling process...and indulging too much into someone else's pain ain't making anything better .Its okay if you don't have words to say or if you don't feel like crying or nothing at all .Its okay if you cannot console has a way of its own..and time does definitely heal you ,them and everyone.

I've got another article on these lines... do read Pain is necessary 

Do offer someone a helping hand...dont carry them on your back,do take help from someone but don't run a race on their track.

If you are in any kind of pain while you read this...remember you are just trying to break open the cocoon ..soon you'll complete your metamorphosis .
Have high and keep coming back to Ram's realizations

Image courtsey: (Thank you so much for the images)


  1. Amazing topic. Loved it. Could relate to it!

  2. Hmmm...I think most of us know the cocoon-butterfly story...and also the lesson the it imparts but its application is the most difficult part. Its human nature to help anyone in distress, and that is the reason why the caterpillar was helped in the first place, on top of that when it comes to our loved ones, best friends the degree of empathy is just too high to realize the inherent damage that out help has in some cases. As you rightly put, there is a thin line between providing help and providing damaging help! Its time that we drew that line (in ctrl + B :P) for the good.
    The part where you "feel good" after helping someone, occurs "after" you have helped, your empathy doesn't permit to think of the consequences that your actions hold, whether you would feel good about it, and/or cause permanent damage is what we fail to realize because at that point of time all you want to do is help the distressed. And that is when we should think of the "line".

  3. Ahh.......i realized this the hard way......realized it nonetheless :)

    nice style of writing stays fresh throughout :)

    good stuff......keep it coming :)

  4. postingan yang bagus tentang"When Help Harms"

  5. Anything in excess isn't good. We all know that. Very well written. :)

    New on your blog. Hope you can find some time to visit mine.

    Maybe we could follow each other? :)


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