Obsession: The next “wounded” person or incident

Compulsion: help, fix, do, avoid, and fix pain


The need to “caretake” others can be triggered by many different things. When we discuss caretaking, people assume that it means we care for someone else when they are sick or elderly, such as an aging parent. However, when we refer to caretaking, we are referring to those people who put others needs ahead of their own, to the detriment of themselves.


Issues surrounding caretaking can manifest in a number of ways. Sometimes, people feel a constant need to “rescue” others. This feeds into their self-worth, which has been damaged or even diminished. By rescuing others, they feel better about themselves.


Other times, caretaking may manifest by trying to control the behavior of those around them. Again, this can also piggy back off of control issues, but the caretaker feels the need to step in and attempt to manage someone else’s behavior. This often leads to serious relationship or interpersonal issues.


Caretaking can also be a form of enmeshment or enabling. However, as caretaking manifests itself, it can be detrimental to our sense of self, our ability to have healthy and fulfilling relationships, and cause continued struggle in many other aspects of our lives.


Caretaking is just one of the many “symptomatic” behaviors addressed at The Bridge to Recovery.