Helper Impulsivity: Can't Stop, Should Stop
Updated: Sep 26, 2021
Hi. My name is Elizabeth, and I have Helper Impulsivity.
Helper Impulsivity is when a person jumps to action at the perceived or real need of another person, disregarding their calendar, commitments, and personal needs. In other words, saying yes without considering what you'll need to say no to.
Signs you're suffering from Helper Impulsivity:
You love helping others, but lately, you feel overextended and in (or close to) a state of emergency.
Your most important roles and relationships are being neglected for the sake of others*.
You feel resentful or envious when you see others taking care of themselves, enjoying hobbies, or getting rest.
The sliver of time you set aside 'just for you' always gets hijacked by someone else's need/urgency.
You no longer know what to do with yourself when you have open time. You may even feel like you don't know who you are anymore.
*Others: friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, the mail carrier, stray cats, and the stranger at the store who asked you to help them change a tire.
Being generous with our time and energy can be beautiful.
I believe interdependence is necessary for people to thrive. However, as Adrienne Maree Brown elaborates so well, we are not aiming for an all-or-nothing model straight out of the gate. I cannot hold the world up for you, we need to hold it together.
When we're in it together, then we can take breaks without the sky falling.
Part of being united is having humane expectations of ourselves and extending grace within and around us.
We have limits. That's science.
We cannot continuously add things to the list without taking some off.
It's so tempting to think...
It will only take a few minutes.
It's not that big of a deal.
I enjoy doing it, so it doesn't feel like work. I can push through so they feel supported and appreciated this one time.
If you're always pushing to the edge of yourself, you can't rally when there is someone or something you need to show up for. Most especially when that person is you.
The ease with which we abandon ourselves for the benefit of others is hazardous to our physical, mental, emotional, and relational health.
We thank you for your tireless service to those around you. You are hereby invited to sit your butt down and think about what you need to best take care of yourself.
Are you willing to deliver the necessary "no" to make the "yes" possible without sacrificing yourself?
Your people need helpers who are getting their needs met. Your body needs you to get your needs met.
What can you do the next time someone asks for (or eludes to needing) help?