When helping hurts

When helping hurts – maybe it just doesn’t meet their real needs ….

A recent article really resonated with several points in particular and gave me what I always enjoy – a new perspective!  It was about the well-intentioned but negative impressions we give on our journey through life to the vulnerable, the oppressed or the sad and lonely perhaps.

Professionally I do encourage therapeutic intervention, it’s my business, but I am also aware not everyone can afford it or push themselves to that step.


And there are alternatives that I can signpost if necessary and try to help in this way when I can.

Not just for therapy and coaching but business pointers too -network contacts, events, social media processes or opportunities to get involved with, or therapeutic interventions.

I’ve made a note of the particular points for me in my journal so I can make the changes I need to make, and want to make so my ‘good intentions’ are more relevant …

The ones for me included:

An ally to the oppressed” – are we really or just think and don’t do anything constructive?    I know that’s true for me at times.

I also know that people generally have good intentions and hearts of gold (!!!!?!) but they ‘help’ others either that they would want or all that they can offer, or think they are helping when they aren’t!

If you help someone, ask what they want help with and see what you can do.  Ask them if what you are offering is going to be of help to them, and not just make you feel good for ‘helping others’.

It does come from the heart and a good heart, and intention.   But if you aren’t helping, then maybe stay out of the way and let them find the help they want or need.

Hanging hearts

I know this from help given to me.  At times, help didn’t help me.   it wasn’t what I needed nor wanted, it was something they could give but that wasn’t for me I felt!  I have and still do have resentment when I’ve raised this, but nonetheless, it was raised and it is still relevant – at least for me!

I don’t like oppression of any kind, individually, bullying, abuse or terrorism.  None of it.

So I do ‘identify’ with helping and empathising but what I do isn’t making much impact I guess.   My name on a list isn’t going to help that much, nor my limited contributions to the cause or the other stuff people can and do do, so they feel involved.

#Well intentioned privileged people helping those less well off in money, time or status.  Don’t marginalise these people – their feelings or beliefs, expectations and needs

I do this to people close to me sometimes, too, and recognise when I do it but I cant explain and I can see the hurt and injustice my good intentions cause.  What do I do?

I see the other party’s side of things and make excuses or reasons for their behaviours which have hurt or damaged someone close to me!  I turn the other cheek on their behalf when what they really want  and need – from me is to empathise with them, their plight and their feelings.  THEY need ME on their side, whilst what I do in my earnestness to be ‘fair’ and see other sides from experience and maybe personal perspectives too, is suggest they ‘didn’t mean it like that’.  Well, maybe they did!  Or even if not, that is not the need I can fulfil for my loved ones there and then.  To HELP them there and then/


#Respond poorly when I’m challenged and need to be accountable.

This was a big, long standing one for me and I know where it came from.   But still, I’m wasn’t helping the other person when I refute their opinion or their viewpoint.   I am negating their needs and their need to challenge, comment or state their point of view – I don’t (want to) ‘hear’ them!

Professionally, this is big too, because it’s what I do for my clients; ‘hearing’ them and their needs, their expression and their inner feelings in words and body language is what counselling and coaching are about.   But for people not my clients?  Maybe not quite the same patience or response – because I am being personally challenged at that point, I realise, but I have the skills and knowledge, so I should be able to offer it unconditionally especially to my loved ones too!


I cry at lots of things, sad and happy!   From films and songs, stories and pain, others experiences and my own.   It’s part of my make up and generally, I’m ok with that.  But when I cry for someone’s suffering and hardship, but do little else about it – what then?  I empathise but I don’t act …

#Give advice from privilege

Ooh a really BIG one here for my professional life.

Do I do this to clients and family, friends and peers?  Or am I really qualified to help them this way?  Well, yes I am.  But the issue is do I help them with my ‘expertise’ and experience, knowledge and awareness …. whether they want it or not?  Hmmm.  And therein lies the crux of this dilemma for me. But the answer should be no, I don’t unless they WANT my help, in that way!