An emotional caretaker is somebody who looks out for the feelings, needs, and desires of an emotional manipulator. The caretaker defers according to the manipulator’s aims, giving up their plans and even their health and well-being needs. They give in to “keep the peace” only to please the other person—all that with no improvement in their relationship.
Emotional caretakers are usually caring, concerned, generous, and reliable people. They genuinely want to please others, but they can be easily manipulated because they tend to be passive and overly compliant. They often have high levels of guilt and obligation or worry of anger. An emotional caretaker would feel hurt, angry, or depressed themselves instead of having the person they care about experience those emotions. This makes them extremely vulnerable to being taken advantage of or mistreated in relationships with individuals who are highly self-oriented and selfish.
Many caretakers can’t even realize they’re giving up so much of themselves. When they do notice, they might become resentful and angry but they might keep doing it anyway. A caretaker’s personality is for some reason magnetizing to an emotional manipulator. In the beginning, the relationship appears to be wonderful — a person who loves to give and a person who loves to receive. Sadly, too often the receiver wants more and more. While the caretaker secretly wishes that things will balance out in the long run, they’ll never do.
When caretakers are in relationships with partners who respect, value and have positive regard for them, then they get their needs satisfied, and there’s a good balance of giving and taking. Caretakers usually have healthy relationships in their lives. However, in an intimate relationship with a manipulator, an emotional caretaker’s beliefs about giving and caring—along with their fear of anger, hostility, and rejection keeps them virtually hostage. When the caretaker disagrees or desires something different than the manipulator, they usually don’t or can’t stand their ground, set their boundaries, or solve differences as that level of “combat” is out of their range of skills as well as values. They’re at the mercy of a partner whose purpose is to get what they want, no matter who it could hurt.
What’s the cost of being an emotional caretaker while in a manipulative relationship? In most cases, it’s loss of self-esteem, increased anxiety as well as depression; also, a growing sense of hopelessness and helplessness, exhaustion and a sense of emptiness and frustration. Caretakers frequently feel trapped in their relationships because they can’t stand hurting the other person, no matter what that they’ve done.
Instead of reacting, most caretakers respond to danger, anger, and hostility by shutting down. This shutdown process makes their thinking fuzzy, as their muscles tense up, and even heart as well as digestion rates slow down. That reaction can result in physical problems like migraines, indigestion, insomnia, and an overall sense of defeat.
How does someone stop being an emotional caretaker? What’s essential to do is to treat yourself with respect. Value your wants and needs and preferences. Set boundaries that do not allow others to invalidate you and put you down, or ignore what is important to you. Learn to fight and to flee when you are in danger efficiently.
Source : Via