How To Help Others Without Hurting Yourself

Jul 29th, 2010 | By | Category: All Posts, Steps Toward Healing

by Christina Enevoldsen & Patty Hite

Do you give more time to other’s healing than you give to your own? Are you so tired from reaching out to fellow survivors that you don’t take care of yourself? Join Christina Enevoldsen and Patty Hite for this ten minute audio discussion as they share “How To Help Others Without Hurting Yourself.”

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As a survivor of emotional, physical and sexual abuse, Patty Hite has been tenaciously pursuing her healing for over thirty years. She’s a passionate advocate for all survivors and dedicates her life to inspiring emotional wholeness in others.  As a former victim of spousal abuse, she’s delighted to find true love with her husband of ­­­­five years. She’s blessed with four children and five grandchildren.
Christina Enevoldsen

I’m Christina Enevoldsen and I’m the cofounder of Overcoming Sexual Abuse and the author of The Rescued Soul: The Writing Journey for the Healing of Incest and Family Betrayal. My passion is exploring new ways to express my empowered new life. I’ve recently discovered the joy of waterslides, the delightful scented lotion from Bath & Body Works, “Dark Kiss” and hosting princess tea parties for my granddaughters. My husband and I live in Scottsdale, Arizona and share three children and six grandchildren.

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  1. This is so where i have spent my life… trying to help others when i was the one hurting. the more i hurt the more i would turn to others. the more i would try to ‘earn’ them caring about or for me. i even have music that i listen to when i am trying to recover from ‘that mood’, but it only reinforces it…

    this is where i have been stuck for years. or, maybe, i just keep falling back into this phase. not sure, but it has sucked so much out of me; i have wasted so many years and so much effort that i feel like i will never make it past this. i am too exhausted and too old to be able or even worth trying to fix myself.

  2. Ha Teme,
    I completely understand your struggle. I was caught in that same cycle. I didn’t think I could care for myself, so I cared for others in the hopes that they would take care of me. I was always disappointed and felt used and exhausted by my efforts. The abuse taught me that I had no value apart from ‘doing’ for others, and I was trapped in the child-like thinking that I was incapable of being responsible for myself. Those two combined lies kept me trapped. As I’ve confronted those lies and realized how valuable I am just because I exist and how empowered I am, I’ve escaped the bondage of that unhealthy cycle. You can too!
    Hugs, Christina

  3. We who have survived sometimes feel like failures
    or cast offs or second class people from time to time.

    But I say that we are the heroes of life. We did not quit
    or turn away from hope and faith. We have never stopped healing
    or helping others to do so. We contributed to the lives of others
    in spite of our pain. We loved even when we felt no love.
    Yes, you are a hero! Not will be but you are!

  4. Robert,
    That’s so true. I didn’t think I had any value so I tried to earn it by helping people. But I’ve discovered that I’m not a failure or a second-class citizen and that gives me the ability to be so much more helpful than I ever was before. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I am and overcomer and survivor of childhood and adult abuse. Recently, I met a man, moved in with him, and am engaged to marry him. The problem is, he is also an adult child of abuse and mildly retarded. Last night, he got in my 11 year old’s face, told her he didn’t care if he intimidated her, but she was not allowed to plug her ears or leave the room when he yells, and if she does leave the room she should NOT COME OUT of her room. He was scaring ME so I can imagine how she was feeling. He is scared of my leaving him, but if all the counseling and help we are seeking does not work, I WILL LEAVE. I spent 23 years with a narcissistic spouse, divorced him, and WILL NOT go through this or similar things again! PERIOD! I am also a counselor myself, soon to get a Bachelor degree in child psychology. Any advice, help, prayers are appreciated! I am so tired of going from relationship to relationship, he is willing to work on his issues, but I WILL NOT allow myself or daughter to be abused while he does. He also recently began Prozac and I am wondering if this is causing a problem too, but the doctor told us he has to stay on it for a while. He has bad dreams about being abused too! please anyone, HELP!

  6. Laura,
    What he did to your daughter was abuse. Abuse is about power and control and he asserted it over your daughter. Even you were scared. A lot of people discount verbal and psychological abuse, but it’s just as damaging as if he beat her. He did beat her spirit. He doesn’t care if he intimidates her? He WANTS to intimidate her.

    You said you could imagine what your daughter was feeling. Do you know? Did you talk to her about it? She was abused and needs support. But part of support is protection. You’re the only one who can do that. She’s defenseless against more abuse unless you intervene.

    Children need to be able to trust and rely on their parents. Your daughter has already seen that she can’t count on her future step-father to protect her. What will your actions tell her about you?


  7. Laura,

    I was in an abusive relationship and I wish I could go back and change the effects it had on my children, as well as myself. There were many warning signs and I made excuses for them and eventually denied them. But that didn’t help my children. It sounds as tho you may be making excuses for his behavior because he was abused too. It’s easy to do that, because we know the struggle we went thru, and it’s easy to understand other abuse victims behavior. But, in reality, there is NO EXCUSE FOR ABUSE. He is abusing you and your child. To even have him around your child at this time, is taking chances of her being abused even more. She has no power to stop it, and he is making it impossible for her to deal with it. She isn’t allowed to walk away? She isn’t allowed to cover her ears?
    This brings back so many memories of how I stood by and allowed my children to be emotionally abused and because of that, their lack of trust in me of not protecting them, set them up for years of sexual abuse from another abuser. They could not come to me. They could not tell me, because I didn’t protect them from the emotional abuse, why would they think I would protect them from the sexual?

    You are in a crossroad of decision making right now. And my heart is that you think about this……. “The decisions you make today, effect your (and your daughter) tomorrow. It doesn’t go away. The fear she is feeling right now, does not go away. The helplessness she is feeling right now, does not go away.

    As far as his therapy and being on prozac and having bad dreams? What about the therapy your daughter will need, the medication she may need and the bad dreams she will more than likely have?

    I would stop making excuses for his behavior and give yourself the excuse to take your daughter out of this relationship. And continue to get help for yourself. You are being re-victimized and have settled for the abuse world which feels comfortable to you. It’s a place you are familiar with and many of us fall back into it. But there is help and we can get free of that thru healing ourselves from the effects of the abusive world. Stop the madness Laura. For you and for your child. You can do it!!! There are wonderful people out there who don’t abuse and who will cherish you and your child. You are both worth it.

    We have a wonderful support group on Facebook with many other Survivors who can be a support to you while you are on this journey of getting free. There is hope and there are many who care.

  8. Patty, I wish so much someone would have given my mother the wonderful, crucial, and excellent
    advice you just gave Laura. I’m 43 and still in horrible physical and emotional pain
    from what my mother allowed my stepfather to say and do to me.
    I finally decided a few years ago that I feel unsafe with her in my life
    and the lives of my beautiful twin boys. Laura, I hope you are reading this. Please
    Please listen to Patty’s advice. No one should ever be allowed to intimidate your
    child if you can help it. The most important person in your daughter’s life is you,
    and she should be your utmost priority.
    Patty, again, your advice is so validating to me. Thank you ands warm hugs!

  9. Rachel,

    Thank you for your words of encouragement. I’m sorry that you can’t trust your mother, but I understand. It is sad that we have to protect our children from family, but I would rather my kids miss their family, then to be abused and have to fight off the lies they believed as children.

    Thank you for validating what I said. It means a lot to know that what we share has a positive effect. ((hug)) Patty

  10. I think I missed this discussion, but I’ve been working on trying to find the delicate balance between helping myself and taking care of others.

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