Category Archives: Addiction

Top tips on how to get unstuck when you find yourself helplessly trapped in addictive or addicted behaviour. Alcohol, nictotine, people pleasing, pornography, work, shopping, gambling.

Book review: Addicted to helping?

“When helping you is hurting me” provides a fascinating read – useful for per wellness for those in the helping/social professions as well as persons experiencing difficulties with assertiveness.

Carmen Renee Berry writes that two powerful (and common) belief systems causes the Messiah Trap.

  1. If I don’t do it nobody else will (grandiosity).
  2. Other people are more important than me (worthlessness).

Combining these two beliefs drives us to outshine others in our helping compulsion. This is a powerfully destructive

Messiahs hurt when they help others. Love is not the motivation for helping: rather inadequacy, powerlessness, obligation, rage. They use other people to work out their own inner pain. They need to feel other people’s pain in order to feel their own. In sum, they do good things for wrong reasons.

She writes that these “messiahs” can come in many different formats: Pleaser, Rescuer, Giver, Counselor, Protector, Teacher, Crusader. They tend to give others what they desperately need to receive themselves.

In a society that worships its heroes, it’s not unlikely that you could be in the Messiah Trap yourself! Have a look at the clues below:

  • Pleaser: Can’t say no to requests
  • Rescuer: Seems to always attract people in crisis
  • Giver: Constantly gives beyond their ability
  • Counsellor: Recruits people who need to talk
  • Protector: Makes choices for people
  • Teacher: Hides behind the adoration of the group
  • Crusader: Gets frustrated when they can’t bring about change at their desired speed

Berry provides useful tools to assist persons to scape the messiah trap including acknowledging that you are caught in the trap, asking for help, and taking the risk of healing.

Take a look in your library or find it on Amazon. The important bit is that it doesn’t stop on your side table: ask for help. Confess your dilemma to a trusted friend or book an appointment with a counsellor. Let’s be part of a society that helps others for the right reasons.