One of the major dysfunctional characteristics I have is caretaking (also known as Mother Hen). An old friend used to call me the Earth Mother - which he meant as a compliment. In small amounts perhaps it is a good thing. I'm a fabulous problem solver. It's a talent and I've developed it over the years. I've been paid good money in jobs for this well-developed talent. However, when foisted upon unsuspecting folks, it's annoying. If you tell me about a problem, I will give you all the solutions I can think of on the spot. Of course, if you didn't ask me for them and were only making conversation, well.... I've thought about this a lot and wondered why people some times love my problem-solving and sometimes don't.
I've come to the conclusion that being a mother hen is really about TWO things: 1) I do something to help you and you don't have to do anything. For example, you tell me about your money problems and I give you enough money to make them go away, or 2) I give you all the information I have on how to solve money problems but you have to actually do the work. I would be willing to help but most of it has to be done by you. Guess which one of these things is most welcome to people telling me their troubles? The first one makes them feel nurtured (the Earth Mother) but the second one demands that they grow up and take responsibility. Oh dear!
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