Other people and their problems constantly hook her into feeling distraught, worried, and upset.
At the same time, she also gets hooked into trying to fix all of their dilemmas.
The “people hook” centers on two questions:
1. How much do others influence or affect you?
2. How much do you attempt to influence or affect others?
Picture the “people hook” as three overlapping circles.
The middle circle represents you and your efforts to take care of yourself and live your own life.
The left circle symbolizes how much you are influenced or affected by others. The right circle depicts your attempts to impact other people’s lives or change their behaviors.
In healthy relationships, these circles overlap just a little. You care about your friends or family members, so it troubles you when they have a bad time.
You also want to be helpful and kind during their struggles, so you make phone calls, meet them for coffee, and listen to their problems.
Ideally, you are able to share their sadness or show concern, but then return home and take care of yourself. When you maintain healthy boundaries, you set limits on how much you do for others.
You accept that the way people cope with life is their responsibility, not yours. In this picture, you have a solid identity and a clear image of your true self.
But as you get more involved in people’s lives, the circles move inward toward the center. As you fret about your mother or your grown children, you end up taking care of them instead of yourself.
Every new crisis pulls you further into their struggles, causing you to become even more distraught. Whenever you need to escape or get relief from the stress, you reach for something to eat.
Does any of this sound familiar? Watch for the next post when I show how easily people hooks can happen to us, and what to do about it