Helper Syndrome – Why The Addiction To Helping Can Harm Us

Helper syndrome is an addiction to helping that can harm us. It’s an addiction to putting others before ourselves and not taking care of our own needs. Helper syndrome can lead to burnout, depression, and anxiety. It’s important to take care of ourselves so that we can take care of others.

People with impostor syndrome help others to an excessive degree – until it harms them and becomes an outright addiction.

Helper Syndrome – When helping becomes an addiction


Helper Syndrome is a condition where people develop an addiction to being helpful. They may compulsively offer help to others, even when it is not needed or wanted. People with helper syndrome may feel a strong need to help others, even when it is not in their best interest. This can lead to problems in personal relationships, as others may not feel appreciated or respected.Helper syndrome can be a difficult condition to live with, as it can lead to feelings of guilt and anxiety. There is no known cure for helper syndrome, but treatment can help people manage the symptoms.

Helpfulness is a virtue, helping is an act of charity – that’s how most of us have been taught. But what if your own willingness to help makes you feel worse and worse? If this is the case, one speaks of helper syndrome. Affected people help other people to the extent that they themselves experience negative consequences from their help. The term helper syndrome was coined by the Munich psychoanalyst Wolfgang Schmidbauer, who first dealt with the phenomenon in the 1970s. In his 1977 book The Helpless Helpers, he first mentioned helper syndrome as a “combination of characteristic personality traits that make social help a rigid way of life at the expense of one’s own development.” The helper syndrome is not a scientifically recognized diagnosis. In this context, psychology and psychotherapy speak of altruistic assignment, but the consequences for those affected remain the same.

More on psychological phenomena:

  • – Do you know these phenomena?
  • : How to overcome the impostor phenomenon
  • Do you find it difficult to make decisions? Maybe you suffer from the phenomenon

Victims of helper syndrome find it difficult to refuse the requests of others, rather they offer their help of their own accord or even impose it on others – even if it is not useful or even counterproductive. The phenomenon also makes it more difficult for them to communicate their own needs and express clear wishes. If they do want to ask for help, they often do so by formulating reproaches against those around them: “I’ve done so much for you – and is that how I’m thanked?” Even when the other person doesn’t show any gratitude and their willingness to help is beginning to weigh on them, people with helper syndrome can’t turn off the urge to help. But why? Those affected usually do not act for altruistic reasons, but rather help to meet their own needs for recognition and belonging. How does this happen?

People in so-called helper professions are often affected by the helper syndrome

There is no one-size-fits-all definition for “helper syndrome,” but the syndrome is broadly defined as a mental health condition that affects people who provide care and support to others. People who work in helper professions are often affected by the syndrome because of the unique and challenging work that they do. The helper syndrome can manifest in a number of ways, including feelings of isolation, low self-esteem, and depression.

Because the helper syndrome is so pervasive and affects so many people who provide care and support to others, it is important to recognize and address it early on. There are a number of resources available to help workers who are affected by the syndrome, including counseling and therapy. It is also important to have a support system in place, including family and friends, to help buffer the worker from the challenges of the job.

According to Wolfgang Schmidbauer, people in particular who did not experience enough love and recognition in their childhood want to help others at any price. Even in adulthood, they only consider themselves lovable when they help other people. In this way, help that should actually be unconditional becomes a commodity in a barter. The psychoanalyst assumes that people who experienced love in their childhood primarily because of their willingness to help later specifically choose professions in which they can fully immerse themselves in their role as helpers. This is particularly true for social and helping professions. Schmidbauer cites doctors as a prime example, but also attests professional groups such as nurses, social workers, teachers, educators and psychologists the status of a helper profession and thus an increased likelihood of the helper syndrome.

Where are the boundaries between empathetic helpfulness and the helper syndrome?

There is no definitive answer to this question, as the boundaries between empathetic helpfulness and the helper syndrome are often blurry. However, some key points to consider might include the following:

-Empathy is usually characterized by a feeling of understanding and care for another person.

-The helper syndrome, on the other hand, is a term used to describe a pattern of behavior in which a person becomes excessively involved in the lives of others, often to the point of becoming a burden or a nuisance.

-While it is important to be empathetic and care for others, it is also important to be careful not to go too far and become a helper syndrome victim oneself. This can be difficult to do, as it can be difficult to know when you are crossing the line.

-The key to avoiding the helper syndrome is to be aware of the boundaries between being helpful and being too helpful. If you are feeling overwhelmed by the needs of the person you are helping, it is probably best to back off and let them take care of themselves.

Of course, helping others is fundamentally a positive thing and doesn’t have to have anything to do with low self-esteem per se. Not every person who is helpful also takes on the compulsive role of hero and helper. However, there are signs that help distinguish helper syndrome from friendly helpfulness.

People affected by helper syndrome…

  • do not act out of altruistic motives or out of charity, but out of their own need to be recognized and valued
  • often have low self-esteem, which they want to boost through their role as helpers, in which they fully immerse themselves
  • have deeply internalized beliefs such as “I am a good person because I help others” or “I am valuable because I save others”.
  • have often learned in childhood their behavior patterns and beliefs that they are only lovable if they help other people
  • offer their help even when it is unnecessary or even counterproductive
  • cannot stop helping even when asked and it harms them
  • are usually unable to ask for or accept help themselves
  • formulate wishes – if at all – often as reproaches

“You can’t stand it forever”

You can’t stand it forever is a song by American rock band The Black Keys. The song was released as the second single from their third album El Camino (2011). The song was written by Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney, and produced by them and Danger Mouse.

The excessive urge to help other people can make you ill. According to Schmidbauer, the burnout of the helper is often the result of a helper syndrome. Feelings of guilt, shame and depression can also arise as a result of helper syndrome. “The helpers lose consciousness of themselves and their own needs because they only focus on the needs of the people entrusted to them. And you can’t stand that in the long run,” says psychotherapist Thea Bauriedl in the ZEIT interview about addiction to constantly help others. Schmidberger is convinced that structural problems in helper professions only encourage the emergence and persistence of the helper syndrome. In no professional group is the need for help played down and suppressed as sustainably as in that which offers helpfulness as a service.

This can be done against helper syndrome

Helper syndrome is a condition where a person feels excessively responsible for others. They may feel like they need to protect and help their friends and family members at all costs. This can be very damaging for both the individual and those around them. It can create a sense of isolation and contribute to feelings of guilt and confusion. To overcome helper syndrome, individuals need to learn toDEPEND on themselves and trust their own judgement. They also need to develop healthy relationships with others, in which they can share their own feelings and needs without feeling obligated.

What should you do if you realize that you may be suffering from helper syndrome yourself and are actually sacrificing yourself for those around you out of a deep desire for recognition? The first and at the same time most difficult step is to admit that you are not as selfless as you would like to see yourself and that you are rather acting out of a certain selfishness. In order to gradually dismantle the role of hero and helper that one so often slips into, one must first recognize that one’s own help is not always necessary and is sometimes even counterproductive for the people around one. If you want to get rid of helper syndrome, you have to get used to the idea of ​​saying “no”, setting boundaries and respecting both your own boundaries and those of those around you. However, the central problem for people with helper syndrome is low self-esteem, which should be worked on – psychologists or psychotherapists can help with this.

More topics:

”What is the helper syndrome?”

Addiction to “giving to others” occurs when helpers use their care-giving skills as the major method for meeting their own mental, emotional and even physical needs. Addiction is likely to occur if the professional holds certain beliefs. Such beliefs are usually made at an early age while we are in our primary family.

The “helper syndrome” is a condition in which people excessively provide assistance to others without being asked. This can manifest as a sense of obligation to help, a desire to be helpful, or a feeling that one’s help is needed. People with the helper syndrome may become overcommitted or overextended, and may find it difficult to take time for themselves.

How does substance abuse affect you socially?

Social Effects of Substance Use Disorders Other social problems associated with SUDs include housing instability, homelessness, criminal behaviors (victim or perpetrator) and incarceration, the transmission of HIV due to IV drug use or high-risk sexual behaviors, and unemployment or dependence on welfare.

Substance abuse can have a big impact on social life. People who abuse substances may have trouble interacting with others or may be withdrawn and isolate themselves. This can make it difficult to maintain friendships or relationships, and can lead to a decrease in social activity. Substance abusers may also have trouble holding down jobs or completing schoolwork, which can also lead to a decrease in social activity.

What does the disease of addiction mean to me?

The disease of addiction is a chronic brain illness that causes those suffering from it to drink or take drugs despite the horrible consequences. Long ago, addiction was thought of as a compulsion and a series of bad choices.

Addiction is a disease that affects a person’s ability to resist urges to use drugs or alcohol. It is a chronic problem that can be extremely difficult to overcome. Addiction can lead to a life of addiction and poverty. I believe that addiction is a disease that should be taken seriously. I know that addiction can be difficult to overcome, but I am determined to fight it. I know that addiction is a disease that can be treated and that there is hope. I know that addiction is a disease that should be treated as a priority and that everyone should be aware of the dangers of addiction.

How does addiction affect the brain?

In a person who becomes addicted, brain receptors become overwhelmed. The brain responds by producing less dopamine or eliminating dopamine receptors—an adaptation similar to turning the volume down on a loudspeaker when noise becomes too loud.

Addiction can have a devastating effect on the brain. It can cause changes in the way the brain functions, leading to problems with memory, focus, and decision-making. Addiction also alters the way the brain responds to drugs and other substances. This can lead to cravings and a need for more and more of the substance, even in the face of negative consequences. As addiction grows, it can become difficult to stop using even when it’s causing serious harm to the individual and to those around them.

What is a helper in psychology?

Helper theory or the helper therapy principle was first described by Frank Riessman (1965) in an article published in the journal Social Work. The principle suggests that when an individual (the “helper”) provides assistance to another person, the helper may benefit.

Helper refers to any person or thing that assists someone in completing a task. Psychologists typically use the term helper to refer to people who provide emotional support and assistance during a psychological treatment or intervention. In some cases, helpers may also provide practical support, such as transporting people to therapy sessions or helping them with household tasks.

Helper roles can vary from individual to individual, depending on the person’s needs and preferences. Some helpers may be volunteers who are not compensated for their services, while others may be paid professionals who are assigned to work with a particular client or group. Regardless of the helper’s role, it is important to consider the individual’s needs and preferences when selecting someone to provide support.

Helpers provide a valuable resource for those who are seeking assistance during a difficult time. By providing support and assistance, helpers can help to reduce the burden that may be felt by the individual receiving treatment.