Caring vs. Caretaking: How do we tell the difference?

I was out for a walk and noticed a young couple a few steps ahead, both tall; they had a little boy with them, about two years old, who was running alongside and whining. The two had just bought themselves ice-cream bars on sticks from the kiosk and were licking them with enjoyment. The little boy wanted one, too. His mother said affectionately,
    “Look, you can have a bite of mine, a whole one is too cold for you.”

The child did not want just one bite but held out his hand for the whole ice, which his mother took out of his reach again. He cried in despair, and soon exactly the same thing was repeated with his father:
    “There you are, my pet,” said his father affectionately, “you can have a bite of mine.”

The more the child cried, the more it amused his parents. It made them laugh a lot and they hoped to humor him along with their laughter, too:
    “Look, it isn’t so important, what a fuss you are making.”

– An edited excerpt from “The Drama of the Gifted Child” by Alice Miller (read the whole excerpt)

Hi everyone,

As long as you came from a home where your parents loved you, as an adult, you should be just fine, right?  And for the pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps crowd, even if you were unloved, by golly, if you just put your mind to it, you are going to be just fine anyway.

We actually know, confirmed by plenty of research and common sense, that becoming a healthy, emotionally mature adult, able to manage stress and comfortably relate in caring and intimate ways is far more complicated than that.

Trauma comes in many forms, and developmental trauma can be very subtle.  Many of us would never consider things that happened early in life relevant to present day struggles, let alone qualify as “trauma”. Yet, if only about half of us actually had a “secure attachment” with our parents, it’s not surprising that many of us struggle with stress and relationships, not to mention the difficulty of holding a healthy perspective in the face of a crazy, chaotic world.

Starting in Feb 2012, our next body group series, Caring vs. Caretaking, will explore how we get “hooked” when we hear someone else in distress.  To create a safe, secure space we can accommodate no more than 10 people.  As with all our events, if there is any financial hardship, please get in touch with us.  No one will be turned away for lack of funds.

All details are below and on the website.  We hope you will join us.


Barbara & Anshul
Living Ubuntu
(949) 891-2005

Caring vs. Caretaking

Who am I really helping? Me or you?

Caring vs. Caretaking. Who am I really helping? Me or you?

“Let me take care of you so that I can get out of uncomfortable feelings that get triggered when I hear your distress.”

Living Ubuntu Body Group
February – April 2012
6 sessions on Sunday afternoons (2:00p-4:30p)

Orange County, CA

Starts Sunday, Feb 12th
see all dates »

When we encounter someone in distress, we must decide how to respond.  Sometimes, we are moved by genuine caring and heartfelt compassion to help.

Other times, something else gets activated and we don’t really know what it is.
Am I helping too much?  At the wrong time?  In the wrong way?  For the wrong reasons?

How did we get “hooked” into becoming a care-“taker”?

This Living Ubuntu Body Group series will emphasize body-centered methods to help us get in touch with these experiences, learn to stay more grounded, and help bring change and healing into our wounded and stuck places.

Topics covered:
genuine caring, understanding our “hooks”, healthy limits, reducing anxiety, dealing with guilt

Visit for more information or call (949) 891-2005.

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