Caring About vs Caring For

Some­body on the UUpoly list said some­thing that just hit me in a big way. I’ve nev­er thought about it quite like this before.

There’s a huge dif­fer­ence in car­ing ABOUT some­one, and car­ing FOR some­one. Car­ing FOR— as in tak­ing care of anoth­er adult—them sucks you into code­pen­dent pat­terns. Car­ing ABOUT someone—loving them, being con­cerned about them, want­i­ng to know what’s going on in their lives, being involved in their lives, but allow­ing them to be ful­ly adult peo­ple capa­ble of tak­ing care OF themselves—is much healthier.

Yes, we engage in healthy inter­de­pen­dent rela­tion­ships, where there’s a nat­ur­al give and take with peo­ple car­ing for AND about each oth­er. How­ev­er, if we fall into the “tak­ing care of” mode with oth­er adults, it’s a dan­ger sign. Each adult in a healthy rela­tion­ship is pre­sum­ably capa­ble of tak­ing care of him or her­self, and there should not be any sense of oblig­a­tion or true dependence.

There’s some­thing else there at the edge of artic­u­la­tion for me, about oblig­a­tion vs. com­mit­ment. I’ll just let it bub­ble up when it comes.

Cur­rent Mood: 🤔con­tem­pla­tive
Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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