14 pages of commentary
Healers give help to other people. They are kind. They are "nice." They *serve* others. Yet they only give this help when it is *really needed*. This is a distinction that is important to catch-on to, in understanding this type as a whole. You will see below that the personality of this type, the Kind Helper, goes too far in helping others *for the sake of helping alone*. Healers really heal, and they know when to stop. Kind Helpers give help to others whether it is actually needed and wanted or not, even if it weakens the other person.
This is one of the "passive" types because they forego seeking benefits for themselves to provide responsive help to other peoples' needs first. Healers defer to others in need. "Take my share." And they put others ahead of themselves in their giving.
"It is better to give than to receive." In a certain way, the Healer may be seen to be the "most important" of the eight types that are presented in these classes. They have "agape love," "the milk of human kindness," a natural caring for the well-being of their fellow humans. (Note that this is distinct from the "romantic" "tenderness love" of Lovers.) This area contains the strengths and qualities that are built into us which most pertain to the very survival of human beings. This is the area of parenting, nourishment, providing shelter and water, healing the sick, taking care of others when they need to be taken care of--the protective maternal and paternal instincts that manifest, for instance, in taking care of our children and raising them in a safe and healthy way.
The Healer heals whatever needs healing, whether among children or fellow adults, among both the rich and the poor. The Healer is always concerned about departures from the healthy norm. They prescribe healing. And, they like to set a good example in this area. The Healer is very giving. Again, one way you can pick up on them in the crowd with mindful observation and study, is by noticing the people who are obviously *kind* and *helpful*.
The essence of the Healer is friendly, sympathetic, and concerned. The Healer is kindly, generous, cooperative, forgiving, willing to share of what they have, and conforming in ways that contribute to the general well-being. The Healer is *responsible*. And he or she may be known to everyone as the "really nice guy." They "come through for you in a pinch." They will give you their share, if it's really needed. Healers put family first. They cook, mend whatever needs fixing, clean up everything, and tend to all the little things that need to be tended to so that a home is a safe and healthy environment. They make terrific friends.
Although any of the eight types may rise to the occasion when called upon to raise children, with the maternal and paternal instincts that are given to all humans, the Healers are the people who master "the art of parenting." Mr. Rogers is an example of the type that comes to mind. In essence, they enjoy a wholesome life of kinship with others. This is the area where gregariousness is added into the spectrum of human qualities. "It's a lovely day in the neighborhood." We humans hang around together in groups. We provide each other with company. We *make friends*! Healers are the ones who get the family gatherings together, and make the office parties work. They make sure all the food is there and they help with the cleaning-up afterwards. They are the ones who speak up to strangers and welcome outsiders into the fold. They make everyone "feel at home." They are very *friendly*. And a typical Healer loves "match-making," as well. They like to do things for their friends and bring their friends together. That sums it up.
The Healer is the best side of that famous cultural character (found in *all* cultures, and both sexes!), "the Jewish Mother," or "the Hawaiian Auntie"--the image of *giving to the limit*. They can keep ahead on *all* the chores that they do for other people, and see to it that everyone is well-fed and properly bandaged, and that others--not themselves, perhaps--are getting enough rest, as well. But the Kind Helper is "the shadow side" of "the Jewish Mother"--the side that helps *too much*, and interferes. "Have another cup of chicken soup!" In the essence of the Healer, what is given is just right!
This is a common primary type of those who become "team managers," and carry water, ice-bags, towels, stretchers, etc. for those who play out on the field. They are "not good enough to play" (as they say), yet they *do play* a "truly vital part" in the over-all team success. They "forego the 'benefits'" so that others may thrive and be well out there under the lights. This provides a glimpse of the essence of "motherhood," itself.
Similarly, the Healer may forego "getting to be a player" in the outward affairs of life, in order to be a "stay-at-home," or a "stay-on-the-job"--that is, "remain in the background of life"--in order to *be there* to take care of "the players" that are actually going out there more actively into the world, and into the spotlight of society. (The job of Mom and Dad is to be there to prepare us kids to go out into the world.)
This is also a common primary type among nurses and doctors--famed for the long hours and long weeks that they have to *be there* helping their patients to recover and "get back out there into the world," where they can all be "productive" again. This is what Healers are productive of, getting everybody back up onto their feet, and into the game again. This is a common primary type among social workers, and those who work in human services agencies, volunteers who help the poor, and those who work in low-paying clinics of all kinds. They feel a keen responsibility to help others. They attend the PTA, and other meetings where worries are expressed, and they volunteer to help on the committees. People look to them for that!
In group undertakings, Healers are the ones who are seen taking steps to "make it healthy." They are on the watch for things that are unhealthy, and see to it that this is remedied by taking care of it themself, or issuing warnings. They are concerned with safety and promote prudence in not doing things that are dangerous in a careless way. Not only are they good at providing medicine, they are also great for logistical support of all kinds. Healers make the best cooks and caterers. They might risk spoiling people with their treats. And so it is with the many other things they do that provide extra help for other people. The others need to watch out, or they'll get hooked.
Healers are responsible in every way, and will do responsible things that the other types overlook. They are willing to be saddled with extra work this way. They will check and make sure that everything is okay at the office before they leave. They will stay after and do some tidying up, or voluntarily finish things up that should be finished. They will take care of your kids in a pinch. They always *pitch-in with others* where a group of helpers is needed for a collaborative task--from pushing somebody's stalled car, to taking responsibility for getting the collective task force report finished and delivered on time. They are the "last line" that ensures that things *do get done*. Few enterprises would ultimately survive without them. Many families turn to them from time to time.
Healers are the people one can turn to for "brotherhood" and "sisterhood," because they are very familial. Kinship matters very greatly to them. They observe all the traditional holidays and ceremonial gatherings. The opposite of Rebels (who are independent and irresponsible), they are the *joiners* who are responsible. And they bring people together in groups whenever they can. They have the instincts that preserve the gatherings of the clans. This is the area of human *friendship*, the next step for each of us beyond family ties. Healers are the people who make "the best friends" because they are *there for you*, and they are so giving. They will help when you really need it, on top of everything else that they are busy with and have to do. They'll make the time for it!
They have secret recipes and remedies that have been handed down in the family. They have secret information (that they get from being so gregarious). They talk with others a lot. They like to find out about things. They routinely share their secrets to help others. They take polls. They take your temperature. They understand what "normal" is, in every way! They are concerned enough about you to voluntarily help out, if you've got "a temperature." They will step in and help as much as they can without even being asked. (Of course, the subtle trick here is in *not* doing that when it's inappropriate--that is, when it's better done by the person with "a temperature," so to speak, in behalf of their own vital growth process!)
Healers are there for you when you need them. They are good at stepping-in and providing last minute help. This type--male or female--is a great "sub for Mom," so to speak, giving really needed help on the spot to their family, friends, colleagues, and even strangers on the street.
They are prudent, careful, conventional, "normal." They obey the rules, and the law. They don't take unnecessary chances. The Healer is the person who grows up with a conscience, naturally. Although all of us have a share of this in our natural human make-up, conscience is "the specialty" of the Healer. They make sure that conscience is heard about in human affairs. "You shouldn't forget the poor and the needy," they will say. "You should obey the law." And, "You should be forgiven." "You should see that children are protected and brought up carefully." "You should make the water supply safe." "You should brush and floss." "You should look both ways when crossing the street." "You should take care of human life--both your own and that of others."
Although Healers are the specialists in human conscience, all of us may have enough of these traits in our essence that we are sometimes, or perhaps often. kind, generous, and forgiving in these very same ways. One out of eight of us have the Healer/Kind Helper as our chief personality type. About a third of people have this as one of the three primary types that guide their lives for the most part. There's a lot of concern for healing spread around among us humans. Nearly all of us are *capable of* being a good parent, or of being kind, and helping out our fellows when help is really needed.
It may seem strange to students of human behavior here that all of the wonderful strengths and qualities that are described above--Motherhood and all--can be perverted into the maladaptive, trouble-causing behavior of personality. What could be wrong with "a kind helper?" Yet, even being a famous "Ms. or Mr. Nice Guy" can be carried too far, as an ego trip. Taking care of people *too much* can come out as interfering. In others' eyes, a Kind Helper may possibly make "a nuisance" of themself in this way.
But even worse than that, people may put up with it. It seems to be "good" when people keep giving and giving, helping you again and again. That sure seems okay. It's nice! What harm can there be in people being this kind? So I have given the name of "Kind Helper" to this personality type, so that students here will be able to *see it* more easily. That's because this form of conditioned behavior is generally *perceived* in the world as being good!--or, at worst, "harmless." (If I had named this kindly and generous type "the Underminer," it might be hard to associate what I mean by this with what you *seem to be seeing* out there in the world in their overt behavior.)
Kind Helpers are always worrying about things. "Worry, worry, worry!" *And they want other people to worry about the same things that they worry about*!!! "Don't forget to . . ." This is a key in understanding them. Kind Helpers tell other people what to worry about. And they tell them again and again if they don't seem to be paying attention. Kind Helpers can nag. (This is the underlying meaning of "worrying.") They "keep on you" to be careful.
They can be nosy, fussy, over-protective, bothersome, meddlesome, and even *weakening*, by helping too much where it isn't needed. (A person can become weakened, literally, when they ought to be able to learn to do it on their own, and it is done for them repeatedly by somebody else, even though that "kindness" is well-intended!) This is what Kind Helpers have so much difficulty understanding.
In the interest of well-being, health, and safety, Kind Helpers spoil people. They do too much for others. They keep them from testing their own limits, and try to prevent them from taking the risks that these others themselves *know in their hearts* are "worth taking" because they love to do it. Healers are a mitigating force in preventing things that are dangerous; but Kind Helpers are an "undermining" force. They worry all the time, and try to get others to worry, too. "Take care, now." "Don't do anything I wouldn't do." "Here, bring this umbrella, it might rain!" "Don't take chances."
Helping-out can actually become a nuisance when it isn't needed or wanted. One can become regarded by others as "a pest." The automatic "nice guy" we are talking about here takes the healing qualities of the Healer into the realm of automatic, conditioned, and even self-serving behavior. For Kind Helpers have a motive behind all the giving that they are doing: they want to keep the company that they have. They want everybody to be okay and be around to *be their company*! They don't want them to take any risks or chances that might jeopardize that. They want to be sure that they will keep coming back to visit and join in with them and the others again. Kind Helpers can be obsessively worried about others at times when the people they are worrying about are not worrying at all! Again, this comes across as benign behavior, "caring," wanting to assure the well-being of the people around them . . . . yet it is ego, too, and it is their hidden motive for *over-protecting* other people, so they are sure to survive . . . *for them*!
By habitually doing far too much for too many other people, a Kind Helper may become very, very busy. They leave very little time for their own personal use. All the time in their life is taken up by this serial helping that they are doing. They are always running around helping all the people that they feel they *should* help. Note that the term "busy body" refers to this type. "I should have more time for everybody." Being so busy might be one of their daily worries, since they are *always* trying to help as many as they can. "I should help them all, somehow!" At gatherings, they can easily be spotted moving around in the midst of everyone else, busy with things, fussing over people, helping with every little thing, worrying about details, intoducing people to each other, serving. "I'll do it." "Let me get that for you." "Let me do that for you." "I'll help."
The life of a Kind Helper can become a perpetual ride on a treadmill of helping others, while foregoing the life in other directions that they themselves would otherwise be having. This is an important point to understand about this type. Their lives become greatly limited by the allocation of so much time to helping others. They forego the development of their own interests. They defer the enjoyment of the other things that they like to do and are good at, for the sake of "being there" to help other people during so many of the hours of their life. One aspect of this may be the long telephone conversations that they get into, gossiping about other people, and talking for hours in detail about the help that other people "need." If you ask them to tell you about their own life, it is a story of helping one person after another, sometimes in the most incredibly involved or arduous and time-consuming ways.
The characteristic positive emotional feeling of the Healer is friendly love, *agape*, a calm warm feeling in the abdomen, the perceptible sensations of feeling kinship and friendship. The characteristic negative emotional feeling of the Kind Helper is guilt, a bubbling, sometimes slightly nauseous, upset feeling, also in the abdomen, sometimes called "a worrying stomach." The inwardly perceptible sensations of this, which can be experienced directly in mindfulness, are *the actual guilt*, itself.
Guilt is experienced when other people don't have the good things in life that they have. Sitting next to a window in a restaurant they see a hungry child outside pressing their nose to the window looking in at their plate of food, and guilt happens. They lose their appetite. They may feel queasy. Seeing the body of an accident victim in the street, they may grow nauseous. They are left with the good things of life that the other has lost. They are still alive! And they feel guilty.
This compares precisely to the "survivor's guilt" that was widely diagnosed after the Vietnam War. Many soldiers saw their buddies killed or maimed while they came through unscathed. They were able to come back to life at home with their arms and legs intact. These are the ones who suffered this syndrome. "How did my dear buddy, who was such a good person, get hit, and not me?" "How did I 'get away with it?'" "I should have been hit instead!" This uneasy abdominal phenomenon of chronic guilt occurs in a host of situations where one is left with the good life, and others are seen to wind up "without." "How is it that they are going hungry and I have plenty?" "That person's shoes are worn out, and mine are new." "How could those great heroes die, and I be left to live?" "It shouldn't be that way." "How should *I* be spared? "I shouldn't have survived without them." "I should have been able to do something to help them. I feel guilty."
Alfred Adler offered another perspective of guilt that is compelling. Adler said that guilt is a demonstration of good intentions that one does not have, or is unable to exercise. One feels guilty when one isn't willing to help or do something about it, or is prevented by circumstances from helping. "I should . . ." One doesn't stop the car and go back and give the homeless person a buck. One doesn't actually get up and go out to feed the hungry child with the nose pressed against the restaurant window. But there is a price one has paid for it, anyway. One feels guilty. In this sense, guilt is actually "an excuse" not to have to do anything about it! Since one pays the price of feeling guilty, that is allowed to be "enough," without actually helping at all. But in other situations, people *do* "act out of guilt," and convey a great flurry and demonstration of "giving," whether it is really of help, or not.
"Should" is the guilt word. Martyrs use the guilt word to get others to feel guilty for their suffering: "*You* should make me happy." That is very different than what we are looking at here. Kind Helpers use the guilt word because they, themselves, feel guilty. "*I* should . . ." "I shouldn't . . ." "I shouldn't have . . ." It isn't actually a question of "right" or "wrong" for them--as it would be, for instance, with a Judge. It is a matter of feeling guilty, and *obligated* in the circumstance. Yet even with "I shouldn't have done it!" one may feel the pain of guilt, as noted above, and be satisfied that they have "paid enough." *So, guilt can become an excuse to do it all over again*!!!" (So much for expecting a lot of good to come out of it from people feeling guilty!) :-)
It can be noted that there may be "healthy guilt" as well, which can be expressed in the body as nausea. This revulsion arises over one's own *actual serious moral transgressions*. It's healthy for us to be brought to awareness of this when it happens. Some serious "adjustments" may be called for, based on conscience. But the guilt of Kind Helpers isn't healthy guilt. It is guilt that arises out of a mental construction of construed obligation, when one has not actually done anything wrong, other than just to survive. These may be difficult distinctions to make, yet by mindful practice in live situations while remembering this teaching, one can recognize what the differences are.
Kind Helpers are prone to say: "It's on me." "They need me." If others wave off their offer of help, Kind Helpers may say: "They don't realize how much they need me." "They really should be worrying, too." "I should do it anyway for their own good." "I should help them all, anyway, whether they want it or not."
Because they get so over-loaded with all the helping they are doing with these many "nice" habits, Kind Helpers want to cut down on the "need for help" that is created by other people. They worry that people don't look out for their own problems enough, and they take too many careless, or unnecessary chances. "Be careful." "Don't take those risks." They may nag other people about risks that are involved in their lives. "Don't forget to bring a rain coat!" "It's too cold to go skiing." "Getting involved with that person will make you unhappy." "It's dangerous to do that." "You might get sick, or hurt, or get killed." Whenever anything does happen, or go wrong for a relative or friend, Kind Helpers are *always* in a position to say, "I told you so."
Kind-helpers may sometimes need others' well-being out of pure selfishness. They need and depend upon their friendly company. They *need to be needed* by others for the help that they give them. Consider the crisis of "the empty-nest syndrome" which occurs to this type above all. Without constantly playing "the helper," which they have invested so much of their life into, when the kids have moved out they have no life left any more. They need to have the company of others to do their "kind and helpful routine." So they don't want anything bad happening to their friends out in the world. They are persistently *over-protective*. Their friends, of course (or their children, for instance), may not be so worried about the risks that they are taking in their lives. They are cognizant of it, and they may relish it. They may *thrive* on taking those risks--in which case, the worrying interference of Kind Helpers in their lives may come across as "nothing but a darned nuisance." "Leave me alone! It's none of your business!" "I'll take care of it myself!" "Let me make up my own mind!"
But when others are importuned with this worrying, whether warranted or not, they usually don't confront the Kind Helper. "You're a nuisance, do you know that?" No way. For they are glad to have most of the nice things that they provide, and don't want to cut that off! People soon catch on to whatever Kind Helpers habitually worry about the most, and then they just hide that from them. They stop telling them about things, so they won't have to be worried and bother them about it. ("Where did you go?" -- "Out." -- "What did you do?" -- "Nothing.") Kind Helpers get themselves cut out of the news about their friends' and children's lives this way.
And Kind Helpers are the *gossips* of this world! They always want to know what's going on with others, so they can worry about it all. They find out what everybody else is doing, and they tell others about the secrets that they learn. They give gossip about others as examples that will dissuade them from taking the same kinds of chances or breaking the norms in the same ways. "If you do that, the same thing is going to happen to you."
Ironically, since the main goal of Kind Helpers is to have the closeness and companionship of company, their overly extreme efforts to protect others result in those people distancing themselves from them, and hiding who they are. Since Kind Helpers may not be vigorously confronted when others are annoyed by their interference, they are left wondering why certain people stop talking to them about their lives, why they seem to be more withdrawn, or why they stop calling as often as they used to, or even calling at all. Kind Helpers usually have to catch on by themselves that they have been interfering too much in other people's lives.
Gossip is one aspect of *undermining*--which is a general manipulation that Kind Helpers sometimes engage in to protect other people from themselves. Gossip gives support to their worries. "Did you hear about So-and-so?" "Did you hear about what they are doing?" And with gossip "the word gets around." The person they are worried about becomes exposed to others in the "worrysome activities" they are engaging in. They might have to stop because of that, or so the Kind Helper is hoping.
Other members of the gossip circle might give them warnings, too, when they "hear about it." Or the person being gossiped about might restrain themself out of worry that their activities are becoming known. That's all the Kind Helpers are after (although the effects of their gossip may turn out to be more harmful than they realized when they did it). Gossip is indirect undermining. But it is very powerful. It can "get out of hand." It puts out a manipulation that is self-proliferating among others who also begin worrying, and it may go on and on until serious *unanticipated* and even tragic consequences arrive.
Sometimes Kind Helpers will undermine by interfering directly. They may do this by constant nagging, or by feigning serious illness as a manipulative distraction, or--all else failing--by covert sabotage, by secretly messing things up for the other person somehow--depriving them, by self-justified interference, of their own free choices for finding happiness. They find some way to "make trouble" that sabotages the whole thing. Kind Helpers, at their most difficult to relate with, *interfere*! In the utmost extreme, Kind Helpers might even "be forced" to report the person they are worried about (possibly their own child) to the authorities. This is "the good citizen" who does it out of kindness for the other's own good, and because they are worried about the public health and safety. What they were worried about had better be nothing less than homicide! ("What? It was you that got me busted for smoking pot?" " . . . for having an affair?" ". . . for lying to that person?")
The "kindness" of their gesture is usually not much appreciated when it is found out later that they turned them in. Such a move might disrupt the relationship entirely, and possibly forever. (And yet it may be appropriate to report a given person in circumstances that are legitimately extreme and dangerous.) Undermining *might be* warranted. Rarely. Kind Helpers don't understand the confidence that the other types have to take the various characteristic risks that go with their types, because Kind Helpers lack that risk-taking trait *when they are "into being their Kind Helper"*! In passive reaction to their worrying, they may be spring-loaded to interfere. This need to interfere may grip their very cells! They need to wake up on this phenomenon, this impulse. They need to be *very careful here*, on the edge of undermining, before they do it!--beginning with gossiping! They need to soberly determine if their worries *really merit* the possible unexpected consequences of interfering, including the destruction of the other person's happiness. Being mindful would give them a chance at this.
Kind Helpers believe in doing good and being good, and they habitually worry about others who depart from this. To themselves, they are "normal good citizens." Anything else makes their stomachs begin to clutch up. A sense of guilt comes upon them. They think they "should worry!" and they "should do something about it!" They are under a sense of obligation, behaving as if they are seeking redemption by doing the things that they "should" do. But they can't achieve their redemption by depriving other people of their freedom to be happy in their own ways. No matter how they may justify it--given the extent of their worries--their interfering in other people's lives--except when it is actually appropriate--is a function of selfish ego and personality. And "redemption" cannot be earned in the past for whatever they think they owe it for retroactively, but only in the living moments of the present.
Helping people who don't want to be helped, or don't need to be helped only leads to alienation from them. Imposing one's own sense of responsibilities upon others only distracts them from being who they are and wish to be. Interfering out of worries is not agape love. Between "I am not my brother's keeper," and the "I love you" of agape love is a broad territory. One has to discover where one ends and the other begins by careful contemplation. A middle ground can be seen where it drifts over from agape to ego. To be giving all the time, as an automatic habit, adumbrates and obscures the lesson completely. Yet, watchful giving that knows when to stop can only be accomplished by the mindful.
Kind Helpers are not free Healers (who do it only when the occasion calls for it). They are bound helpers who are *forced to* help. They cannot help doing the things they do for others. They *depend* on others to get to be able to do this! This is a subtle point, but valuable to see. They can't stop helping, helping, helping. The person who "is helped," becomes the object of this manipulation, "the victim." (And note, of course, that the other seven types each have their own classical characteristic manipulations, too!--as described in the commentaries on each of them.) Kind Helpers aren't "bad." They just have their own characteristic ways of defeating their own lives.
Kind Helpers are "a soft touch." Some people manipulate Kind Helpers for *undeserved help* (ripping them off because of their weakness for giving help). Kind Helpers are rather easily recognized by those who are shopping for help or a hand-out. Kind Helpers *can't say "no"*! They are the "easiest touches" for pan-handlers and drifters who fix roofs and pound out car dents in your garage. (Yet I have to say God bless these nice guys in their vulnerability! Their charity is endless and they will feed the masses and help all the world's children if they can! They deserve more of life than they take.)
Making so many promises of help and promises of being friendly company with so many other people, Kind Helpers may spread their abilities to help others so thin that they lose the capacity to *really help* anyone where help is *really needed*. "Oh, I'd like to help, but I already promised Mary, and Sam, and Eileen . . ." Here, the promise of true healing which lies in the essence of this type, is totally nullified, and the busy-bodied Kind Helper is no longer capable of real healing or helping anyone any more, as a consequence of their need to compulsively act-out helping everyone.
One of the most severe consequences of this syndrome is that Kind Helpers may tend to spend their entire lives helping others and *ignore* putting their energy into helping their own development in life. They help everybody but themself! They "donate," that is, forego the benefits that might be theirs to take in life. "Don't worry about me. I'll be all right." "No, you go ahead and take the opportunity." "Take my share." "You go. I'll stay home and take care of things." "You move ahead in life. I'll always be here to help." When it is *all* doing for others, the person's own life may become weakened and atrophied. And nobody gets anything out of this "donation," this deferring of their own life. It is simply an outright loss to the donor.
The truth is, as most of their family and friends will tell them, they would all rather have Kind Helpers lay off worrying about their lives, and put *all that energy* into giving good gifts to themselves and having fun. They deserve a *giant payoff* for all of the giving they've done, and everybody around them knows it. But they don't get that "payoff" from the others!--rather, it is by shifting all of that energy into the development of the satisfaction and enjoyment of their own life!
Almost as much as Doormats, Kind Helpers have *great untapped resources* lying dormant yet potential within them, if they can free themselves from so much unnecessary giving to others, and start in developing their own life, instead. The tragedy of this type is that most Kind Helpers will keep postponing this gift to themself until finally, in very old age, when even their great-grandchildren don't *need* them any more, they may finally take an ocean cruise to someplace, or something like that . . . when it's too late to have very much fun any more.
If a Kind Helper would *only* take the energy that he or she puts into giving help that is *not wanted* by the others in their life, and would put that energy into the development of other interests in their own life, they would truly give the gift that all of their friends (and children, etc.) have been waiting to see: and that is the day they stop foregoing their own lives for them, and start being happy and thriving in a full, rich life of their own.
It's my responsibility.
It's my responsibility.