You love your partner very much. You want to please him at all costs. You will go out of your way to create the perfect life for him by reducing or eliminating all of his stress and pressures of life. What can be wrong with helping people and ensuring that peace and harmony exists wherever you go? Isn’t this the message that religion and virtues teach us as we go through our developmental stages? The nurturer/sabotager wants to ensure that others’ needs are met but goes beyond the point of nurturance and help.

Many people that fall in this personality type grew up in homes where there was emotional and psychological abuse present and adapted by reducing the stress of the abusive parent by any means possible. If the abusive parent were an addict, the child may have modified his or her behavior to match what the addict made known as what was expected. Many children in these situations learn to predict the wants and desires of the others that are never verbalized. The first sign of conflict sends an alert to this personality type that he or she must find ways to diffuse the conflict and create a peaceful situation. The nurturer/sabotager is validated for their efforts by having others confide in them and being reinforced for understanding other’s needs.

For many people with this personality type, they gain a sense of control of people and situations as they develop their peace-making skills. From the time they were children living in abusive and volatile family environments, they learned what social responses reduced the anger and explosive behavior of others in the home. Many times, the nurturer/sabotager needed to utilize lies and deception to create their concept of harmony in environments. They want to help others and possess the need to be needed. They want others to appreciate them and unconsciously place that condition on the relationship.

They need persons to agree with their viewpoints even when these views change to meet the needs of others that demonstrate hurt, frustration or anger. Changing views to meet the needs of others is how the nurturer becomes appreciated and needed. This person tells others what they want to hear to ease their hurt and sorrow. There are times when the nurturer encounters someone that points out his inconsistent views and messages. The nurturer/sabotager’s worst nightmare is to have other’s expose their fabrications and double standards. Instead of the nurturer/sabotager admitting this behavioral flaw, he becomes very defensive and sometimes aggressive due to feeling attacked, betrayed and rejected.

When a person with this personality type feels rejected or unappreciated, he or she can resort to a multitude of behavior responses to sabotage or hurt another person. If this person has a power position in a family or company, he or she will create hardship for the person that is perceived as unappreciative. He may become very critical of the targeted person’s performance and overall behavior. He may place unrealistic expectations on those that pose a threat to his way of managing and controlling situations. The nurturer/sabotager will use different types of sanctions to demonstrate his or her negative feelings. He will continue to sabotage the efforts of those that he finds threatening until they no longer confront his inconsistencies or leave the relationship.

Fortunately and unfortunately, you find many persons in the helping professions with this personality type. Wanting to help others and feel needed are not bad personality traits in of themselves. Persons that fall into this personality type have a dark side surface when people at home, work, or in the community begin to confront the deceptive behavior and conditions that are placed on the relationship. Not everyone with this personality type demonstrates unhealthy relationship patterns. Many people help and nurture others in healthy ways. What determines positive ways to help and nurture other? Being able to make this distinction is critical to improving relationships and finding happiness in relationships.

When evaluating the unhealthy presentation of this personality type, a person needs to assess how he has demonstrated the virtues of love, respect, and honesty. The unhealthy nurturer/sabotager will manipulate the virtue of love to engage others. He will perform any task to alleviate the frustration of others and will offer to help others in any way. His love will come with conditions. The conditions being that others will need him, appreciate his efforts, and accept what he says unconditionally. The unhealthy person with this personality will show little to know respect for others, for he does not want to appreciate the unique talents or opinions of others. He is more interested in having others discover his talents and uniqueness. He wants others to depend on him, rather than presenting views that challenge or promote critical thinking. This person also utilizes lies and deceit to ensure harmony with others that present opposing views.

In this kind of relationship, the truth about people, places, and situations is not kept especially when there may be opposition and debate. This kind of personality trait is reinforced more and more in homes, schools, and communities. Many children are made to accept situations as truth when in fact they may see the situation entirely different. Problem solving skills are developed when opposing views can be presented and synthesized during debate and discussion. This helps to validate the opinion of others and teach respect. Relationships that lack problem solving and critical discussions will lack passion, respect, and honesty. The relationship based upon problem avoidance will have little to no chance to grow and meet the needs of both persons. The relationship will be based upon blind allegiance and little substance.

To move to a healthier state, a person with this personality type must take steps to value the unique qualities of others. They need to begin to inquire about what makes others tick and ask for their opinions about situations that they encounter. Taking time to hear and validate others opens the door to debate and disagreement since each party will have developed a sense of trust and be able to better manage critical feedback and conflict in given situations. The floodgates will be opened to honest communication utilizing “I” statements to convey ownership for thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. For the nurturer, his ability to value others will bring a reciprocated response from others that will meet his core need to feel appreciated and in control. Initially, the nurturer may feel emotionally vulnerable when extending appreciation to others. As he begins to experience better control of relationships to this healthier response, he will discover the power of respect and honesty in relationships. As the nurturer becomes better acclimated towards valuing others, he can better express unconditional acts of love. Love cannot be shared until respect and honesty is present in a relationship.

Author's Bio: 

Jay Krunszyinsky is a Psychiatric Rehabilitation Counselor and Abuse Investigator for the state of Pennsylvania. His core approach to moral issues is broadly that described as 'virtue ethics,' that is, consideration of the chief virtues which contribute to a fulfilled and purposed life. Krunszyinsky holds a master's degree in counseling from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and has worked for numerous human service agencies, counseling families, children, adolescents and adults. Visit his website at Relationship Repair