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Do You Have Broken Bird Syndrome? Be Empathetic with Boundaries

We all want to help other people, but when it starts to detrimentally impact on you, it’s time to stop. Do you have broken bird syndrome?

Broken Bird Syndrome

Do you always fall for the same types of people? Do you get sucked in because they seem like they need a helping hand only to find what they really want is attention? If you constantly try to fix people and put up with their constant onslaught of mistakes, you might be suffering from something called broken bird syndrome.

Empathy is something to cherish. If you meet a person with a high amount of empathy, they are always going to have your back, because they’re sensitive, kind, and understand your feelings like no other. However, if you’re the person with the empathy, you might find yourself falling for the same tricks over and over again.

Let’s be honest, there are countless people out there in this planet of ours that love attention. They crave it, and they do whatever they can to make sure that the spotlight is on them. Most of the time, this means hosting what can only be described as a personal pity party, to get everyone to feel sorry for them.

The problem is, some people are so good at this, it’s hard to tell the fakes from the genuine ones.

[Read: How to stop negative people from sapping your energy]

What is broken bird syndrome?

We all want to help people and spread a little light and positivity. You feel good, too. However, focus your efforts in the right place and don’t simply help every single person who comes your way. The reason? Not everyone is genuine. You can’t change those who don’t want to or can’t change.

If you want to help or change people who are damaged or broken in some way, tread carefully. I’m not trying to be negative here, I’m simply helping you see that there is a line between helping someone who needs it, and constantly seeking out those who need to be helped, or those who appear to be damaged. [Read: How to tell if someone wants to hurt you because they don’t care about you]

You’re not a BandAid, you were not put on this Earth to constantly fix and look after everyone else. A person broken or damaged needs help, yes, but they also need to fix themselves. You cannot fix everyone, in fact, the only person you can fix is yourself.

It damages you because you take your attention away from yourself and your own needs, by highlighting the needs and upset of other people on a constant basis. It sounds negative, I know, but you must get the balance right. [Read: The creepy signs your friend is secretly an energy vampire]

I’m all for helping other people, being someone’s sanctuary, and their light in a tough world, but if that person isn’t helping themselves and shows no sign of attempting to rescue their own future, and simply comes up with things that are wrong for your attention, ask yourself what use your efforts are.

Now, just because you want to help one or two people doesn’t mean that you have broken bird syndrome. This may be an issue for you if you’re constantly drawn to damaged people. By allowing yourself to be attracted in this way, you put yourself firmly in the path of potential heartache. Not everyone wants to change. Some people enjoy being damaged in their own way.

[Read: 16 clear signs your friend is a real attention whore]

How can you stop yourself falling for the same old tricks?

If you want to escape the clutches of broken bird syndrome, admit that this is a problem for you. Look back over your life’s experiences. Work out whether you are always being attracted or drawn to the same types. Then identify whether it ends the same way. If it does, the chances are you’re suffering from broken bird syndrome.

You must understand why this isn’t a good thing. It can be hard for naturally empathetic people to grasp why broken bird syndrome can be a negative trait. At the very core of it, you’re trying to help others. How can it be bad? Because you’re helping the wrong people. You’re helping those who don’t want to be helped or fixed. [Read: A narcissist and an empath and why they’re the worst ever match you can imagine]

Focus your attention on yourself

Again, this is hard too. You might feel that looking after yourself is selfish. It isn’t, it’s a necessity. Realize that if someone wants your help, they will ask for it. If they don’t, and you feel that they’re really struggling, there is only so much you can do. Those with broken bird syndrome often don’t grasp the idea that self help is as effective as the help you gain from outside. You should be met halfway.

There is nothing selfish about putting yourself first and avoiding the company of those who drain you of your energy. You’ll know when you’re around someone like this. It will feel like the life is being sucked out of you. These people are often called ‘energy vampires’ or a ‘mood hooverer.’ They’re particularly damaging to highly sensitive or empathic people. [Read: Why it’s so important to surround yourself with positive people]

Don’t fix people who show you they don’t want to be fixed. Don’t give advice that clearly isn’t needed or wanted, and only give your support when you see positive signs that they are encouraging you to do so.

Look beyond the problem. Ask yourself whether this person is genuinely someone you want to be around, or whether you’re simply attracted to the damage that radiates from their aura.

[Read: 20 glaring signs you have a control freak in you]

Are they genuinely seeking help?

A good way to identify whether someone is genuine is to avoid giving them direct advice on their problem. Instead, give them alternative options, i.e. change the conversation towards something more positive. If this doesn’t work and they always turn it back around to their pity party, suggest that they might need help. See how that goes down. If they reject you or seem hurt by your “lack of interest,” they’re someone who loves the attention.

However, if they take you up on your offer and advice, encourage them a little more. [Read: How to help someone up when they’re down and depressed]

Learn to trust your instincts and not simply assuming everyone who appears damaged is genuine. You weren’t put on the planet to help everyone. Yes, we should all help those who need it, of course. But, if you constantly seek out those who are dripping in negativity, you’ll find yourself trapped in the same toxic cycle for the rest of your life.

Avoid it at all costs! This is someone who will drag you down and make you feel like your life is just as negative as theirs. If someone genuinely wants help, they’ll accept it over time and show signs of encouragement. If someone simply likes the attention, the cycle will continue.

[Read: The white knight syndrome: Get off your horse and save yourself first]

Broken bird syndrome is the unwavering desire to fix those who appear damaged or troubled. Remember, you cannot fix another person, you can only give them advice. It’s up to them to change.

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Nicky Curtis
Nicky Curtis
Having stumbled from one relationship drama to another throughout her 20s, Nicky is now somewhat of a guru in the crazy world of life and love. Telling it how i...
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