When life becomes a prison of giving


Free E-book: "Be Who You Came To Be"

How to Connect with Your Soul Wisdom and Find Your Purpose, Gifts and Power

a great read!
Join my list! and get more information on how you can connect with your true soul wisdom.
by Estelle Gillingham in Giving too much

Today I want to take a really honest look at what our motivations are when we perpetually give too much. The particular focus I will zoom in on today is the link between over-giving, unresolved trauma and situations where we have been consistently made to feel that other people’s needs and wants are more important than ours, or that it isn’t safe to express our needs and wants. This is a potent cauldron of intermingling causal factors and leads us to try other strategies of gaining love and approval. One of the top choices, especially among children who are already energetically sensitive is: by meeting other people’s needs.

While this may be the only workable strategy available to us as children, in adult life it can be such a deeply engrained habit that we end up in a prison of giving. We can go around for years trying to help other people even when they:

  1. treat us as foolish for wanting to be kind;
  2. don’t really want our help;
  3. are not ready to be helped by anyone;
  4. are taking advantage of our generosity until someone they really want to be with comes along.

When things backfire, we then fall into a second addictive pattern of behaviour: blaming and criticising (both ourselves and others). It’s a world of pain that greater awareness about trauma could help us a) pull ourselves out of in the short term, and b) in the mid to longer term, avoid even getting into.

So to begin with, lets make it clear that helping others is a good thing. In fact it can be a REALLY good thing – IF certain conditions are met. For example, when:

  • the people we are helping actually want us to help;
  • when we are sufficiently empowered and healed to give that help without endangering or depleting ourselves;

And, of course, if our compassion is matched by our access to wisdom and skillful means with which to deliver our help, then we can be of very great assistance indeed.

More commonly though, the impulse to give and to help is very often about our own unmet needs and trying to make up for the love we never received at critical times in our lives. Helping is also often a way of distracting ourselves from:

  • dealing with our own fear and beliefs that we are not worthy of love;
  • healing our unresolved trauma and wounds.

When we give or help for any of these reasons (even though we are so often unconscious of what we are doing), it can be a very addictive and exhausting way to behave. It can also leave the people around us confused and baffled by our reactions and how we behave.

The stakes can be very high emotionally when we are giving from an unhealed place. If we are trying to get our sense of love and value and respect out of giving our help it can feel highly personal and even like a disaster when people don’t react in the way WE want and expect them to. It is a really big deal to us.

We get hurt very easily and have strong and critical thoughts about the people who we think are uncaring, insensitive and ungrateful. And then because most of us have been programmed to think that our behaviour has to match up to some religious or spiritual standard, we are critical of ourselves. We end up back in pain, (and guess what?) believing that despite all our efforts to win others’ love, we are unworthy of it. Yet again, we don’t matter to them enough and we will never receive their love.

Instead of criticizing ourselves it would be better to be honest about what we are feeling. If someone rejects our help, we can try to be honest about what is really happening in that situation. This is no small thing BUT with insight, practice and awareness, it is possible. It also involves honouring and respecting our own needs, learning how to voice these needs and how to give ourselves love.

Lots more information on all those topics coming soon. I hope today’s blog has been useful. Thank you very much for visiting and please do leave a comment below.

Very best wishes,


  1. jayne says:

    Having read this blog on giving too much… I can identify with the points raised… with this awareness we have the choice to heal ourselves. I love the work that Estelle does it is very empowering. Thank you Estelle look forward to working with you again soon!!

    1. Estelle Gillingham says:

      Thank you Jayne. More blogs on this topic coming soon. Looking forward to working with you again too. Let me know if there is anything else you would like me to write about. Very best wishes, Estelle

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Free E-book: "Be Who You Came To Be"

How to Connect with Your Soul Wisdom and Find Your Purpose, Gifts and Power

a great read!
Join my list! and get more information on how you can connect with your true soul wisdom.