Caretaker Tendencies

I had a client tell me she was working to control her “caretaker tendencies”.  I thought that was  great way to put it.

Do you have caretaker tendencies?  How do you think this shows up in a chart? Is there more than one type of “caretaker”, the way commitment-phobia comes in different flavors?

Are you are caretaker? A reformed caretaker?

If you are a reformed caretaker, how did you overcome your tendencies?

And what about professional caretakers? Do you think this is a good outlet for a person like this?

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Caretaker Tendencies — 27 Comments

  1. Yup. 4th House Sun, Venus on the cusp of the 6th, Moon conjunct Jupiter in the 12th.

    I think it’s best to be matched up with other folks who appreciate your caretaker tendencies in a healthy way and for you to express those tendencies in a healthy way.

    I struggle with that.

  2. Yes, I have caretaker tendencies for sure, and for me, it was important to learn to establish boundaries in that regard. Saturn’s transit through Libra was very helpful (and excruciating) in that regard.

  3. I had to be slammed over the head with complete and utter physical exhaustion.

    Cancer moon sextiles jupiter in virgo: ouch! Take on too much. Venus in cancer squares self sacrificing neptune in libra, and venus semi squares sun (squares seem to need resolution?).

    I ran into a male acquaintence last night. He had a really rough week and my natural tendency was to cradle him in my arms. It’ll be okay baby, but I realize that was really addicting to the men in my life. It works and yes I can do it but it will wear me out. It’s just not enough for me (How many mothers have said that?).

    I am better off sticking to being friends (libra in the 11th). It’s so weird. My new neighbors got a couple of goats. They are small, could be pygmies, not sure. So I am out working in my yard and when I hear their bleating cries I notice my proverbial mother’s milk starting to flow. It’s just that simple.

  4. I have a natal moon saturn sesqui that might point to the trouble I’ve gotten into caring too much. Because let’s face it, the takers can spot me a mile away and know all about how to play it.

  5. Yes, I do/did. I am reformed. Well…kind of. It’s hard to get rid of it entirely. Heavy Chiron in my chart! Wounded healer, indeed.

    I overcame it by realizing I was taking care of others to fill a gap in my own heart.

    First you have to understand your motivation.

    Then you have to identify the pattern of behaviour that accompanies the motivation.

    Then you have to change the pattern. It doesn’t matter how the change is done. Do something small if you have to. Don’t pick up the phone for once. Listen instead of talking. Asking for someone else to take the lead. It is very subtle energy–it doesn’t take much.

    You must understand your motivation first (this can be the step that actually takes the longest).

    I wanted to be a nurse, until I had to spend an extended period of time at hospital with a loved one. I am highly influenced by the physical space I’m in (busy 4th House/IC/Chiron) and the reality of spending 12 hour days in that atmosphere was this: I like being outside, not cooped up in the 12th House.

  6. Neptune rising is what I always associated with my extreme caretaking tendencies. I also totally exhausted myself by doing this. It’s weird little addiction that can stay pretty hidden until your mid thirties when your body crashes–I know a few other people like this.

    For me paired with a lot of Sag which keeps me . . .cheery and on the move and hard to bog down . . .and a lot of Leo which always supplied an energy source to be generous from–I just ALWAYS did caretaking. My job in kindergarten, as I saw it, was to take care of the poor girl who came in crying every day. I had enough resources (school work was not a challenge) that I could really just give and give, it was the obvious thing to do.

    It’s why now in my early 40s, it’s so clear: NO KIDS FOR ME THIS LIFETIME. I’ve had to work and work and work to NOT be a caretaker. To work on the Saturn energy. I study and emulate my Capricorn friends (and my double Capricorn mom): they both have told me they wake up in the morning thinking: WHAT DO I NEED?

    Hahahaha! I would NEVER have thought something like that without a total physical breakdown and a lot of therapy, years of it!

  7. Oh yeah! Also–Taurus moon–where it’s exalted–natural mothering tendencies. And south node in Cancer . . . .

  8. I was interested @Kashmiri that you mentioned listening instead of talking as a way of conquering your caretaker tendencies. I had not thought of that before as a way of caring by talking and listening as being non-interactive/non-sharing/impersonal?? I had always thought of listening in a different way.

  9. Through my work, I’ve met a lot of people (e.g. nurses) who say ‘I’ve cared for other people all my life. Now when I need help, there’s no-one there for me’. I think there’s a lesson in that, around awareness of why we do what we do, and how we do it.

  10. I have a 4th house Capricorn Sun and Chiron at 28′ Pisces in an out-of-sign conjunction to my moon at 0′ Aries. I had a caretaker personality from a very early age. My mother would complain to her friends, “She thinks she’s the mother!” although I really was just a kid who wanted to be a kid, but had younger sisters who needed to be looked after. When I got married, the Universe conspired to bounce me across the continent several times. So I racked up big long-distance bills and sent home money/encouraging letters/herbal tinctures or whatever else I could help with. Having my own kids was a wake-up call for me; when I had one of my sisters crying to me over the phone and my baby daughter crying in my lap, I knew I had to change! I ask myself regularly, “Is this mine to do?” And often there is someone else who can offer much better assistance than I could have. And wow–the earth doesn’t stop turning because I said no!

  11. My mom is one. She’s considered a saint in our family. It’s in her personal life and not in her professional life. Professionally she’s done technical assembly and delivery driving. Personally she helped raise her siblings, feeds my dad, raised 3 of her own kids and stays close to her mother, nieces and nephews and siblings. She also listens to a few friends who have problems.

  12. Lynn, what I was thinking of in relation to breaking a pattern–especially if a caretaker-type person is apt to jump in with ideas of how to fix a problem–sometimes the person who requires care is hoping to meet their own needs.

    So if your pattern as a caregiver is to jump in and offer a magic solution ‘hey, I can look after your kids that day/pick up your mother from the airport/lend you money I can’t really afford to’…you simply listen to the person talking about the details of their own life. And you don’t say a word,
    because chances are if your pattern is to jump in with a magic solution, your pattern also involves being drained. At least that is my experience. I have learned to wait until asked, basically.

  13. Moon in the 6th house and a 12th house Virgo sun – yep my life is all about service. My work is very service oriented and I love it – it’s who am I. But this service orientation really bites me in the butt in relationships. I’m a magnet for men who are hurting in some way. So I need a little reformation :-).

  14. Sun, Venus, Pluto in Virgo, Pisces Rising…caretaking til’ it hurts, guilty. I caught onto my own “auto-pilot” tendencies a few years ago and it occurred to me that a)essentially I was a doormat in relationships b)I always attracted the most juvenile men and c)it was a way of unwittingly keeping intimacy at bay. This kind of “service/caretaking” is a removed position for me. I thought I was being loving but it really is not an intimate love. I NEVER even considered that I had needs because yes it does feel good to be helpful but there is something else I need here. It came to the point that I was so starved that I had no choice but to look at my pattern. I would also say there is a certain amount of control/fear involved when you are always in this position. I imagine because it keeps one “removed”, somewhat untouchable, if you know what I mean. So, basically I changed out of sheer necessity; I was dying inside. If you are always giving and never receiving there is an obvious imbalance that results and then all the accompanying feelings…resentment, feeling overwhelmed, loneliness, etc. get attributed to other things except the real issue. You never think that taking care of others could be a negative but if you overdue it, just like anything, it will bite you in the ass. So this is where my big lesson in boundaries and balance came into play and even though sometimes it’s difficult for me to ask for what I need, I know that I must or there will be serious emotional repercussions for me. I know that my drinking problem was directly related to this. I was stuffing/drowning my needs which had really turned into a hunger and man was it painful.

  15. I would just like to add…(because it wasn’t long enough 😉 that I can see where my fear of needing something was really the fear of what if I get what I need from you and then you take it away, or use it against me or just plain go away. Then what? If I let you get too close by giving me something that I need then you have the power to hurt me by taking it away. So if I just get my “high” from being of use to you then I’ll live on those scraps and stay safe. Yeh~ that shit doesn’t work. Gotta change the game plan.

  16. Strong 12th house & Scorpio emphasis, so I was the only one in my family who had the emotional strength and courage and stamina to deal with my father’s death and dying last year. The same is expected of me in my mother’s death any dying; none of my siblings can cope with death, but my Scorpio/12 gives me that ability.

    It feels like a wonderful capacity — until it is taken advantage of and not appreciated or acknowledged or even seen, but invisible. When that happens, all my empathy shatters into resentment and anger.

    As I see it, the problem is much larger and external and not only, or even, an inner personal problem. I worry about trying to ‘get over’ our caretaking and lessen it in ourselves or label it as a problem in us as a sort of ‘blaming the caretaker’ syndrome (like blaming the victim).

    A LACK of caring is a problem in our society. We need a MORE caring society. We need to VALUE caretakers of all kinds in our society, and in concrete, material ways, like paying those in caretaking professions, like elementary school teachers and nurses, more than those who exploit others (large corporations).

    Creating a more caring society is what the Grand Water Trine and Jupiter in Cancer give us a great big cosmic nudge to do. So let’s seize the cosmic moment, here, and use all this water energy this summer, and the year long Jupiter in Cancer transit, to expand (Jupiter) caring (Cancer) in our society and in the world.

    Saturn in Scorpio & Pluto-Cap mutual reception helps here, too: get real (Cap/Saturn) about creating new societal institutions (Cap) that elevate (Jupiter) caring for each other (Cancer) and compassion (Neptune) for us all in this beautiful living biosphere, that is in so much dire trouble, together as one (Pisces).

    Toward that end: Check out Riane Eisler’s work on Caring Economics and Nel Noddings who co-developed “Care Theory,” the least appreciated feminist idea there is. In fact, Kashmiri’s advice is a near perfect example of a Caring Dialogue as developed by Noddings.

  17. “It came to the point that I was so starved that I had no choice but to look at my pattern. I would also say there is a certain amount of control/fear involved when you are always in this position.”

    Same here. And I agree completely, about the control/fear angle.

  18. I was trained not to think of myself, in a lot of ways. My mother was so sick when we were kids. She is a Narcissist.

    You tell her you need something, her response was ‘what about me?’ I mean, you hear that enough and you stop telling anyone you need anything–even yourself.

    I have no idea if my ex was a Narcissist but he exhibited a lot of traits, including the automatic response I just wrote.

    I remember on this blog years ago (before the boards) and writing about how my ex gave me a pen on the ground as a Christmas gift. Some other commenter said she thought he was an asshole but *of course* I defended him, as well as my need to not have anything given to me…ever.

    :::smiles benignly:::

    Now I think–man. I was so willing to deny any need, any want, any desire. Now I think: what’s for Christmas? lol

  19. Wow, some common themes here. Among the above, I share the following:

    An exceptionally strong chiron – involved in a kite formation
    Angular neptune
    6th house emphasis, and
    Cancer risisng

    Woohoo

    (However, I’ve been lucky enough to have gotten a lot of caretaking. That is, I receive a great deal, too).

  20. One way that I’ve seen this pattern show up relates to Safety Needs, and how easily (or not) people can feel Safe. The Moon is in charge of Safety Needs, and outer planet aspects (including Saturn) to the Moon can manifest as various patterns that interfere with feeling safe.

    In “The Relationship Handbook: How to Understand and Improve Every Relationship in Your Life,” I talk about one set of patterns I call the “Fortress of Solitude™, although it comes in several varieites, I’ve found its especially connected with Moon-Saturn aspects in the Natal Chart.

    I’ve found that Moon square Saturn often shows up as the “I’m Always Out Fortress” where the person is always taking care of other people’s needs, so they’re never around to let anyone take care of them. (The underlying fear is that if they ever asked anyone else for help, they wouldn’t get it.) This shows up also with the Moon opposite Saturn, although not quite as much.

    People with the Moon conjunct Saturn tend to have the “Survivalist Fortress” where they are so self-sufficient they resist anyone’s attempts to support them.

    These patterns can also show up with Moon-Uranus aspects, although the underlying fear is rejection and abandonment, rather than having to earn approval.

    It’s rather a challenging topic, because the behavior (caretaking) can be motivated by so many different factors. And, of course, even if the original motivation was fear-based, it’s still possible to learn how to be a caretaker in a way that is mutually supportive, and maintains healthy, appropriate boundaries.

  21. @Mimi K
    Thank you for the suggestion of Riane Eisler and Nel Noddings. I’m currently reading Herman Daly, I look up Hazel Henderson’s articles, I analyze the current economic framework from my experiences, and I do whatever I can to build community. The individual and the community matter, it’s not one or the other.

    I want to build a societal and economic framework where people can live their potential aspirations constructively. Personal drive is important, but there needs to be support so that people can see what they can do and achieve.

    I have a Virgo Sun in the 7th house, Chiron in Cancer in the 4th, and Pisces Rising. So yes, I do have a caretaker aspect in some way.

  22. I have spent my entire life doing for others; Saturn in the Sixth; yet now that I’m in my second Saturn return, I said to myself, I’ve served, have done much for others, now I’m setting very clear boundaries and serving the creative part of life which will be what I do entirely from this point onwards. The lesson of course is that others are not served well by us taking on their responsibilities. It doesn’t mean one never helps out, but helping out is pointing others in the direction of helping themselves.

  23. I got to the point of fainting from emotional stress. As a caretaker for 5 years to a man who had a temper problem. I’m now giving up the relationship. It is very hard but for my own health I know I must do this. I am so independent and I just don’t ask anything of any relationship.

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