Overly caring people put up with behavior that most people would walk away from. We know this. They give people not just one chance, but rather a million chances.

Here’s the thing.

When the overly caring person forgives the first bit of bad behavior, those around them recognize reality.

However, once the overly caring person stays in a situation or relationship only to be hurt again and again, it changes them. That is when reality becomes distorted. Why? The overly caring person begins to over talk, over explain, beg to be heard – desperately wanting acknowledgement that they aren’t in fact, bitter or frustrated, but that they allowed themselves to be mistreated for far too long.

The problem is complicated by the fact that these same overly caring people don’t want to walk away from surrounding relationships. So while they may initially try and distance themselves from the pain, it’s hard to ignore because others that they love continue to hang out with the people who have mistreated them.

Someone called me the other night. They wanted advice.

They had been hurt in a relationship. In fact, what their significant other had done to them was a betrayal. This person walked away as they should have. However, over time they took the person back despite the betrayal. That’s when the distortion began because the person they took back resented being dumped to begin with. Just like many badly behaving people they did not take responsibility for their actions. They began turning arguments around on the person who had been true.

Soon it was difficult for some friends to see reality. The same people who initially advised dumping the cheating person were now starting to believe the new spin on things. Why? Because when you stay in a bad situation too long with a person who mistreats you, it changes you and frustrates you. They just hear you complaining and they see you staying or going back to the person.

Overly caring people (aka, enablers) who have been mistreated and put up with repeated bad behavior need to shut up. Over talking is a result of too much forgiveness for bad behavior.

In fact, overly caring (aka, enablers) need to do 5 things to move on more easily and quickly:

1. Shut Up

2. Stop caring if others see the reality. It doesn’t matter because you see it and live it.

3. Remove yourself not only from the badly behaving person, but from anyone who supports the badly behavior person even if they are friends of both of you.

4. Stop talking to the person who repeatedly behaved badly. They don’t hear you and they never will.

5. Recognize that a friend who goes out with or hangs in a crowd with a significant other or even a friend who horribly mistreated you, is not important. A true and loyal friend would never make you over explain yourself nor would they want to go out with someone who was unkind to you. Why? It would be a simple and loving, conflict of interest. That includes people who aren’t overtly taking sides and rather make it seem as though they just aren’t involved. Believe me, true friends would not do that. They would take to task anyone they believed hurt you to begin with or quietly ignore them.

It sounds simple, but it’s not simple for an overly caring person.

In fact, overly caring people care so much that watching others hang with this person just makes them feel crazy.

It’s difficult to accept that in order to self-protect, heal and move on that there are even more people in a family or circle of friends that must go as well. Overly caring people must walk away from all the people who don’t get it.

Why? Because the healthier people in their lives would never put them in a situation that lacks clarity. They wouldn’t make them over explain.

They would say simply “You deserve better. Don’t let this person’s bad behavior change you. I hear you AND I am here for you.

Follow me on Facebook @Colleen Orme National Columnist
on Twitter @colleenorme
on Pinterest @colleensheehyorme
E-mail: Colleen.Sheehy.Orme@gmail.com

More from Beliefnet and our partners