"We pick out people who have the same kind of unhappiness we do. And we gravitate toward them and try to help them.
Many of us are like this. Every time we try to help someone else and fail, it feels weird. It feels bad. We do not know exactly what is going on but it is upsetting.
Until one day we realize that what we are doing is avoiding our own pain. We have learned to act as though it is not our pain that is at issue, but other people's.
A part of us feels that we have conquered certain things and wants to share our strength. But another part of us wants to admit that we are the one who is in pain. We want to be the center of care and attention. But we focus on others. We have told the world that we are OK, we're fine, and feel we have to be true to that. It's these other people who need help. We are generous and kind; we are willing to give them help. But they don't seem to appreciate our help.
And why is that?
Because they recognize us. It is like one drowning person offering to help another.
But we go on like this for a long time, trying to fix the unhappiness of others, skating on the surface of our feelings while underneath we are a colossal mess, a roiling chaos of abuse and anger and hurt and fear and brilliance.
And then one day we fall through the ice.
Only then, when we realize that we ourselves are drowning, do we call for help. Only then, when are we truly helpless, is it permissible to cry wolf."