Yes - you know who you all are….those kind, sensitive, empathic souls who want to help others, to scoop them up like wounded little birds and make it all better for them. If you recognise even a smidgen of yourself in this, please read on….
People who present as needy are unerringly able to recognise potential rescuers, and to know exactly which buttons to push to make sure their needs are met—remember, they've had a life-time's practice. And when their needs are met by some loving, generous person (you maybe?), they will turn around and make them wrong. Why? Well, if the needy one has to acknowledge that their needs are met, then they can no longer be needy, and the life-sustaining drama they've been acting out disappears and they have to start to take responsibility for themselves, their choices and their actions. And that's often far too scary for them. So what do they do? They'll make their rescuer wrong (thereby keeping themselves safely in victim mode) and most likely run off to complain to another rescuer. And—lo and behold —what do we have but the perfect Victim-Persecuter-Rescuer triangle…and we all know how that goes (if you not sure, try Googling it).
So—for all you rescuers—what you need to do is to recognise and acknowledge when and why you feel compelled to rescue, and to set and maintain very clear boundaries for yourself (which may require you to up the level of your self-respect). Please know that the 'victim' has very little respect for themselves (or for you because you rescued them, and they think they know how to manipulate you so you will carry on doing so). Tell them politely and lovingly that you value yourself too much to play their game any more, and that when they can start loving and respecting themselves, then you may be willing to continue the connection. (You may need to duck for a while!)
I have just been reminded of part of a beautiful Rumi poem :
Out beyond the ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field.
I'll meet you there.