While listening to a talk by a counselor recently, I heard the term “over-functioning.” Though not found in the dictionary, over-functioning names a feature of co-dependent relationships. It means doing another’s work for them. This behavior can show up in a lot of settings, such as our jobs, a school project, as a parent, or in romantic partnerships. It can also be something we do in the context of our own company, when we fill our plates with everything that has to get done plus the nonessential tasks that really could be released. We soon feel overextended and overwhelmed. Notice all the “overs,” indicating it’s simply too much.
We may over-function due to feeling “If I don’t do it, it won’t get done,” or thinking we’re supposed to manage it because we can. Perhaps we believe we’re being the bigger person or doing the right thing by rescuing others. But just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should. When we habitually take over what really is another’s responsibility, we enable them. We stunt their growth. We stand in the way of allowing some of their best teachers to come forward — consequences.
Let’s pause next time we’re tempted to dive into what’s not ours to manage and allow the other the dignity of their own experience.
May you be inspired!