(If you have arrived at this page from the Earth Element page, please note that this archetype does not address all earth element imbalances and may even seem to have little relation to your challenge.)
A healthy caregiver is a great gift to the world, but often even the healthy caregiver can have her or his heartstrings stretched to the point where the level of care they give to others is not healthy for the giver or even the one receiving "care". The old adage when disciplining a child "this will hurt me more than it will hurt you" is not limited to children and can be true on many levels. When earth energies are too strong a caregiver may become more smothering than helpful, more protective than realistic; as excessively shielding others from all consequences is a disservice to their growth. It also depletes the caregiver. Like soil that has been tilled and toiled too much, excessive care-giving loses its ability to be nourishing.
Sometimes a caregiver is mainly giving care to others for the purpose of personal acknowledgement? This is not evil. Everyone likes acknowledgement and it can be healthy in the right measure. But sometimes it can be good to ask ourselves to what degree are we doing some deed for acknowledgement in ratio to simply caring for others altruistically. If you find that you do this a bit too much, you may a bit deficient of the earth element energies of acceptance (as in personally feeling accepted), belonging, and other qualities associated to earth. The caring you show to others may be more about the type of care you wish to show yourself; or needed when you were younger or did not receive in a past (or present) relationship. But, whatever the reason, most everyone has a bit of a narcissist within them -if only for self preservation. So it is nothing to feel ashamed about. The question is whether your caregiver shows up excessively, deficiently, or in the right measure. If your caregiver shows up like a martyr you might want to check your level of narcissism. And if your caregiver never shows up at all, you really should check your level of narcissism. But if you show up in a truly caring way -while also making sure you are not harming yourself while you care for others- nor care if anyone is acknowledging that you are a caring person, then you are probably a pretty balanced caregiver.