Self Care? Who has time?
How many times have we heard those words? If you are a parent, that will be hard to do in an airplane emergency. We incline to rescue our children, take care of others first, and attend to ourselves after. When you spend your life as the caretaker, there comes a time when you get weary. Where’s the nurse when the nurse needs care? If you grew up taking care of people, how you feel love is tightly twisted up in caring for others. We heard what a good girl or boy we were when we did the right thing and rescued or nurtured someone in need. Of course, it feels good to get outside ourselves and love others unconditionally. On the other hand, when it’s our only mode of operation, it is a double-edged sword. The “don’t rock the boat” kind of people and the “avoid confrontation, make sure everyone is happy” person has an impossible job. We can’t make people happy. We can’t save others from themselves. We can’t do someone’s journey for them in hopes of saving them from discomfort or failure. The more we enable, the more we suffocate the person we are trying to protect.
Turning Facetime toward ourselves is hard. Why are you telling me I am doing something wrong when I care so much about helping others? I give of myself all the time, to everyone, and you have the nerve to tell me that’s not OK?
Yup, I am. Giving to others can be an addiction like all other addictions. We have to do it because we have to prove we are not selfish. We want to make sure people know we are “good guys.” Again, feeling love is often twisted up in ways of behaving; in long-held patterns, we learned from our family of origin. Well, when is it ok and how do I know the difference?
Answer these questions:
1. Do you feel angry when you are not recognized for doing a good deed?
2. Are there conditions attached to your giving? You owe me. You owe me respect or love or recognition that I am a good person.
3. Do your loved ones suffer from your giving? OMG, it’s Christmas Eve and I haven’t gotten any gifts for the family. Aren’t Toys for Tots, the Lions Club giving, and the Salvation Army bell ringing enough for you?
4. Do you have a hard time asking for help when you need it? No, I had surgery, but I am ok. I can pull a dinner party together tonight. Yes, I am homesick. Don’t bother; I don’t need anything. Then inside, you wish someone would take care of you without being asked. Mind reading and wishful thinking are common thought errors.
5. Are you angry and bitter because you never get heard? Are you a people pleaser who wants everyone to like you? It’s a tough cycle to break because when you learn new skills and do use your voice, you change the family dance, your partners get pissed and want you to go back to the original steps they find comfortable. Your loved ones might ask, why are you rocking the boat? You are a stable one in this dance. Get back to your old self and stay in step with how we’ve always done our relationships. If you stay silent and just go with the flow, over time those unaddressed issues stay harbored in our souls, sort of like the chickenpox. The varicella virus lays dormant in our spines until we are immunosuppressed, and all hell breaks loose. We get Shingles. And, Shingles hurt worse than the original case of Chicken Pox! Get what I mean?
Tips from the Trail™
- Here’s the Facetime trick – turn the camera toward yourself and kindly ask yourself (more about this in another blog), how often do I say I don’t care, or agree because it isn’t a big deal? For the time being, just notice the pattern. We’ll talk about how this style of showing up in a relationship causes problems over time.
- Pick your battles. The thing is, you avoid conflict and don’t know when and how to turn toward someone who’s hurt your feelings, or violated a boundary. Many of us avoid confrontation at all costs or, in other terms, address boundary violations because we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. In turn, we get hurt, and that hurt accumulates, leading to relationship discord.
- Awareness is the first step in changing up our stories and improving our relationships. The next steps might require seeking support.
- Go for a walk and talk with a Trailtalk® therapist and learn how to retool your coping strategies and develop new relationship skills. Trailtalk therapists guide you in reevaluating various parts of your TRUE SELF to gain new competencies and an overall better sense of self. Moving from awareness to renouncing the original family dance and rebuilding new ways of showing up on the dance floor is vital in repairing our broken or damaged relationship.
I hope this helps. Please comment or ask questions if this post resonates with your current journey. Thanks.
Life is daily. Enjoy your moments. Happy trails! Allison