Last week was a strange week for me; I grew a pair, so out of character for me. I am one of those people that like to please others. I rarely use the word NO and do things for other people with no appreciation or reciprocation. Some of you may recognise this.
What do I expect? I expect people to offer me help for nothing, to recognise when I’m feeling overwhelmed and need help. Why should I be the one to ask for help, when I do so much for them? Friendship is a two-way street. Lately, I’ve been feeling used and unappreciated. I plucked up the courage to say something and it did not go down well.
Why are people like this? They are so self-absorbed that they do not recognise the feelings of others. Sometimes I wonder are they even listening or do they pretend they are interested but don’t absorb the information.
What kind of character must a person have to be so self-absorbed? How does this happen?
Definition: Someone who is self-absorbed thinks so much about things concerning themselves that they do not notice other people or the things around them.
I’ve heard said, that self-absorbed people are self-centred, selfish and only care about their own needs. I’ve thought about this long and hard. Sometimes things happen in life which are beyond our control and when bad things happen one after another, you can’t help but be self-absorbed. However, I think if you value a person’s friendship then you need to step up and realise that this person is a human being and has limits, realise that this person also has needs and needs comfort and help.
I have read that self-centred individual are more grounded; they can give more to others and have the potential to be even more generous and to make even greater contributions. I believe this and yes I have experienced this in the past. However, I also believe that these people can be so wrapped up in their own woes they forget about their own true character. They forget how a friendship developed, a true friendship. A friendship that may have developed through mutual interests, laughter and or sadness and to forget how your friendship developed and ignore or be oblivious to the very foundation of that friendship is heart-breaking.
I am my star sign, a crab. I’m hard on the outside and soft inside. This describes me exactly but when you chip away at my hard exterior, I will eventually, break. I noticed this last week and I think I had too much on my plate and I could take no more. I realised that I am too amenable and say yes too often. I feel guilty simply saying NO! I hate hurting other people by saying ‘No’ but some people can take advantage of this.
In a friendship, both parties need to recognise that, it works both ways. I think because I have done so much, I’ve allowed the other person to depend on me and that is my mistake. It is easy to come to me first, without sitting down and thinking for themselves. I should be a sounding board, not their mother, not the decision maker. I have failed to make certain people independent; I have failed to teach them to deal with their problems. Instead, it has been so easy and quick for me to just take over and this has been my ultimate mistake. I am an enabler and this trait is my downfall.
I have been reading this amazing book called Anxious To Please by James Rapson and Craig English. I would be interested if any of you recognise the traits stated in the book.
· Apologise frequently or for things you are not responsible for
· Get preoccupied with what other people think of you
· Become unhappy when your partner isn’t happy
· Feel worried or fretful so often it seems normal
· Often not know what you want
· Constantly second-guessing yourself
Well, I recognise all of these; it was like this book was written about me. I am the ‘chronically nice’. I will not repeat everything in this book but what was interesting reading it, I realised I need to be me, my true persona or at least the persona I believe is true, to other people and I don’t mean the person who is always anxious to please. I mean the person who I am, the confident and sometimes hard individual, which only comes out when I’m pushed to the limit. Yes, the persona that will also burst into tears because I can’t control my emotions and those tears quickly dissipate until anger takes its place and when the anger is cleared, confidence rears its head. Once I have reached this stage, I suddenly have clarity and realise enough is enough and being anxious to please is not good for my health or my wellbeing. Allowing the anger and disappointment to build inside of me and bottling it up is not good for one’s health and if you do this as I do, eventually when you can take no more and everything comes out at once, you may find you have lost a friend.
We all want to be liked and loved and hence some of us feel we cannot say NO!!! Or say ‘do it yourself’ or simply ‘I’m too busy to do this for you’ but if your friends, family or partners are offended by you saying ‘no!’ once in a while, then they are not the people to be around. You are not always going to say no but there has to be a limit, a line needs to be drawn. I realised I needed to draw that line.
I need to stop being an enabler, I am struggling with the stress experienced by co-dependents and these co-dependents have become addicted to my enabling trait. This type of relationship does not lead to a healthy or satisfying friendship. The co-dependents may not realise this straight away but the relationship has become one-sided.
Do I feel guilty, yes I do but with time I will conquer this. It will make me a better person and maybe it will make other people respect me for the things I have done and will continue to do. Maybe they will learn to stand on their own two feet.
By helping myself, I will help others.