I believe I have abandonment issues, self-loathing, CSA (I hope that stands for what I think it does…), among other issues and here I am focusing on being too helpful? Why???
I told my IC about it and initially she brushed it off as kindness. “Kindness is a good thing and we don’t want to take that away from you.” But she came back to it in our next session with some questions. Do I put others needs above my own? Yes, and sometimes I put strangers or acquaintances’ needs above those of my family and myself. Why do I feel my own needs aren’t important? Where did I first learn this?
Of course it goes back to FOO. My mother. Being heard, or not being heard, I think. Children should be seen and not heard. My mom was dealing with some horrific infidelity throughout my entire childhood. It's safe to say she was a bit distracted. Just like the rest of us she was doing the very best she knew how but I believe I learned to minimize my own wants and needs early on.
I don’t think I’m articulating this well, as usual… Does anyone have any light to shed on working through similar issues? I feel like I have my toe in but am unsure how to proceed.
Chaos? That was a big part of my childhood I think. Could that be part of it?
Mom cheated on dad, divorced him when I was 7 to marry the AP who then cheated on her for 20 plus years until she finally divorced him. She then dated a cheater, and married a different cheater, con man, pathological liar... But I was married and working on being a cheater myself by the time we discovered her current hubby is a cheater.
I'm thinking with all this fighting and uncertainty going on in my foo I was probably not wanting to cause any ripples myself by doing something crazy like wanting to be heard.
I was sexually assaulted at around 8-10 years old. (I can't believe I can type that without having a melt down now.) And I remember when I finally tried to tell my mom what had happened she basically told me I was imagining it or making it up so that probably didn't help with the whole being heard thing.
So anyway, I have these issues I'm starting to identify. How do I start fixing them?
Sorry about the length. Once I got started I felt I needed to get it out and look at it...
[This message edited by knightsbff at 1:28 AM, April 12th (Friday)]
I'm really relating to your post. I've been sitting here trying to articulate a response but I can't get it together in my head right now.
I just want you to know that you've been heard, and also that I think you're taking huge steps forward in peeling away the layers and doing the self work. I know it's not easy, and I think you're very strong and brave to do it.
Good luck in your continued healing.
"That's the thing about pain, it demands to be felt."
As I work thru my issues sometimes I wished my parents had taught me more about relationships to better prepare me for adulthood, but compared to what you went thru as a child...it breaks my heart reading that, especially as a mother myself now. I should be thankful my parents are still together and did what they could. I admire your courage to face your past calmly.
I can relate to the being too helpful trait in a way. I used to think giving my H everything he wanted even if it's something I didn't like doing was the way to truely love someone, and to not start any fights. But this tendency led to me enabling his drinking and my resentment toward him for "making" me do his biddings when I really didn't like him drinking. Even when it came to the AP, I felt bad for him that his BW wasn't "nice" to him according to him, and felt somehow obligated to break my boundaries when it didn't feel right to me. I am sickened even typing this out.
I think being "too helpful" can be a codependent trait, as in being overly helpful and accomodating makes me feel like a "good person", and the need for that validation makes me want to be "helpful" at all cost. Not sure if I am getting your point right. Sorry if this is t/j.
What I'm learning is being helpful without having standards for how I am treated and without voicing said standards and my needs is a recipe for disaster. It easily turns into stuffing feelings, creating resentment, and being dishonest, offering help that the receiver may not even expect while being resentful. It's good to be kind and helpful, but it has to start with knowing clearly what your personal standards and boundaries are, and voicing any conflicts so that you can work out a compromise in helping.
I'm still trying to work it out...
Burnt, I don't feel like my childhood was bad. Had bad times and good. And lots of uncertainty... I don't remember a lot of my childhood but I have some good memories.
I'm just trying to look back over it as objectively as I can to see if I can find what makes me tick. I want to be a better wife for sure and also a better mom for my kids. I feel like I have to take it apart in order to put it back together better if that makes sense at all...
Yep, I guess I should learn about codependency too. It amazes me how many things folks on SI know so much about that I haven't a clue about. I have called myself reasonably educated but I feel like a baby sometimes reading on here.
It amazes me how many things folks on SI know so much about that I haven't a clue about. I have called myself reasonably educated but I feel like a baby sometimes reading on here.
Definitely agree here, knightsbff. SI has been fantastic in giving me vocabulary and conceptual ideas I simply would have never come to on my own. Being able to define the problems in my life has been a great boon toward taking care of them.
Clearly, I didn't "have it". Not even a little bit. My life was falling apart and the more I took on, the resentful I became. Even after the A was exposed, it took HT looking directly into my eyes and telling me "you don't have it all baby" for it to really sink in.
I have made some enemies trying to formulate good boundaries. I stepped down as cookie mom that second year and the moms were pretty angry about it. But I had to realize that my marriage was much more important than cookies!
I have since then looked at my motivation for doing things. Am I doing something because I want approval from others? Or am I doing it because it's something I enjoy or feel would benefit my family? For instance, I am sitting here early on a Saturday morning baking cupcakes for a coworker. It's time consuming and I have a lot going on right now. But baking and decorating cakes is something I really enjoy doing. It's a hobby that brings pleasure not resentment. I am not doing it to get approval from the people I work with. I am doing it because I haven't had the opportunity to bake in awhile and it brings a tiny bit of cash flow in from time to time.
I don't think it's silly at all to look at where behaviors come from. I think that being helpful can tie directly into your abandonment issues. You start to fix them when you analyze your motivation for your actions. You can then decide how doing those helpful things for others impacts your own life. If the negatives out weigh the benefits, it's time to put up a boundary and say "no".
Being helpful allows others to dictate your life to a certain extent. The only person that should have control over you is you. It's perfectly ok to say no from time to time. It's also ok to ask for help.
Keep peeling those layers. You will find many times that even the little things interconnect to some of those bigger ones.
Often times, we put others needs and wants, even being overly helpful, a head of our own because it allows us to put some distance between what we are feeling and what is going on. When what we are feeling is not comfortable, we will continue to be more helpful in order to place more distance between ourselves and what we do not want to look at.
You learned early, that not listening to yourself was the right thing to do. Now you have to unlearn that. It will take some time and practice, and may not be all that comfortable at times. The payoff is that the more you listen to you, the more authentic you can be, and the more you can start to respect who you are. Hope all of that made sense.
It actually takes effort and practice for me to say no to things that I don't really want to do. Sometimes I have to enlist the help of my BH if I feel myself caving in. Crazy...
At one point, prior to my attempts at reasonable living, I was working full time at a high stress job, taking 9 graduate credit courses, volunteering in my daughter's sport, coaching my sons team, and carrying on an A.
You are right. It is taking effort to listen to myself. It's scary realizing that a lot of the time I don't even know what I want. It will get better. I'm getting better.