Being there for others too much

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Blueberry

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Being there for others too much
« on: October 09, 2018, 11:53:38 AM »
For me this is a symptom not a comorbidity. I think I manage fairly well now on the forum. I get a lot out of the forum and I give back by moderating. As for responding to others' posts: it's an activity where I'm practising not doing too much of it. Practising noticing my feelings, energy levels etc etc as my T teaches me to do.

However IRL it's just not easy atm. Sometimes wanting to do something for somebody else can galvanise me into doing something beneficial for myself. So I channel the energy and impulses back to myself and my life. e.g. with the local election a few days ago - all this energy churning around to support the mayor I'd like to win, including the thought I could put up his poster in my office window. Instead I'm improving my own advertising for my window/front of the building.  :cheer:

So far I've asked a fellow freelancer how I could express better what I wanted to say and have re-formatted my document. I need to print it out and stick my coloured logo on. But I also desperately need to wash my windows and other parts of front of the building which got very dirty due to building site next door. It makes sense to do that before I put up new advertising. I will do it but I feel so exhausted...

Sometimes I help my refugee neighbours, sometimes it's just explaining something e.g. in this country you have to give your landlord written notice 3 months before you move out, but no, you can't hand in your notice on 6th Oct. to move out on 6th January, you have to do it by end September. Something which I and most people in my country take for granted. Sometimes I just sit and listen and nod and say that I understand that it's hard not knowing things we take for granted.

But it is too much for me. I then went and dumped my frustration on a friend. I apologised right away but it just shows me: it's too much for me. It makes me sad. I'd like to be able to help, I'm genuinely a helpful person.

I'd also genuinely like to be able to spend more time with my godson but at the moment I can't without blowing a fuse. It's not his fault. It's not mine either. It's the effects of cptsd. It's my responsibility not to spew the effects all over other people, e.g. my godson, by looking after myself and saying "No". No, I can't even manage a compromise. No, the date my godson's mother is coming to my town and would have brought my godson to me is not a date I can manage. It's the final day of intensive therapy workshop I'm doing. I didn't realise till a few hours later that it would have been difficult for me to say that the following two days I really need for myself as well, had she been coming on either of those days instead. Self-care, self-care, self-care and go slowly and mindfully are the recommendations after these types of workshops. The mother of my godson arranged to cme to my town when she did because it suits her and somebody else. She was just hoping that it would work for me too, without asking me in advance if it would. Presumably the other person can only manage this day. But if they were meeting the next day instead, when I will be home, then I would feel 'guilty' for not compromising and saying that my godson can come by, even though it would be too much for me.

This post is way too long as usual but I am going to leave it here and not move to my Journal because it may help others.

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BeHea1thy

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Re: Being there for others too much
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2018, 01:36:22 PM »
Hi Blueberry,

Thanks for taking the time to write this post. I find a lot of similarities in it for myself. I really like the way you have chosen to take an impulse to help another and make a small shift and do it for yourself instead. (the campaign poster for the mayor in your window)

I too have noticed the desire to "help" others has extracted a toll far too much to sustain. My past response has been to make my own rules about engagement or further helping which had a strict set of parameters. Inevitably, it didn't work, because each new plea for help had some unique  need which only I could supply

Altruism is a subject which has so many facets!

For me, being a helper and caretaker was the path by a narcissistic Mother chose for me. Seeing no options or choices made embracing this role easy. It has taken a lifetime to unlearn even the basics. Functioning this way my entire life, I've lost out on a number of developmental tasks as well as ever reaching my "potential" as a member of my own family or as a member of the larger society.

IMO, there are two ways which the current culture encourages this-never mind the bias of caretaking that women are expected to do. The first is the religious imperative to do "good works" and the second is the divisive climate today which makes caring for our fellow man/woman a necessity and not a choice. There are so many gaps in institutional care that as organizations or individuals, we really need to step up to make sure all the "cracks" are filled so people don't routinely fall through.

Lastly, there's the guilt and frustration which comes from failing to live up to our own individual expectations of helping and our self-worth when we THINK we've failed to do so. The first step, as you have pointed out, is to know why you are saying NO.  The second is to remember that a quality YES comes from careful consideration of logistics (regarding meetings) and preserving your own "best times" for being there for others. You can't give away what you don't have in the first place.   

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radical

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Re: Being there for others too much
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2018, 04:35:27 PM »
This is worth the effort.  It gets better, ime.

Could you send your godson a card saying you are sorry you couldn't spend time together this trip?

 People eventually get the message that you too, are someone who can't be taken for granted


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Three Roses

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Re: Being there for others too much
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2018, 04:43:57 PM »
Found myself nodding here -
Quote
I'd also genuinely like to be able to spend more time with my godson but at the moment I can't without blowing a fuse. It's not his fault. It's not mine either. It's the effects of cptsd. It's my responsibility not to spew the effects all over other people, e.g. my godson, by looking after myself and saying "No".

And, sometimes a post has to be long so you can express yourself.  :hug:

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Kizzie

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Re: Being there for others too much
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2018, 04:50:25 PM »
Nodding too BB.  Those small shifts are actually epic imo, from being other-referencing as we learned to be to survive), to becoming self-referencing -  so glad to hear this  :thumbup:

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Blueberry

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Re: Being there for others too much
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2018, 04:56:30 PM »
Thank you for your wise response, Be Hea1thy! I'm letting it sink in further, the way I often do.

After writing my own post, which enabled me to get rid of the upper layers of whatever, I was able to poke about lower down and see what's going on. Why do I experience frustration at trying to help? Why can't I just listen to my refugee neighbours, tell them what I can and then let the whole situation go? Why does it keep churning around in my head? Part of me feels at least  :pissed: :pissed: and another part even pretty close to  :blowup: 

Probably the situation reminds me of something in the past to do with FOO. My parents weren't refugees, they were immigrants who moved from one democratic country to another democratic country for a good position secured before the move. They didn't want to settle or make their home in the new country and I don't think M was ever grateful to be able to move to a new country where F could get a good job in his own field with money instead of odd-jobbing. She certainly complained a lot about the country and didn't want us, her children, to grow up feeling we belonged. In my neighbours' case it is different. I don't have the impression that they're completely ungrateful to have a place to live after escaping from their war-torn country, but their expectations are rather high and I feel I have to tread carefully.

OK, now I understand! I'm hearing their complaints and I 'feel' I must tread carefully. e.g. they think their toddler has minor breathing problems because it's a bit difficult to air their apartment, the kitchen doesn't have its own window or fan (or a door for that matter - so you can open the window in another room to air  ;) ) but actually I'm pretty sure it's way worse for their toddler to be exposed daily to his father smoking in the same room as him. But somehow I don't feel I can say "in this country the effects of passive smoking are known! Parents who are smokers go outside to do so or at least lean out the window, especially when they have a baby or toddler in the house (in the main)." I'm not a social worker, it's not my job. I get frustrated at feeling I have to keep this in. I suppose growing up in a household where there was so much denial about the real reasons behind our family dysfunction - that's what is being triggered here in me  :blowup:

My parents blamed my childhood problems on the fact that we lived in this foreign country far from extended family. Total and utter denial about their role in the dysfunction. It's not as if there weren't lots of other immigrants to that country at that time from their own country into similar professions as F's who they could have socialised with. But no. And then all their own psychological problems on top of it, which they would have had in their home country too - they did when we lived their briefly or were there in the summer holidays. Just not quite as exacerbated as during the years we lived in the country they immigrated to.

So I've been able to unravel a bit more. Too early, too freshly 'dug up' to really start processing, but maybe in a few days I can put that up on the Screen.

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Blueberry

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Re: Being there for others too much
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2018, 05:06:21 PM »
This is worth the effort.  It gets better, ime.

Thanks for saying this :thumbup:

Could you send your godson a card saying you are sorry you couldn't spend time together this trip?

I will either do that or phone him, but it's just it takes me a fair bit of step-by-step plodding to even realise what's going on and the guilty feelings about not being there for him and beginning to take myself and my needs even more seriously and say "Me first!", something you're sort of not meant to do towards a child, even though for many of us on here that's exactly what our parents did. I'm also not responsible for my godson the way you are for your own child. In theory I know this, but in practice, well, I still need practice!

People eventually get the message that you too, are someone who can't be taken for granted
So that's what's going on! Thanks :applause: :thumbup: for giving me the words for it.

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Blueberry

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Re: Being there for others too much
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2018, 05:10:33 PM »
Thanks also TR and Kizzie. :hug: :hug:
 "Other-referencing to self-referencing" - wow, that's what's going on. Yes, you're right, Kizzie, this 'small shift' is actually huge and epic.

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Blueberry

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Re: Being there for others too much
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2018, 08:26:36 PM »
A few hours later, I realise how much progress this is for me, so giving myself another round of applause and cheer  :applause: :applause: :applause:  :cheer: :cheer: :cheer: Now try not to feel embarrassed or ashamed about showing myself.

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LilyITV

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Re: Being there for others too much
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2018, 02:47:11 PM »
Thank you so much for posting this Blueberry.  I really appreciate the long posts.  I go through similar thought processes in my head so it's helpful to see that someone else does this as well and the responses. 

"Other referencing to self referencing" is so difficult!  I can identify with the guilt and going over it again and again in my head.  The feeling of being embarrassed and ashamed about doing something you should feel completely justified in doing without a second thought.

You should be so proud for the progress you're making.  Thank you so much for sharing.