Sometimes I need a caretaker myself...
May 14, 2007 10:36 PM Subscribe
Some people seem to hold different expectations of me than they do of others. I used to think it was in my imagination, but lately a few of my friends confirmed that they've noticed it too. How can I make this stop? I need to be allowed to be human. Just because I'm a strong woman, doesn't mean I want to always HAVE to be.
posted by miss lynnster to Human Relations (58 answers total) 55 users marked this as a favorite
&I have had a life of many ups and downs. Bad childhood, etc. As an adult I've done a lot of good stuff I've also made a lot of mistakes. No different than anyone else. Sometimes I'm strong, sometimes I'm not. Sometimes I'm happy, sometimes I'm not. Blah blah blah. I'm a good person though... I know that. Problem is, I've had to be a source of strength for other people so often that when I am feeling weak or that I need other people to be my source of strength or understanding, sometimes either they aren't there or they act disappointed that I'm being human. It's like just by me being human, I let them down because I'm not supposed to be. In turn, I've realized that it's prevented me from feeling comfortable with asking for help or support when I should be able to, which can be kind of lonely and scary at times.
The other day my Arabic teacher said to me "You're unflappable! Nothing ever gets to you! I don't know how you do it!" and I thought... no, actually I'm not at all unflappable. And I don't want to be, either. He meant it as a compliment, but it kind of bugged me.
This has caused me problems for years and it's frustrating. Here are a few examples:
• Years ago I took off work to nurse my ex-boyfriend like a pampered baby after he had a root canal (even though I've had four of them myself). But when I was bedridden & upset after I found out that I shouldn't have children because of a severe ruptured disk in my spine (my body can't handle the weight of carrying a child), he basically laughed it off, telling me that I was just being a whiny baby. He didn't help me when I was bedridden at all, insisting that I didn't need him to. (Yes, he is an ex -- no need to tell me to break up with him.)
• I have a few friends who I always counsel during times of trouble. I am their sounding board. But I notice that when I'm upset about things, they don't give me the same ear I give them, it's as though they assume I'm fine and try to change the topic back to themselves instead of trying to comfort me. Either that or they act like they're worried that I'm losing it. And I have to assure them that just because I have problems that I am sorting through and I'm not feeling my best doesn't mean I'm "losing it."
• Of my mother's five children, at 32 I virtually stopped my life to become my mom's sole caretaker after she had 2 strokes. Everyone else felt I could handle it by myself & expressed that they were glad I was around because they had other things to do. When I explained that I needed help and was feeling alone and in way over my head, one of my sisters actually lectured me on how unfair I was being to expect her help when I do things so well by myself. I was so offended by the things she said that I haven't really spoken to her since.
• Last year an old friend of mine suddenly started putting me down all the time. He was flippantly brutal and harsh and nobody has ever spoken to me that way. I knew he was going through a difficult divorce so I said that I hoped he wasn't projecting it onto me but asked if there was any way I was doing something wrong or could be a better friend to him. I really cared about him, but the next time I saw him he made such a scene in front of some of my friends that I had no choice but to end our friendship. A mutual acquaintance later told me that he had openly turned against me after I fired a client of mine. He told her that he lost all respect for me because I lost my temper with this former client (even though the issue with my client had NOTHING to do with our friendship). She said that his complaints about me made so little sense to her and that he went on about me so non-stop and unfairly that she eventually stopped being friends with him herself.
Here's the thing... I know people who throw temper tantrums all the time and nobody bats an eye. I just watched a friend become Bridezilla at her wedding as her fiance told her "I just want you to be happy, honey" over & over. I've seen people be verbally abusive or act like hypochondriacs, and yet people cater to them. I just don't get it. I guess I just so rarely lose my temper with people that when I do, some people just don't know what to make of it. You would think people would appreciate that someone is together most of the time.
I like who I am and I don't want to become high maintenance or demanding... I like that I'm generally nurturing of other people so I don't want to change that side of me either... it would just be nice to get love and support to help me through my difficult times in return instead of having to shoulder everything myself or have people turn on me. I need to feel that I can let my guard down and be supported in return.
Thoughts? Does any of this stuff make sense? Can anyone relate?