I don’t write a lot of personal blog posts but sometimes it is necessary to vent before the toxins take over your mind, body and soul.
I am known to many as The Strong Woman; the one handing out the hugs, the positive feedback & support to my family, friends, and others I come in contact with on a daily basis. No, I’m not co-dependent but I am a loving person who generally wants others to be happy. I have my boundaries but maybe not enough of them.
The problem with being the go-to person is; people will use your kindness until they don’t need you anymore. You are their unpaid therapist in many ways. We are told over and over not to have expectations when we do something for another person, but this can be a very unhealthy place to put yourself when it becomes “a constant” in your life. People gravitate towards your strength and life experience.
So who do you let in and who do you walk away from?
If you are always helping others and not getting anything back in return, it eventually burns you out and becomes a very lonely place. They are so concerned with their own welfare that they seldom ask about you or even seem to care what is going on in your life.
They just keep coming back for more of your “white light” that makes them feel good about themselves. They take you for granted. Some people are very good at coming in gradually and before you know it you are in this one directional superficial relationship.
I know… boundaries! Use your instincts early on; you don’t have to be a support system to everyone you meet.
Where did I get this nurturing habit from anyway?
Growing up as the oldest girl of 5 children I had much responsibility placed upon me at a very young age. I was basically mom #2 as my own mother relied heavily on me to help her out at home every day. It got more intense when she went to work full time when I was 10 years old. I became the caregiver.
My parents fought constantly which made the tension at home so thick you could cut it with a knife! I won’t go into graphic detail but kids don’t forget all their past demons easily. It never really completely goes away no matter how much work you do on yourself over the years; the “childhood hauntings” revisit you here and there regardless. It’s kind of like telling the jury to “disregard the statement” after they already heard the incriminating comment. 😉
So what is my point in all this?
I want everyone out there to understand that “strong people” need support too. They are not immune to needing love in their lives. I am stressing this towards family scenarios first. I find it quite hypocritical hearing how important family is, when many people treat their own family members disrespectfully. You don’t have to stay and put up with it. It shouldn’t consist of constant drama, intimidation, endless fighting or ridicule!
Family doesn’t always have to mean “blood related” and in some cases it is better and more supportive when it’s not. It’s hard for many people to live up to family expectations.
I know this because my own mother and I are estranged from each other. After all those years I spent as a loving daughter (non-reciprocated) who helped made her life a lot easier, it is pretty sad we just don’t talk or get along. We are very different and sometimes opposites just don’t work well together.
My dad on the other hand has changed his ways and is enjoyable to be around. He just keeps on living his life with positive energy. (Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?) 😉
I am sincerely not trying to play the “poor me” victim here but rather stating the facts that many other people have also experienced but don’t always divulge or want to talk about. You don’t have to stay in a bad situation just because that is what you think you are supposed to do. Whether it is a friendship gone bad, a job that you loathe or a hurtful family scenario; you have the choice to walk away. That is the beauty of the world we live in today.
“Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me!” This cliché line from years ago certainly doesn’t hold true in today’s standards. Verbal negativity has a very powerful affect on self-esteem, and bullies come in all forms and at every age. You need to be aware of who they are to protect yourself.
Even as a very strong person you have to know when to walk away from an unhealthy environment. The longer you stay in it you will keep attracting more of the same towards you.
- You need a place to feel safe.
- You need loving & loyal friendships void of judgemental comments.
- Do not allow yourself to be in one-sided relationships including family!
- Be aware of opportunists who are only there to use you or your expertise.
- Have expectations when it comes to friendships.
- Stand up for yourself & your beliefs regardless of the alienation it may cause in your circle.
- People who use regular sarcasm or cut downs at your expense are not your friends.
- If people in your life are constantly gossiping about others, they are talking about you too.
- Misery loves company. Choose positive people to spend time with.
- Don’t put people on a pedestal and play “follow the leader.” No one is better than anyone else.
- Be aware of the insincere friend that plays both sides of the fence and doesn’t have your back or best interest at heart.
- Don’t let people squash your feelings. Yes, even strong people have sensitivities, go figure!
I love what I do with my talk show, blog & advice column and I am well aware that I am the one in charge of my life path. That doesn’t mean that it is an easy walk all of the time. Being there to help others through difficult times in their lives is my calling and I am here in this world to make a difference in that respect. I get that. I am blessed to have this amazing gift and happy with who I am.
I wrote this post because I wanted to acknowledge other strong women out there who “get” what I am talking about. I also wanted to reach people who constantly rely on others kindness and guidance. “Please appreciate the time and energy that goes into being this strong support system so that you can be happier.” Don’t take them for granted; ask them how they are and give back as often you can. Even the smallest gestures show that you care and that you appreciate and value every minute of their time.
Even strong girls need a pat on the back once in awhile. <3
Susan McCord @ http://www.facebook.com/DearSybersue