Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Everyone but me...

I seem to have a bad habit. One that I really want to get rid of, but I am having a hard time. My bad habit is that I seem to be able to be nice to everyone but me.

I will give the shirt off my back to anyone who needs it. I will help someone out in any way I can, even to the detriment of myself.

However, when it comes to being nice to myself, being giving to myself, I fall very short.

I am lucky enough to live a somewhat life of leisure. We are not rich, or even comfortable half the time, but I am lucky enough to be a stay at home mom. Sure, our situation would be improved if I DID work, but I do not HAVE to work right now. Child care expenses, having only one vehicle, and the cost of gas make it cheaper for me to stay home than to try to work, especially in a town where there is not a lot of jobs to be had. Not to mention I have physical limitations, but I digress. The point is, I have a lot of time here at home, and one can only cook and clean so much, meaning I have a lot of "free time" if you will.

The problem is, I have a hard time doing anything for myself. I feel guilty if I am not doing something "domestic," or I sit here at the computer, able to jump up at a moments notice and be able to go do something. I have over 700 books on my tablet to read, but I never take the time out for myself to actually read them. I never fix food or drink in a special capacity, because it will mean I have to make some for everyone. I am not trying to be selfish, it is just if I want a cup of tea, I do not want to start on it and then have to make a pot of coffee for Jack or who the hell knows WHAT for Alex, since no one in the house can eat or drink anything with out her having to be involved somehow. I can not be alone at all. If I go in my room to read or try to play a game on the PS2, I have to have an audience to "see what I am doing." Hell, I can not even fold LAUNDRY without an audience. Gods knows THAT is fun and exciting and not to be missed! Sure, I have a daughter who despises and refuses to be alone unless she is asleep, and a husband who apparently needs to be near me most of the time, and those two things cause issues at times, but even when I have the freedom to do what ever I want, I do not do it. While Alex is school I could read or listen to music or play a game or something, but I don't. I sit here at the computer, even though there is no one to talk to most of the time, and nothing online catching my interest, but somehow it is the only thing I can "justify" doing for myself. Wasting time online.

If I want to curl up with a book or play a game, I start and then I am overcome with such a HUGE feeling of guilt, like I am doing something wrong. I was very sick a couple of weeks ago, running between 102 to 103 fever, and I was so sick I HAD to spend the later part of the afternoon and evening in bed. I went to bed about 6 that night, and since I was not sleepy, I just needed to lay down, I had the TV on and I was reading on my tablet...and I felt awful about it. Like I was slacking off or something. The next day, even though I still felt like I was dying, I got up and cleaned the house like a madwoman, as if to make up for my being so lazy the day before. No one else makes me feel this way. Jack certainly does not care if I read or entertain myself, so it is not like I have other people to make me feel bad. I do it all to myself. For no good reason. Do I feel so guilty for choices I made as a teen and young adult that I am somehow still punishing myself 15 years later? Does the voice of my Father echo in my head? The voice that told me I was not good enough, I made stupid mistakes, I was lazy and stupid? ( That was a long time ago and for the most part my Father is no longer like that, but for most of my life he was, and it did a number on me.) I do not know. All I know is that I can never let go, never relax or do things for myself with out that horrible sense of guilt. It sucks. I stay stressed out, even when nothing else is going on that causes stress. I get chest pains, anxiety attacks. I snap at Jack and Alex, when it is not their fault.

When something good happens to me, I never get excited...because I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Always waiting for the next thing that will come along and knock me off my feet. I always get back up, but I sure am tired of having to dust myself off. I want to relish happiness. I want to enjoy things. Good things DO happen to me, nothing huge, but lots of little things, and I take almost no joy in it. I won a 165 dollar Epiphanie camera bag in a contest last week, and I was thrilled...for about 5 minutes. Then it was " Better not get TO excited, or something will happen to mess it up." I sabotage myself. I KNOW I do, but I have no idea how to NOT to that to myself. The funny part is, I am not a miserable person, I consider myself blessed and pretty fortunate most of the time, even though my life is and has not been a walk in the park. So why my mind does this to me is a mystery.

I do not know how to be kind to myself. I feel something is trapped inside of me. Something huge, just waiting to burst out of the confinement it has been trapped in. I have no clue what it is. No clue how to let it out. I have a hard time telling people no. I try to always make myself available, even when I do not want to. When I write, I rather be totally alone, letting the words flow...but I never do that. I have my yahoo open so two of my best friends that I talk to there can always reach me, even when I KNOW they would be 200% understanding if I said, " Hey, I am writing, let me catch you when I am done," and KNOW they would not mind a bit. Do I do that? Not a chance. I love them, so I am here, even if I am trying to do something else. I always have a Facebook tab open, no matter what I am doing, in case someone wants to talk to me there.

I know I sound like I am bitching and moaning, but I do not feel that I am. This has reached a point that it is coloring everything about my life. I am resenting other people for their happiness, even while being ACTUALLY happy for them at the same time. I do not resent their good fortune, because I have a good amount of that in my life at times, I resent their ability for having a prolonged feeling of happiness. I resent their ability to have joy and show it for longer than a few minutes. I resent their ability to be good to themselves, and to allow themselves to be happy and feel joy, and do what makes them happy without that pervading sense of guilt that colors everything I do. I do not want what they have, I want to FEEL what they feel, when they are happy.

How do I fix that? How do I fix what is broken inside my mind? How can I actually enjoy the good things that happen to me?  How can I revel in that? I do not want other people's happiness, I am not jealous for the good things happening to them. I just want to be able to enjoy the good things that happen in my OWN life.

Why can I be happy for everyone but me?

Why do I always feel like I am on the outside, looking in?


Luna Raven said...

Girl, you have to be nice to yourself! You are always doing and going for everybody, and they love you for that! But you need time too!

I so hear you, because that is how I grew up, you gotta be up and doing twenty four/seven.

Maybe you could take it increments: do five minutes a day and work your way up. And make sure if you need encouragement or check in, you let me know because I get it, I am happy to listen, and I just learned how to do this the few years, lol.


Anonymous said...

Okay I want to comment on this honestly babe. First of all stop feeling guilty you work harder than most people taking care of the home, that is a hard job, I did it for how many years.
Take a breathe and accept yourself taking care of yourself!! It is about time you do and not feel guilty.
I know it is hard to do I have had to do it. Once I let go of the guilt I am happier than ever to spoil myself. I know I deserve just as you do.
Stop looking inside and feeling guilty about doing for you!! Just do it!!

Anonymous said...

Bella, I hear you.

I can't tell you what will help you, but I can tell you what helped me, and maybe it will give you some ideas.

Basically, I had to brainwash myself. I know that word has negative connotations, but when I use it, I mean that I cleaned my brain of the negative thoughts by replacing them with more positive ones.

I found that I couldn't jump from the negative extreme to the positive extreme. I couldn't go from "I'm so fat," to "I'm fit and healthy," for example. I had to take baby steps with changing my beliefs and thoughts. Whenever I caught myself thinking, "I'm so fat," I started repeating to myself at least ten times "I'm getting healthier every day." And I fantasized about how my life was going to be different as I got healthier and healthier.

I also worked with affirmations a la Louis Hay. I went through the Heal Your Body book and wrote down all the affirmations for all the afflictions I felt I had, and modified them to suit my communication style. I printed off a page that contained all of them, and I made flash cards with a small paragraph of affirmations on one side and a drawing in crayon on the other. I tried memorizing the paragraph so that I could gaze at the crayon art and say it, even while visualizing what my life would be like if it were true.

Every time I looked in the mirror, I tried to tell myself, "I love you." For a long time I couldn't do it, but I can now. When I work out at the gym, I keep the tv off so I can stare into my own eyes and repeat my affirmations while I work out, or tell myself that I love me and that I'm beautiful.

The other thing that helped me, as a mom, was learning about toddler and infant needs, and realizing that ALL humans have the same needs, regardless of age. From Tracy Hogg I internalized the idea that everyone in the family has needs that must be met, and our babies need US to be in charge, not giving our power over to them. From Screamfree Parenting I internalized the concept that parenting means meeting our own needs and taking care of ourselves, because our kids learn the most from observing us, and not from what we tell them they should do.

There were other lessons learned over the months and years, but it all boiled down to the fact that I had to change my beliefs about the validity of my own needs, step by step. I made a list of my needs to remind me, and I look at it every day and mentally check off which ones I've met. If I don't get enough of something one day, I make sure to get extra of it on another.

Please do feel free to email me or message me (Ashley Rae) on facebook if you'd like to talk more about it. Maybe I can help, maybe I can't, but I'm willing to try. <3