Mending Wings: Survivors of Sexual Abuse

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 How to free myself?

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Female Posts : 8
Join date : 2011-03-26
Location : United States

PostSubject: How to free myself?   Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:48 pm

I'm going through a rough time right now. All hell seems to be breaking loose. . .I've been under so much stress over the past couple of years to the point where I've been starting to get physically sick from it for the past several months.

One of the main problems that I have, is being a people-pleaser, and feeling that I have to earn the love, acceptance, respect, etc. of those around me. . .even my family, who's love, etc. shouldn't have to be "earned" anyway. I almost always drop everything for my family when they ask me to do things, etc., and it has gotten to a point where it's almost impossible for me to function. Now, I'm faced with feeling I have to quit school (college) in order to help two family members, because I won't be able to do the homework or attend the classes.

I do so much for everyone, and while they recognize it sometimes at the time, once there's a disagreement, suddenly they act like I NEVER do anything for anyone, and that I'm selfish. I've done so much though! I babysat my sister all summer last summer so that she wouldn't have to go to a place she really didn't like going to. I babysat with a moment's notice during snowdays, took my sister's medication to school for her, went to a lunch event at her school for her, etc. I helped to take care of my grandmother when she was sick, before she went into the hospital. I couldn't find much time to visit her during the proceeding months though, because my classes at school and the homework as well as my doctors visits, etc. got really demanding. I didn't really even have time for myself, nevermind anyone else! . . .yet I still babysat. Now I was asked to help babysit again this summer, and I really don't want to, but said yes. I love my sister, but feel that the way my mother phrased it when she asked me, was pressuring me to. . .almost like the "don't if you don't want to, it's okay.". . .but in reality, I know it would be held against me in future arguments, etc. People don't realize how much of myself I've given up, and how little time I have for myself. . .I'm anything but selfish! So, just because I'm snapping and can't do it anymore (satisfy everyone, etc.), I'm suddenly selfish?

My mother held it against me that I barely saw my grandmother the past how many months. . .I couldn't. She told me that "everyone works". . .I wish I did. The thing is, yes, she works and visited my grandmother almost every day, but that's her mother. Also, she went to work almost everyday, so she arranged visiting her mother around work. I feel like my education is viewed as an extracurricular activity and isn't taken seriously, that I can just find time for everyone else and still manage to get my straight A's (I have a cumulative GPA of a 4.0) in my spare time. My education right now, IS my work, my priority, because I REALLY want a job! I can't be responsible for helping everyone and keeping everyone happy around me. Even those from the outside looking in were commenting on how I was being taken advantage of, and that I needed to say no, and take time for myself. But I always said "yes" because I was always afraid that it would eventually be used against me if I didn't, or I'd be seen as selfish. Well, even though I gave so much of myself, I'm still being seen as selfish, and it has still been twisted and used against me. Because I didn't find much time to visit my grandmother the past months, it's being implied that I haven't done anything, and all previous things I've done have been erased. It's like I have to say yes to EVERYTHING all the time in order to keep them happy! I can't do it anymore!

Now, my mother is making it sound like I'm being selfish because I don't want to find the time to take care of my other grandfather, who has been ill. That's not true! I was the one that recognized the heart attack symptoms, went to the store to get Bayer and give it to him, and tell my grandmother to call an ambulance. I stayed calm the entire time so I wouldn't freak anyone out. The cardiologist said that what I did saved my grandfather's life. Then, for the week he was in the hospital after his surgery, I took my grandmother to visit him each day, and stayed with them ALL day! I helped my grandmother out at home, I made sure she ate (while at home and in the hospital), everything. I spent a lot of money the past two or three weeks, and my husband and I are strained because his job isn't doing to well due to the economy. But I helped my grandmother and haven't asked her to pay me back. I spent every day and night with my grandmother, and my grandfather when he came home. I didn't go anywhere except for school . . .I didn't even spend the night with my husband, who is living with his parents! My grandfather went back to the hospital after five days, and stayed another half a week to a week. . .I took my grandmother to see him almost every day (she didn't want to go for a day because she was worn out). When my grandfather came out of the hospital for the second time, I was the one who had to take him to all doctors appointments, and there were plenty things to do in a short time. There were two doctors' appointments, an x-ray at the hospital again, and going to the pharmacy three or four times, and driving them to get something to eat. Then I knew there were already two more doctors appointments the next week or two, but then two MORE were added, and then he's supposed to start going to cardiac rehab twice a week for six weeks! I'll be busy all day, almost every day. . .nothing takes only an hour with them!

In almost a week, I had no chance to get to a computer with internet access to do my homework. . .and there is some every week. I'm tired of rushing to do it the last minute. I have a paper due in less than two weeks, and I get almost no internet time. Thank God I found time this week to get to the internet to do homework and find a few resources for the paper! My next class that starts soon will be even MORE intense though. . .it's the class I've dreaded taking all semester because of how much I've been hearing about it through other students. Then I need to take a third practicum, which is going to be very demanding of my time during the day to go to the place to fulfill my hours, and then the mountains of homework on top of that, and then go to class at night once a week. I can't do it all anymore!

I've already given up so much. . .seeing my husband and spending weekends with him (this is the first weekend in three weeks), I've given up almost everything! I need time as well! I have no problem with helping people, but there's no happy medium, and it never ends! Every semester, people keep asking more and more from me, without thought that perhaps I need some time as well. No one cares that I'm getting physically sick from the stress now. . .and I've been telling them for a while. Instead, they think I'm seeking attention or choose to have the stress, or that when I don't want to do something, I'm being selfish. It hurts me like hell to feel so invalidated, worthless, and like I don't matter. Why can't people see how much I've done and given?

My mother seeked out the argument we had today. I wrote a normal status on my FB that wasn't offensive, and my mother, as usual, finds ways to post comments that are jabs aimed at me, no matter if what I wrote is nice, angry, sad, harmless, etc. My husband has even noticed that as well as some friends. She did the same today, and I responded nicely one or two times to her and tried to avoid the argument, but she kept pushing and getting worse. . .then I snapped. Now again, we aren't talking. Just a couple of years ago we didn't talk for a year and a half over something similar. . .I didn't do what she wanted, and she got mean. I'll have to write about that another time. It's like, on my mother's side of the family, they're very authoritarian and believe and/or act like they own each other, and that everyone "owes" them. Any family member that moves out of state is considered to be very selfish and anti-family. Why can't they let those people live their lives? It's selfish to pin someone down, especially to a place that they may not like, or a place that isn't good for their career. Why does everyone have to live within 10 minutes of each other? Having a child, thinking they will own it for life, is NOT a reason to have a child. . .everyone is an individual and deserves to be happy. I always go to great lengths to keep my mother happy and satisfied, because if not, this happens. . .big arguments where we don't talk for long periods. There's no respect for the feelings of others, and no one is entitled to their feelings, etc. In my mother's family, you have to feel, do, etc. what they want. . .or you're criticized, talked about, considered selfish, etc. I feel so overwhelmingly controlled and suffocated! I don't even feel that I can talk to that side of the family about my feelings, or even show them my feelings (cry, etc.) in front of them. . .I don't matter, and my feelings are invalidated each time. I'm suddenly the "bad" one if I don't think or feel how they want me to.

I'm starting to think my mother and I should have never reconciled. I tried to get along with her for years, but usually feared her and felt so controlled. I always felt like her side of the family judged me negatively. . .compared me to my cousin a lot, and I would always lose. I was discouraged from going to college because of my grades in high school (I waited three years to go back). Then, whenever I feel nervous, depressed, and/or stressed about something in school, they'll make comments about maybe me not being smart enough and should quit, because that's what college is. Then they'll say this or that person in the family can do it (the thing I have trouble with) with no problem. When a person is down and depressed, etc., my mother's side basically kicks the person while they're down. You'd think they'd be more empathetic and supportive, but they are the opposite. I sure as hell AM smart enough for college. I have the best grades and put everyone to shame since I started college! Most of my mother's family don't even have any degree! That doesn't mean they're stupid, but they have no right to judge me and put me down, or make me feel bad about myself. I've been to college, and am still in college. . .so I'm sure I know more about what college IS than they do. First, you don't have to already know everything before you go to college. . .you learn it IN college. Second, stress is to be expected and is very common in college. . .and there are times when students question if they're getting into the right field or not. Family should be supportive and reassuring, not the opposite. The things my mother was saying earlier this year when I was upset and frustrated with a class in school, was so hurtful that I had to go into a bathroom in a public place to cry.

The only reason my mother and I reconciled last time was because my grandfather died. It isn't like she or I suddenly wanted to reconcile and work our problems out. If my grandfather hadn't died, we still wouldn't be talking. So, considering that, maybe we shouldn't have reconciled because the underlying issues were never resolved, and my feelings are still invalid to them.

The main thing is. . .how am I supposed to break free of being a people-pleaser/doormat, and still have a relationship with my family? The first thing I say or do that isn't to their liking, I would have been practically excommunicated. . .like now and the last time. It's my mother's way, or the highway. I strongly feel that I'm at a point where I have to make a choice between being a slave to them the rest of my life and be a people-pleaser, or eliminate or minimize my contact with them in my life. I've tried so many times to talk to them, etc., but nothing improves. I always lose and get hurt. I'm seeing more and more that the two simply cannot go together. . .me breaking free of being a people-pleaser and having a relatoinship with my mother and her family. The foundation of all relationships on that side of the family IS about being a people-pleaser.

For God's sake, I'm 29 years old and am still struggling for my independence from my mother? I've been trying to break free for so long while trying to keep the relationship, but I guess I can't have my cake and eat it too. My mother and her side of the family fail to see that I'm an adult, an individual person with my own feelings, needs, aspirations, achievements, etc.

I've been doing much better in the past year with working on getting out of being a people-pleaser, but I am weak with certain people, especially my mother. I feel like my mother and her side of the family like to make myself and each other feel like nothing so that they get what they want. My mother talks badly about her own sister, who doesn't come down to help take care of her mother much. They live far away, so it isn't easy to just drop everything so often to do what my mother, etc. may want them to do! My mother, etc. needs to realize that people have their own lives too! My mother makes it sound like me going to school is a priviledge. No, it's a necessity in today's world. . .and even moreso after I've already wracked up how much in school loans for my Bachelor's degree, and how much for my Master's so far? I can't get a job with my bachelor's and had no choice but to go back to school! If I could have done it differently and gotten my bachelor's in something I could have gotten a job with, I would have. But I can't change the past, and I shouldn't have to feel ashamed of myself and my education either.

How do I break free? There's no magical way to get that side of the family, especially my mother, to understand!!! She even completely invalidates my feelings I've had and my traumas from over the years! I have no right to my feelings, in her eyes! I'm so frustrated!

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