Learning to Put Ourselves First.
For a long time, you have probably been putting other people first. Letting them impose their Agenda on you.
Do you find it difficult – or maybe impossible – to say ‘no’ to other people’s demands of you? Do you feel that you never get a moment to yourself?
Part of the unmanageability of our family lives with addicts is that as parents, we take way too much care of them and continue to ‘help them out’ when we know it’s crazy to do so. We may be the sort of person who does too much for other people in general. We may have internalised the message as children that it was selfish to put ourselves first. Oh boy – the trouble that has been stored up for us by that one.
One of us in the family may be always taking care of everyone else. Another may be always ‘fixing’ the problems for everyone. Meanwhile, our addict sits at the centre of her spider’s web with one or more people in the family running around her. We bale her out of trouble – paying off debts, giving her £20 here and there, doing her washing and making sure she gets to the dentist. When she wants us to do something, we snap to attention. And this constant people-pleasing is probably present in other aspects of our lives too. Demanding elderly parents? Demanding boss? Friends who you offer to do things for that they could easily do themselves? Offering solutions to friends’ problems when they haven’t asked?
So I have a ‘muscle’ for you to build up. This will take time – you’re learning to break the habit of a lifetime. Don’t beat yourself up if it takes a while to get the hang of it.
We are going to learn to set boundaries, one step at a time.