Guilt and CoDependence
by Nancy D. on 09/07/18
I was reading a daily reading from Language Of Letting Go, from Melody Beattie about what we learned from our parents with regard to guilt or blame. Like her, I'm not going to blame my parents for why I turned into such a people pleasing, doormat for most of my life. I was thinking about how different parenting skills can affect the way we associate and define "rules" for ourselves and others. Some of the rules can be healthy boundaries and some can be harmful for us for many years, and we don't recognize it.. until we are internally miserable about where our lives have taken us.
As I was reading her always, wise words, I realized that much of my people pleasing disease was born out of such rules I made for myself with the perception I had visualized as a child, from many of my parent's own words. How did I get here? Why was it I always worry about everyone else's welfare before my own? Why do I do other things for everyone in my life, yet won't do those same things for myself-the way I would drop on a dime and do it for them? How did I come to this mindset?
I can remember the phrase "you ought to be ashamed of yourself" or "stop crying, that didn't hurt", or telling them I was scared or hurt and hearing "you don't feel that way" resounding from both my mother's lips and my grandmother's.
We were never allowed to ask for anything when we were visiting someone's house, for it was rude. We were taught that we had plenty and we should always give anything we could. I can remember dad teaching lessons about selflessness and how we should always give to others. I remember every time the doors opened in church and the message that always seemed to be delivered regarding love thy neighbor and giving to the church and being a humble servant, doing God's will, etc., etc., etc.
I'm just realizing how these core beliefs have affected my entire life. I wasn't taught to take care of myself, I was taught to take care of everyone else. Whether it was my interpretation, with the brain of a child who didn't understand the big picture as an adult did, or whether it was handed down from generations of their relatives teaching this same ideology to them, doesn't matter. What matters is, I need to break that cycle, both for myself and now in the young minds and hearts of my grandchildren. I don't want them to be selfish narcissists, but I do want them to learn that their needs matter. And, it is their responsibility to stand up for what those needs are.
I don't want anymore doormats in my linage. Kindness, empathy and compassion needs to be taught, not self-less abandon.