Author Topic: Loneliness turned me into a doormat  (Read 2800 times)

Carey

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Loneliness turned me into a doormat
« on: April 10, 2015, 07:26:56 AM »
This is a problem I think I have had a long time, but I think being widowed has made it much much worse. I've always been a "people pleaser" because I want friends, want people to like me.  Before I was married I'd kiss the hiney of every guy I ever dated. Now I find myself in a position where I am starting to resent people, but how can I blame them when I allow it? Right after Chad died a friend of mine from high school reached out to me.  We talked a lot on facebook, eventually traded cell phone numbers, went to movies or lunch (As FRIENDS).  Then their power got turned off. He  is married with 3 girls and I couldn't stand to see them in that position. I set up a new power account in my name and let them stay with me for a week until it got turned back on. During that time, I spend a lot of time with their girls and long story short, over time the relationship between me and their family has deepened. I spent tremendous amounts of time with them. His wife has many medical issues and most times when she gets off work she's exhausted and has to go straight to bed. So I've been cooking meals, cleaning, etc at their house.  A LOT. It could almost be like some kind of twisted reality TV show. Most of the time, I really don't mind.  My kids are 16 and 17 and spend a lot of time away from home with their friends. I guess I want to feel needed and useful. I struggled a lot with making friends when I was younger and I have always seemed to have self esteem issues.  Only problem is, now I'm starting to feel like I've done TOO much and it's just assumed that I will do nearly everything and I feel somewhat taken for granted.  My friend hates it, he says his wife tends to lose friends because she is over-dependent on them. He says she has "run off" several people. So I am thinking the combination of that trait in her, and the one in me that is too eager to please are not going to be a good combination.  She is having outpatient surgery today on her knee.  He came by my house this morning and dropped his girls off so they could stay at my house for the day and he had a bag in his hand and a sheepish look on his face. He told me he was upset with her, but because she was nervous about the surgery he was trying to be nice. But he feels like she is taking TOO much advantage of me.  The bag had a dress in it from Old Navy that she wants me to return today.  My knee jerk reaction was "yes, sure no problem". But then he said that he had argued with her over asking me to do it because he felt like she had crossed a line and just expected me to do things for her convenience. And that has been rolling in my head this morning. Combined with the way I felt when I left their house last night; I had asked repeatedly for the girls to help me get the house clean so Mom could have a clean place to come home after surgery and be able to rest without stressing.  They totally disappeared on me.  I kept cleaning.  A HUGE storm was coming in and I was nervous about getting home but I kept on because I was determined to finish. I even told him to go on to bed because of having to get up so early. So at one point I realized the ridiculousness of the situation. It was almost 10 at night, starting to storm, and I looked around and I was at THEIR house cleaning THEIR mess while they were all in bed. But no one asked me to. The problem is in ME and I realize that.  I just care about these people SO SO SO much and would be devastated without them. They've held me together in the year and half without Chad.  So I don't want to lose them, and I'm scared if I SAY anything about any of this things will get awkward and eventually the friendship will deteriorate even if they say  it won't. So I guess I'm asking for advice on how to handle MYSELF better, to protect myself from over extending and feeling resentment.  Because why should I resent them when I put myself in the position? I realize this has been a rambling post and thank you if you've read this far lol. I realize that this is a behavior trait I have inherently but I think it's been compounded by widowhood.  Any suggestions?
« Last Edit: April 10, 2015, 08:09:16 AM by Carey »
I can't look at the stars they make me wonder where you are. 
Stars.... up on heaven's boulevard
And if I know you at all
I know you've gone too far
 So I .... I can't look at the stars --Grace Potter

keeptrying

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Re: Loneliness turned me into a doormat
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2015, 07:53:15 AM »
There are two types of people in the world - givers and takers.   - The givers will keep giving and the takers will keep taking.  I have this issue that I want to "help" people. I hear people complain about their lives and I feel like I can help. I give advice, then I seem to do it for them because they just don't seem to know how. Then they complain and need more. Next thing you know they are always asking for things. I start to become resentful because I wonder that if I can do all these things for them, then why can't they? They don't need to, because they just cry to me. Then I don't want to do anything for them at all. I feel used and abused so I want to cut them off. Then it only takes a matter of time before I start feeling bad for them when they come back. Terrible circle. Come to find out, I was told when they complain, that doesn't mean they want a solution to their problems, they just like to complain, that is their life. But they, if you are willing to "fix' their problems, they will sit back and watch, then ask for more. I have lived a life around a bunch of users, and trust me, it will NEVER EVER EVER stop. You will never be able to do enough or fix their problems. I promise you that. They will just become bigger leeches. Wanting more and more. Taking complete advantage of the situation.  -  One of the bad things about this whole thing is if you really needed someone, would they drop everything to take care of you and your problems? No, people like that don't, and won't. You need to figure out if this is worth it to you. Is this the kind of relationship you want? Is this how you want to be viewed and treated? The husband knows EXACTLY what is going on, like he said, he has been through it before, he is just as big a part as she is. He is enabling it, allowing it and manipulating you. Making you think that he feels bad about it.. but what does he do about it? Keep asking you for more. Situations like this don't get better until you cut all help off. Even when you do, they will come back every now and then fishing for more. I have been through this and I am currently going through this with quite a few people in my life. After my husbands death.. I REALLY started to resent people and how they treat people and take advantage of them. - I don't want to be that person anymore.  - You may willingly do these things and blame yourself, but they as friends should not take advantage either.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2015, 07:55:15 AM by keeptrying »

Needytoo

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Re: Loneliness turned me into a doormat
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2015, 07:16:59 AM »
Carey I totally understand what you are saying.  I to just wanted to please people and help them. Which isn't a horrible thing except when we get trapped with the takers.  I was an enabler of this I will admit and learning the difference between enabling and being supportive is tricky.  There are a few things in your posting that caught my eye. 
My kids are now 20 and 16 years old.  When they were younger we did a lot of things together but of course now they have to find their own way. No one really from my former life stepped up to help me and I find it very hard to make new friends. But I have meet a few. 
I can totally understand how you got into this situation and I am glad you notice a few issues.  I think this lady is playing you big time.  She can work but then has to go to bed right away?  Really?  When you told me about returning the dress, my knee jerked as well. 
I think helping this family has helped you, but what are they helping you with now? I don't think you are ready to totally shut them down but it is time to do more things for yourself.  Big hugs to you. 

mokie

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Re: Loneliness turned me into a doormat
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2015, 03:57:09 PM »
Tell them the truth... That you are not able to take care of your own things, and that you need to step back and let them live their lives, and you need to take care of yours.  You can even make it sound like you're doing them a favor... "I realized you guys can't really have your own family time with me here so much.  Can we set up a particular day that would be convenient for me to stop by for a couple of hours and see if you need anything?"

You've got to do it for you, and for them.  Those teenagers totally should have been helping you!  Making a couple of meals is one thing... Cleaning their whole house and returning things to stores is a whole different ballgame.  Take care of you!
When you get the choice to sit it out or dance... I hope you dance!

MrsMisterman

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Re: Loneliness turned me into a doormat
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2015, 07:21:14 PM »
I can usually say "no" pretty easily.  Appeals to reason and logic get the asker nowhere. However, play to my emotions and sympathy, you can turn a no to yes with a damn good appeal that tug on the heart strings.

Since widowhood, my heart string are oh so, so tender. I resent those who tug. Is it an intentional maneuver ? Are they taken advantage of my weaken state?

I hate being so vulnerable.
_________________________
Now I have loved you like a baby,
Like some lonesome child.
I have loved you in a tame way,
And I have loved you wild.

Ever thine. Ever mine. Ever ours. KLM 7/11/55 to 4/24/12

Munsen

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Re: Loneliness turned me into a doormat
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2015, 11:51:26 PM »
I struggled more with people pleasing when I was younger. Some of it came from having a narcissist mother who taught me that life was all about keeping her happy.  Much later, I realized that I had learned that lesson too well and often put the happiness of others ahead of myself. It took time to realize that many people are emotional vampires and will suck all your energy, money and time if you let them.

Sadly, over the years I learned that many people only love you for how you benefit them. That was when I learned to start saying 'no' and all of a sudden, those who'd been my friends started melting away. Through my late 30s/early 40s there was a distinct drain of my friend circle and with all the losses I experienced in my 40's (loss of a parent, three siblings and a couple of close friends, my own health issues), my circle shrank dramatically.

Hubby was glad as he'd been telling me for years that my friends were not friends but users. He was so correct. By my late 40's I truly thought I had pruned my friend list down to just the real keepers. Then he died and all but 2 people, out of the many I used to coffee with, hang out with, etc. disappeared overnight.

Four plus years later, none of those people have returned and I really don't give a rip. Hubby always told me that I needed to develop a 'f**k it' attitude and I have it in spades now.  I'm willing to be there for real emergencies to my friends & family who've stuck with me but I have learned to set limits. Guilt trips will no longer work on me. Widowhood taught me that the people that truly love you will make a way for you to be in their lives. Actions do speak louder than words.

I'm not bitter but I feel I am much wiser now than I was as a younger person. If anything, grief has taught me discernment. A true friend respects you and doesn't take advantage of your good nature.

Sending you encouragement to learn to set healthy boundaries. I'm hoping that you will in time develop a more balanced relationship but don't be surprised if they (especially the wife) are upset at you setting limits this late in the game.

I've also learned that the longer you let people run rough-shod over you, the more angry they tend to be when you start trying to set limits. I now set limits right from the beginning of a relationship. Again, i wish you well.

Just remember, 'no' is a complete answer. You do not need to make excuses or give reasons for your 'no'. Just let your 'no' be 'no'. In fact, the more reasons you give, the more people will try to talk you out of them. That's been my experience.

messageinabottle

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Re: Loneliness turned me into a doormat
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2015, 08:17:36 AM »
Wow feels like I could have wrote this too.   I have always been a "helper".   I don't mind helping and for some strange reason have this feeling I need to help everyone ect.  Always the "strong" friend everyone leans on.  Then when it is my turn?  They are all gone.
I think widowhood has made me lonely.  9 years of sitting here with babies and no support system.  No one came to see me.  No one even really gave me a second thought so I sat here alone night , after night after night and still do to some degree.
So I started volunteering, helping others just to feel connected.   It started with a neighbor helping sit her child and in turn she would help me with my kids.  Well we all know how that goes.  I was sitting for 12-15 hrs several times...they were always asking in crisis.  So I had to cut that off for various reasons.   So then the over volunteer.  I was the "go to" person and overextended myself.  Then I started dating someone and it seems that I was always doing stuff for him and caring for his kid and got very little back.   Why?   Because I sat here alone night, after night after night.  It is easy for others to say go out (they don't have to pay a sitter...get a life make friends.  But when I can maybe get out once a month or less it is hard to establish any friendship.  So yes I too became somewhat of a doormat just to have "people".  Anyone who would call me or visit or "need" me.   So I wasn't invisible.  Because I easily fade into the distant suffering night after night with no "real connections".   Was I taken advantage of?  Yes?   Did I end it ?  Yes and that hurts too ...more people who abandon me. 
But I deserve more and people that will appreciate my helping nature and give back.   Learning a lot about how old "habits" before my husband come into play.   He really truly saw the whole me and gave me the confidence to take on the world with him having my back.   It is hard to take on the world completely alone/lonely.

A Tout Jamais

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Re: Loneliness turned me into a doormat
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2015, 04:04:20 PM »
Quote
Carey?s Title: 'Loneliness turned me into a Doormat'

Speaks for itself!!!

Quote
Keeptrying: ?There are two types of people in the world - givers and takers.   - The givers will keep giving and the takers will keep taking.  I have this issue that I want to "help" people. ?  I don't want to be that person anymore.?

Neither do I!!

Quote
Munsen: Sadly, over the years I learned that many people only love you for how you benefit them.
Just remember, 'no' is a complete answer

Well said!!

Quote
Messageinabottle: I think widowhood has made me lonely.  9 years of sitting here with babies and no support system.  No one came to see me.  No one even really gave me a second thought so I sat here alone night , after night after night and still do to some degree.
So I started volunteering, helping others just to feel connected?.
Was I taken advantage of?  Yes? ?

This reminds me of the saying:

"No good deed shall go unpunished!"


OK, here's another member of this 'prestigious club'! - Ditto to what has been said by others above! - From my earliest days I was a 'helper', 'giver', 'supporter', which carried over into adulthood and personal, as well as professional, relationships.

Lesson learned:

My constant giving, helping, supporting, being the 'encourager in chief', the 'cheerer-upper' for all, became the benchmark below which I was NOT allowed to sink by an iota!

After becoming widowed, "Miss Sunshine" suddenly held an umbrella in one hand while still helping with the other, but THAT was "conduct unbecoming!!" I even went into overdrive by showering my friends and others with gifts to honor my husband - YET, in their eyes I had flunked!  How DARE I not be my former effervescent self while performing my DUTY!! - Then everyone took off, because in addition I had the audacity to be an SOS now. Perhaps I should have been an 'SOB' instead - the female version thereof - ;D

Yep, I learned my lesson!! I still desire to help others whenever I see a genuine need, but I have become much more selective and REFUSE to be taken for granted anymore. I'd rather die from loneliness than being surrounded by parasites!!
 
"The lonely one offers his hand too quickly
to whomever he encounters."

 ~~Friedrich Nietszche

The above quote is true, both in general terms, as well as personal relationships. The word "NO" is indeed a complete sentence and response!









Learning slowly, but surely!

ATJ
;D
« Last Edit: May 17, 2016, 01:56:48 PM by A Tout Jamais »
"Tu n'es plus là où tu étais, mais tu es partout là où je suis."
~~ Victor Hugo

"Je me souviens de toi ... Je me souviens de nous  - Il était une fois -  Je me souviens de tout!"

Eddienhp

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Re: Loneliness turned me into a doormat
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2015, 08:59:09 AM »
My nature is to be a people pleaser too. I am also a former doormat. It started growing up in a disfunctional, alcoholic home and continued into adulthood. I can relate to all of the posts. I can see how you feel it is you who needs to change. We simply need to not allow another person to take advantage of our good nature. The concept is simple. Applying it to real life is not. It has taken me years to get it right and I am not 100% there yet. I still tend to fall back into old habits. I am getting better. I catch myself way before I get resentful. I am not perfect but it is much better.

Now I try to think more before I act. I try to see what the other person's motive is; what are they getting out of it. Then I try to think of how it will affect me. Will it cause me to fall behind on my needs? How far out of my way is doing a favor going to take me? I have found often the people who complain constantly are the ones who do not follow through with helping themselves get out of crisis. My catch phrase is your crisis doesn't have to become mine. I can't put out others fires when I have so much responsibilities in my life. I work, have two small children, one with special needs, etc. My plate is already full. Yet, due to my tendency, I will still take on someone else's needs if I don't stand guard. People are all too willing to take. Very little of them actually help.

The prospect of volunteering was mentioned. I think it is an excellent idea. Find a nonprofit who does something you care about (animals, boys/girls clubs, etc) and as if you can help them. It will feed your people pleasing appetite in a safe way. You will also meet some people and cultivate relationships. I run a nonprofit and we are always grateful for our volunteers. I have met some truly amazing people. We love our volunteers. It's a win-win for both sides.

This family needs to learn how to help themselves. The husband doesn't take charge. The kids are disrespectful allowing you to to clean by yourself. There is something so totally wrong with the picture of you cleaning late at night and everyone is in bed. You have to have time for yourself and your family. You deserve it.

They may react negatively when you try to set boundaries. Try not to worry about it. It is not about you, its about them. You will post here as it unfolds and we will be here for you. Wishing you the best.
Eileen
My life is better because you were in it. You encouraged me to stretch my wings. I will forever be grateful. Rest in Peace Babe. Till we meet again.

SimiRed

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Re: Loneliness turned me into a doormat
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2015, 07:15:33 AM »
Unfortunately, I too, fall into this category.  We are really only hurting ourselves, it's self-destructive to give to a point when it becomes expected and not appreciated.

Step back, slowly... how about, "I can do this for you, however, I can't take care of the cleaning since I have "this" to do".  Hopefully, if you do it long enough it will become a habit to say No, it's too much for me to handle right now.
~Tracey~
My wonderful husband Rick of 19 years, 12/11/67 - 9/20/09 Neuroendocrine cancer.
I still miss you everyday, I go forward, but my mind stands still.

mokie

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Re: Loneliness turned me into a doormat
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2015, 02:17:23 PM »
It took time to realize that many people are emotional vampires and will suck all your energy, money and time if you let them.

"Emotional vampires"... I love that term!  Avoid the emotional vampires!
When you get the choice to sit it out or dance... I hope you dance!