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I'm so fed up of making everyone else happy

(37 Posts)

I don't know if I want advice, I don't know what I want but I need to let this all out.

I am so fed up of bending over backwards to make everyone else happy and ignoring myself.
My husband left me on NYE because he fell in love with someone else but I only ever tried to make him happy and I don't understand what I did wrong.
I used to bend over backwards to help my sister out. She barely talks to me any more because I don't have a car any more and I live too far away to be useful to her.
I do loads for my mum, I make her dinner all the time because her husband works nights so I have her over so she isn't alone. I bought her tickets for the football twice. I'm constantly trying to help her out or spend time with her and now it's time for me to want to do something and she's having second thoughts about doing it. If she is with her husband (which she is today as she is off work) then I'm put to the back of the pile. Last night, her husband and I got into an argument about something stupid and I got really upset. She was quite unconcerned and thought that I was upset about the argument when it was much more about the way he talks to me and makes me feel unwelcome in my childhood home.

I'm so fed up of putting everyone else first and always being ignored - be it by them or by myself. I don't know what to do. I can't do what I want because I don't want to hurt anybody else. sad I'm so fed up with it all now.

Catnuzzle Mon 12-May-14 12:22:59

They way I look at it is, they're not bothered about hurting you, so why put so much effort into pleasing them. They do not appreciate you or your efforts, so make friends and spend time with people who do.

I have spent most of my life pleasing others, and continued to try and please my step mother even after my Dad's death, then I realised my beautiful children might grow up thinking that they were second class like I did and I refused to allow that to happen. I have gone NC with her now, which has upset some people, but I have done it to please myself and protect my family.

Look after yourself, find people who value you. Makes life much better.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 12-May-14 12:25:31

Sorry that you've had to learn the hard way that if you spend your life pleasing others all you earn is their contempt. Bend over backwards and all you get is a bad back. Asserting yourself - which is what you have to do now from now on - means risking others being displeased. (Not 'hurt'... that's overstating it and making it personal). Put yourself first, you'll like yourself more and you'll earn more respect. If others don't like it, they'll just have to get used to it.

It doesn't sound like they care enough to actually be hurt if you just pleased yourself. Just surprised, as they aren't used to the idea.

Honestly, you have spent years trying to please everyone else and it has got you nowhere. Do things to please yourself from now on, and put your own wishes above those of others.

If other people have actual needs then a decent person tries to help. But that doesn't mean their every wish is more important than yours.

CanaryYellow Mon 12-May-14 12:35:45

It's sad but people who do bend over backwards all the time for others really don't earn anyone's respect. The more you do, the more you get taken for granted... the more it becomes expected rather than exceptional.

Why don't you feel that your own needs are important and should come first sometimes? That's something that is inside you, it's your issue, and the only person that can change that is you.

sad - sorry you've had a rough time. Its hard to hear maybe, but people only respect you as much as you respect yourself, try saying 'no' a bit more and doing what you want and need to do. You don't exist to make other people lives happier or easier. Your needs are just as important as anyone else's, if not more so. Occasionally they can be put aside if absolutely necessary, but do that all the time and people will come to expect it and they won't appreciate it because you don't appear to value your own time and effort - so why should they?

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Mon 12-May-14 12:55:48

The sad thing is no matter how much you give some people are never satisfied. Worse, they take it for granted and persuade themselves,
"X does nice things for others because it makes her happy! It's a form of selfishness!"

In addition if you give all the time there's a possibility people eventually think it's their due. You're finding this with DM. When you mentioned helping her loads I assumed she's a widow or divorced, on her own... Reading further, no! She's married. And when she isn't needing a hand you are at the back of the queue for attention.

Okay now you know where you stand.
As of today pour the energy you expend on family members like DM or formerly DSis into your own situation. No more people pleasing, think of #1.

I have been through CBT and each time was told I was a "people pleaser". I have abandonment issues since my dad died at 14 so I try my hardest to avoid being alone and I do all these things for people so I'm not on my own, so they have a reason to stick around. But they never do, because even my stupid husband left.

It came really apparent yesterday when I was at my mums and had this argument with her husband. It was his birthday so I bought him a present I knew he would love, my mum tells me all the time that I'm his (and her) favourite because I try so hard and I'm thoughtful and generous but when my sister and BIL were there yesterday, they spoke to them much more friendly and spoke of their kids more kindly too. My nephew is a whingy baby (like my son) and they got "he's not been an ounce of trouble" and my son got "he's not wired up properly him". My son was tired so I was going to put him in the travel cot upstairs but my mums husband said not to bother because he would be okay. And then that's the remark he got. I don't know if it's because my sister rarely comes over (she would rather spend time with her MIL) and they feel the need to be nice to her even though they know what she's like. She's a bloody nuisance, she is constantly asking for favours (even from them) and never gives back in return. She is so fickle and has a new idea every couple of weeks, that she always needs help with. They agree with me that she's a PITA but when she asks me for favours in front of them they never stick up for me and tell her that she walks all over me. I think my mum once told her that she walks all over me and my sister said "no I don't" and that was the end of it.

I've told my mum that she always puts me to the back when her husband is around but I get "no I don't" again and that's it. Today I wanted to go to the football parade (Manchester city won the league yesterday). My mum said she was going to come with me because it would have been really difficult to take the kids on my own (we did it in 2012 with just my eldest and it was fine but I had my husband there to help me). She's now decided she doesn't fancy it. Which is fair enough but she could have said this yesterday when I had time to find someone else to come with me or find someone to watch the children so I could go alone. I just feel like after everything I do, she could do this one thing for me, where I'd probably end up buying her dinner too, but no. So I can't go. I know it's selfish but I was so looking forward to it. She knew I was and she's raised my hopes up and smacked them down in about five minutes. Literally, she was asking about the train times one minute and then said no the next.

Its not selfish to want to do something and its normal to feel angry that she's let you down. Take a lesson from it, don't expect anything from her in future and don't rely on her. But that goes both ways. Next time she needs you for something, just tell her you can't do it. No need to explain why or apologise. Just try it and try it again and again. And next time you need help from someone, ask a reliable friend.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Mon 12-May-14 13:51:58

Unless your family are toxic keep in touch but you just need to remind yourself it's not your job to win love or time or attention by dancing to their tune.

Try not to rehash disappointments or hurtful comments, instead figure out if there is a logical explanation or any element of truth in them and acknowledge that. Or reject those and move on. Best not to dwell on things you can't change eg DM being soft on DSis/DN.

I'm glad you have gone through CBT it was what I was going to suggest next.

You sound like a caring generous soul don't change because some people closest to you let you down occasionally. (By people I don't include ex who treated you very shabbily and if you're the poster I think you are, your PILs who seem happy to do the childcare when ex has the DCs over for contact but otherwise were quick to drop you and fondly overlook his disgusting behaviour with OW. They did act badly and aren't worth tears).

sisterofmercy Mon 12-May-14 14:01:26

Ah you fear abandonment. I'm sorry about your dad - the same thing happened to me. I've ended up on my own all the same no matter how hard I tried... and actually it isn't too bad. You have a ds to love and who loves you unconditionally which is good.

Only help someone if you have the energy and willingness to do so else you can't do your best. Make sure when you are feeling down or poorly that you take time out for yourself. Learn to say no when you are not willing to help and learn to handle the ensuing confrontation. When you say no, just say no. As Sleepwhenidle says you don't need to explain yourself and it only gives the person a way of arguing you into doing something.

You might find your family respect you more after they've got over their tantrums but then again if they don't, it frees you up to find other people who will appreciate your helpful and caring nature. My dad wouldn't have wanted me to be used all the time, I hope yours wouldn't have either.

Also, standing up for yourself and being grumpy when necessary comes more naturally to me as I get older so if you don't see immediate improvements don't despair as it will come eventually.

I've just told my mum how I feel. She's basically said she's being cruel to be kind, trying to get me to stand on my own two feet and to "get over it".

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Mon 12-May-14 20:17:13

Oh. Then any help you give her, unstinting but unreciprocated is what, therapy?

Catnuzzle Tue 13-May-14 08:28:29

Strange excuse. Does your sister not need to stand on her own two feet also?

I feel distance is the answer here....

mistymeanour Tue 13-May-14 11:20:27

www.amazon.co.uk/Boundaries-When-Take-Control-Your/dp/0310247454/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1399976304&sr=1-1&keywords=boundaries+cloud+townsend

I am a people pleaser too but have started to become more "selfish" of late. Have just ordered this book as it came highly recommended by a counsellor friend.

'Cruel to be kind' is a great excuse for just plain cruel and uncaring!

OTOH I think you could decide to 'learn' from this 'lesson' she's apparently trying to give you.

Stop bending over to help her - she doesn't appreciate you and (sorry to be brutal) isn't going to love you more for it.

You have the choice of pleasing everyone else - and not getting the unconditional love they should be giving you anyway. Or of pleasing yourself and not getting any less than they give you now. They might even give you more attention if they realise they can't simply expect you to always be there like a doormat.

Either way, you don't lose by just doing what suits yourself, except for when there is a genuine need that you feel you ought in all conscience help them with. Aside from that, do things that you want, in the way that you want. If that doesn't suit them, tough shit.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 13-May-14 15:24:44

At the nub of all this is your belief that "If you need me, you won't ever leave me". Being a people pleaser is actually a way of gaining control.

Wild guess here but when your DF died, I suspect you and possibly DSis to a lesser extent filled a void for DM. She remarried but no matter how much support you give, you always feel guilt or shame or guilt about how much help you provide.

I try my hardest to avoid being alone and I do all these things for people so I'm not on my own, so they have a reason to stick around. But they never do, because even my stupid husband left.

I don't know how you and your H got together but being a people pleaser can act like a homing device and in his case perhaps you attracted the wrong sort of person who manipulated you.

Twitterqueen Tue 13-May-14 15:40:30

This is probably going to sound really harsh but I sense that you genuinely would like some honest feedback and I am trying to be helpful, not unpleasant.

You sound a bit needy and dependent "You have to like me and do what I want because I'm so nice to you...."

And the nicer you are the more you expect people to like you back and praise you and tell you what a wonderful person you are.

I have a relative like you and tbh, it's wearing. The sense of obligation is tiresome.

You don't have to be nice all the time. You don't have to do good things for other people all the time. Sometimes you can be cranky and impatient and selfish - then you'll be just like the rest of us imperfect human beings.

People like each for a huge number of reasons - not just because they do 'nice' things.

Donkey - no, when my dad died she went and found an old boyfriend only 6 months later. She left me every weekend to go and see him. Then when I got attached to him, she went and found an even older boyfriend and dumped this other one like yesterday's news, so he left too.
My H and I met online on a chat room when I was 13 and he was 14 so before I had these abandonment issues. I was always paranoid he would leave me because everybody else did. He always promised me he wasn't leaving, even just before I caught him in my bed with OW, he said he wasn't thinking of moving out or divorce. He was adamant there was no one else and he still loved me. Then when I caught him, he suddenly decided he didn't love me and there was someone else.

And I suppose I am doing these things so people like me. I hate being alone since I feel I have been since I was 14. I just want to feel important to somebody. Even my husband made me feel second best and now he's gone, I don't even feel second best. I feel like I'm at the bottom of the pile. I'm not important to anybody. I want to feel like I am.

Twitterqueen Tue 13-May-14 16:21:55

You have to feel important to yourself before anyone else.

No-one else will think you important if you don't feel it about you.

Imagine someone going around saying "I'm rubbish, I'm useless, no-one likes me, I'm hopeless." Our natural tendency is to believe them.

Now imagine someone saying "I'm actually quite a fun person. I'm really kind and caring and I love feeling that I'm of use. I'm a great friend and I love company, and talking to people."

Which of the 2 would you rather be?

Just to add - husband always put other women ahead of my feelings. He would be talking or texting other women and would spend time with them, for example, when I had PND after my second child, he told me he went to mcdonalds when he was actually talking to another woman in our car. He got home around 12.15am when he finished work at 10.30pm. He broke up with me years ago (when I was about 16) because he met another girl he liked. Got back with me after a few days. Did this a few times in our relationship. Hence why I've never felt "first" for him.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 13-May-14 16:23:57

You know you are number one for your DCs, they count. You matter.

But I honestly think you should look into more counselling so you don't inadvertently project these feelings onto your DCs.

How am I meant to value myself as important when, for the last 10 years, I've had people implying that I'm not?

I really get what you're saying but I don't value myself at all. I don't think I am important. In fact, I think I'm the cause of everyone's problems. My mum once told me she was ready to drive off the viaduct because of me. My husband has told me it was all my fault that he left. I'm not important! I don't know why I try and make people think I am.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 13-May-14 16:31:17

If this isn't too indelicate a way of phrasing this, you are going about this ass-backwards.

Stop worrying about how others regard you!

Like everyone else on the planet, you are doing the best you can! And if people comment or give their opinion, you don't have to accept they're right. You don't even have to listen.

I don't know how to make myself feel important! How am I meant to feel important without looking at how other people regard me?!
I've got nothing! I hashed up my degree because I was pregnant with my eldest and had to give it up. I gave up any chance of a career to raise the kids whilst my husband worked and now he's left me and I've got nothing. I've got nothing to show, nothing to make me feel important!
I have my two children who my husband has recently told me I'm using the kids as a weapon and I'm a shit mum. I'm not using them as a weapon by the way, my kids see their dad regularly with nothing bad said to them about him or anything (although I did call OW to them but haven't since I realised it was a stupid thing to do).
So I am a shit daughter, a shit sister, a shit wife, a shit mum. I contribute nothing to society because I'm a SAHM and stuck on benefits because I can't get a job and can't afford childcare. I've been looking and looking for work since my DD was born and haven't found anything. I've applied for loads and never got an interview because even an employer doesn't want me!

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