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A need to please

(17 Posts)
Whatshebuildinginthere Fri 15-Apr-16 12:42:55

One of the problems I've been pondering in my marriage is me needing to please and not dealing well with less than happy emotions. Grateful for any insight.

So for example, when we've talked about Christmases past (always with his family) dh has recently said that it didn't have to be like that. He would of course not be happy to not spend it with his parents because they would be sad but he understood it was fair. (And indeed has agreed for the first time in 20 years to see my family next Christmas.) It's difficult for me to do things knowing he doesn't really want to. I can only do them if he lets me feel good about it.

A similar example is having time by myself. Occasionally this happens with good grace but on many weekends he is upfront that he'd be much happier doing things together as a family. So I don't ever really feel good about time by myself. (I'm a SAHM so I feel I need a bit of child free time for sanity purposes - even if just doing housework by myself with radio on).

Interested to know if others have a similar dynamic. Is it reasonable to put it on DH to make me feel better about these types of situations or is this all about how I make myself feel?

Whatshebuildinginthere Fri 15-Apr-16 13:16:07

I should add that I can see why I behave like this - from childhood. More interested in this dynamic in an adult relationship.

Whatshebuildinginthere Fri 15-Apr-16 16:11:56

Bump smile

Whatshebuildinginthere Fri 15-Apr-16 19:14:37

Last attempt at a bump...!

FlounderingWildly Fri 15-Apr-16 19:23:33

You've done Christmas with his folks for 20 years but never yours? What does your family make of this?
Your dh should be making you feel equal and cared for. But you need to be upfront with what you need. Otherwise you will never be happy.

Tooticky600 Fri 15-Apr-16 19:48:37

Agree you should not feel bad about wanting to spend a Christmas with your family for a change, surely he would be happy to do it if it's what you want? And it's definitely not unreasonable to ask for some time just for you now and then - all mum's need that to stay sane and reconnect with yourself! Don't feel bad for looking after your needs as well as everyone else's!

pocketsaviour Fri 15-Apr-16 19:49:15

...indeed has agreed for the first time in 20 years to see my family next Christmas.

Are you saying that for the last 20 years you've asked if you can visit your family for Xmas and he's refused?

expotition Fri 15-Apr-16 19:58:52

Hmm, difficult one. Yes, you need to say what you want. But if he sulks every time you get your own way that's kind of dickish.

I think my take is that if you love someone you want them to be happy, & therefore wouldn't be truly unhappy when they got to make the decision on what to do half the time, even if they didn't always choose to spend time with you.

The Christmas thing makes it sound like he's being selfish (unless there are issues between him & your family that you haven't mentioned). I think most people would have offered to spend Christmas with your family before now.

Scooterloo Fri 15-Apr-16 20:05:36

*He would of course not be happy to not spend it with his parents because they would be sad but he understood it was fair.

A similar example is having time by myself. Occasionally this happens with good grace but on many weekends he is upfront that he'd be much happier doing things together as a family.*

Jees, its all about him isn't it? He makes you feel bad, you let him. Next time, say to him its not helpful of him to guilt you out of doing things you need like xmas with family or some time to yourself. He gets what he wants, you don't. You are both used to that. time to shake it up!!

Whatshebuildinginthere Fri 15-Apr-16 20:16:03

Re xmas, not a typical family background but I think my mum feels unimportant. I've only recently realised that.

The thing that strikes me is that even though it's been talked about I've never had a row about the Xmas thing. I just let it drop.

Sometimes there'd be a row over issues but mostly not. I back down. (We do agree on lots as well!)

I am being more assertive now. Sort of. And DH backs down. I feel stupid - like I could have done lots differently over the years (big thngs) if I'd been more assertive.

But I still have a nagging doubt - if your partner rolls over easily on certain issues, would you take advantage of it? Is that normal?

He would have spent Xmas with my family but wouldn't hide that he would only be doing it out if fairness. He wouldn't do it with enthusiasm. Ditto time by myself. I always get left feeling guilty. I have told him that much as i enjoy family stuff i need him to be happy about it when I need a bit if time by myself or I feel guilty. So I have spelt it out. He doesn't do it though. But am I expecting too much?

(There are no issues with my family and DH, we have fun when we are with them)

WallyBantersJunkBox Fri 15-Apr-16 21:40:19

You have a supporter personality.

I know because I have one too.

You get a lot of joy, deep satisfaction from making others happy. But very often at your own expense. Whether time, money, emotional etc.

If people realise and appreciate it then it works both ways.

But there are a few downsides to a supporter personality:

You can be a magnet to those people who are abusive to this and take take take.

Other People get used to it and take you for granted. Just because you give doesn't mean that sometimes you wouldn't like someone to think on you and your needs first. Feeling realisation that people don't respond in the way you do like this when you need them can then leads to a cycle of hurt, sadness or anger, quickly followed by guilt.

When people are used to you being the supporter and you finally put your foot down about something for yourself, it can work negatively as your "selfish" behaviour seems to be the only thing remembered and the good deeds done before for others quickly forgotten about or held as you using a currency if you even hint at things that have gone before...

Sometimes you give too much and people don't actually want it - then it's too overpowering in a way to the other person.

Its a difficult personality type. But it's a good start to begin thinking on changes and what you really want in life. A lot of the time you put pressure on yourself but others really don't. It's very complex.

Forget either side of the family...because either us supporting others....what would be your ideal Christmas? Maybe it's sitting on a beach, or riding a sleigh in Lapland?!!!

Whatshebuildinginthere Fri 15-Apr-16 22:07:01

God, I have no idea what my ideal Christmas would be! But no, pretty sure its not cooking for my inlaws. I don't feel like I've had a choice in any single special occasion in quite a few years! My own bloody birthdays included.

What you say makes a lot of sense. Although I might be a bit less nice than you as im a bit resentful. Can you have a begrudging supporter personality? grin

WallyBantersJunkBox Fri 15-Apr-16 22:32:36

God yes absolutely!grin

phoolani Fri 15-Apr-16 22:38:59

Is it a question of self-worth? You don't feel you have the right to say what you want? And when you get it you feel automatically guilty because you don't feel you deserve it? After all, it is only fair that you spend a Christmas with your parents after all this time, isn't it? It doesn't sound like he's making you feel guilty - he just isn't turning cartwheels of joy, which it seems is the only reaction which wouldn't make you make yourself feel guilty.

Whatshebuildinginthere Fri 15-Apr-16 23:50:04

Maybe phoolani. It definitely helps to think about it in terms of my behaviour rather than his.

phoolani Sat 16-Apr-16 00:17:57

He makes it clear that he'd be much happier doing things as a family. And what do you say to that? Yeah, I see your pov, but I really need time alone? Or do you just acquiesce?
'It's difficult for me to do things knowing he doesn't really want to. I can only do them if he lets me feel good about it.' Honestly, this is about you, not him. Yes, he's very probably 'taken advantage' of you over the years, but you've not only let him, you accept that that is, ultimately, your preferred outcome - that he gets what he wants and you get to feel saintly. Except you don't. You really feel resentful and angry. But how is he supposed to take into account your feelings/wants/desires when you never express them? Or if you do, and he doesn't turn cartwheels, you immediately 'back down'?
He may turn out to be a complete shit (or not!) but you need to sort out you before we can know.
If it helps, been there, done that, come out the other side.

Whatshebuildinginthere Sat 16-Apr-16 06:11:13

Thanks for your posts phoolani. I've been seeing this in terms of DH being controlling but it doesn't quite fit. I think you are right that this, or at least a lot of this, is about me.

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