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Has anyone 'reclaimed' themselves after realising they've neglected themselves?

(47 Posts)
Whatsername17 Thu 15-Jun-17 12:41:20

I have always been a people pleaser. If i can help, I will and often to the detriment of myself. At work and in my private life. My dh takes me for granted. I do all of the family stuff whilst he indulges his many projects. My eldest dd is starting to do the same. I put everyone else's needs and wants before my own so often, I don't even know what I want anymore. I don't know what hobby I would like to do if I had time. I don't know what I like. I feel so sad. How can I change this? I need to do something because I can't go on like this.

Arealhumanbeing Thu 15-Jun-17 13:07:43

Hi OP. The fact that you know you're not happy as you are and have worked out why is a major step forward.

When you look back over your life can you identify why you fell into the people pleaser role? Maybe a few sessions with a counsellor would help you find out and then work towards making changes.

Don't put yourself under pressure to find a hobby. It's not always about hobbies and interests. Maybe start by finding a way to say no to people and then progress to just taking time for yourself. Hobbies etc may come more naturally when you're feeling better about yourself.

Good luck! It sounds like you're on the edge of an exciting change.

VeryFoolishFay Thu 15-Jun-17 13:07:48

Following with interest - having a similar existential crisis at the moment and wondering if i've got the balance wrong.

Whatsername17 Thu 15-Jun-17 13:43:21

I know why I do it. For approval. My self esteem is tied up in what others think of me. With my dh, I think letting him do everything he wants to do will make him happy. He takes me for granted because, 15 years down the line, he assumes I'm happy. I'm not happy. I'm sick of being pathetic.

AnAirborneFluffyWhiteThing Thu 15-Jun-17 13:50:29

I had a bit of a wake up call late last year when my DF passed away. I suddenly woke up and realised that I had 'given myself' to practically all my family. I am a people pleaser - probably down to being bullied at school - and now I'm trying to change things around...

We're not on this planet for long, and now the DC are in their late teens, Ive decided its time to reclaim a bit of my life back. Ive been a general facilitator for nearly 20 years...

I've enrolled on a course in London for several days a week starting in September, and people are going to have to fit around ME for a bit. DH has struggled with this concept, but he's going to have to accept it.

Generally, I've had a very positive response from everyone.

I appreciate its a big jump, but baby steps will get you doing more stuff for YOU and not everyone else.

Nonibaloni Thu 15-Jun-17 13:56:14

Watching with interest. I was in the position of doing everything for everybody, including all the anticipating and planning.

About a month ago do came into the living room and switched the tv channel from what I was watching. I totally lost it, his defence was we always watch whatever crap it was. I couldn't believe that he thought I would be ok, or more likely didn't think.

Long story short, I handed in my notice at home. Didn't cook, didn't shop didn't do the school run didn't pay a bill nothing. Was a bumpy week while people kept asking me what was happening. Eventually the balance redressed but I'm not sure what to do next.

I don't want to be a doormat but I feel like a cow as well. Anyway watching with interest.

Arealhumanbeing Thu 15-Jun-17 13:59:20

OP try not to call yourself names. It can do more damage. You're not pathetic. flowers

SchnitzelVonKrumm Thu 15-Jun-17 14:06:27

I signed up about year and half ago to do an exercise class twice a week, purely because I wanted to get fitter. Just having those two hours blocked off on the calendar has made me realise how little weight I had given my time and interests versus DH's and the children's - it's a very easy habit to fall into, even if your partner pulls his weight at home, as mine does. It took a few weeks of saying "no, we can't do X on Tuesday night because I'll be at my class" before everyone got used to it but I find it really valuable now and not just because I'm fitter. One thing that helped is that it's quite an expensive class and you get charged for a cancellation, so no short-notice changes of plan.

QueenLaBeefah Thu 15-Jun-17 14:17:03

What age are you and how old are your DCs?

I'm going through the same. Teenage children and I'm mid forties. I realised the other month that I don't even know what I like watching on the TV anymore.

Mustang27 Thu 15-Jun-17 14:17:25

I'm on the exact same path op I'm following this with interest. I really hope you do take the time you need.

Whatsername17 Thu 15-Jun-17 14:21:35

I need to think of something I want to do or somewhere I want to go. I need to get out of the house. We have a 5 month old baby that I'm getting up to in the night twice. So far I've managed 'I'm going to bed because I'm tired' at 9pm. That's it. I'm going to have to have it out with dh. He's written and published a book, supported by me in every way. I've taken on all of the family stuff whilst he's written it, edited it etc. I recorded a voice over for his trailer and modelled for the front cover. Hes spent a fair whack of money getting it out therd - he paid using his inheritance but ive agreed and supported it. He's dedicated the book to our kids and thanked people who've read it. He tagged on the end of his 'thank yous' 'and to Whatsername for her support with my projects'. I felt gutted. It's so cold and thoughtless. I do everything for him. He's written a book because I facilitated it. It's how I realised that I'm taken for granted. I'm angry at myself because I have let it happen.

Whatsername17 Thu 15-Jun-17 14:26:26

I'm 34 and have a 6 year old and a 5 month old.

mrssapphirebright Thu 15-Jun-17 14:37:58

My mum did exactly this. 3 dc and she was practically a single mum to us all. My dh left when i was young and my step dad worked all the time and left her to it. Although i didn't realise at the time, he was financially and emotionally controlling. DM worked hard with us three and held down a full time nursing job and cared for her elderly parents without any support form her dbro or dsis.. Typical people pleaser who had no real life of her own.

Her life is totally different now. We are all grown up with our own lives, she divorced her dh when my siblings were late teens. She waited until they were old enough not to be tied to him to break free. She also got out before her parents died so she wouldn't have to split her inheritance.

She is now 60, works part time in a job she loves. Goes out all the times, treats herself, goes on holidays, has friends - all the things she could never do before. She is free and happy. She never re-married, didn't want to rely on another man again, but has had several gentleman friends!

Whatsername17 Thu 15-Jun-17 14:42:45

That's lovely, Mrs x

silkpyjamasallday Thu 15-Jun-17 14:45:25

I am quite like you OP, being a people pleaser is crippling. It induces the same sort of anhedonia as depression, and you just don't know what you want to do for yourself as everything in your life has revolved around others. Like a pp said, I think some of it for me is due to being bullied, the need for approval is so strong but all the while you are propping up others endeavours to feel good, it is temporary and your self esteem is still slowly diminishing. I think just forcing yourself to do something, anything is a way to start the process again, even if you don't feel super enthused by whatever it is just reclaiming a bit of time for yourself might be the push you need to start to find out what you really WANT to do.

Yvetteballs Thu 15-Jun-17 14:46:02

I think there will be further implications for you if you genuinely work to take your own needs into account. You will likely realise that this man takes you way too much for granted. You may start to resent having a partner who is such a weak role model as a father for your children.

VeryFoolishFay Thu 15-Jun-17 14:49:25

I've taken on a second part time job (out of choice) so I'm virtually full time - but still based at home and quite flexible. There has been an expectation in the family that I still carry on with the housework and laundry alone as I am 'at home' but I do sense change in the air and its becoming apparent that the clothes aren't magically back in the cupboards as usual.

I have to be out of the house for the second job for 3 afternoons/eves a week and DH is now picking up the DC's swimming lessons, cooking tea etc. He often suggests dropping after school clubs because 'it's too much to fit in' and I have to remind him that this is what I've been doing for 20 years! (4 DC quite spread out in age).

Interesting times. I am scaling back my community committments because it has occurred to me that I am always bottom of my own to-do list.

Whatsername17 Thu 15-Jun-17 14:49:54

I already resent him. He has a lot of positive qualities and he is a good dad. But, somehow, he gets to have time to do everything he wants and when ever I want to do something it eats into 'family time'. He has taken the kids out a handful of times so I can clean! How sad is that?

Yvetteballs Thu 15-Jun-17 15:00:43

He thinks he's babysitting for you. He shouldn't be taking the children for you, he should do things with them because you and he are their parents.
Do you want be with him when the children are grown up and gone?

Whatsername17 Thu 15-Jun-17 15:16:38

I've no idea. The last 18 months have been horrendous for me. I had a nasty mc at 3 months in Jan 16, I struggled to cope and he had an emotional affair. He confessed everything after I called him out on the amount he was messaging his 'friend'. It was a two week thing - one night of sexting leading to flirting and then trying to just be friends as he didnt want to jepordise his marriage hmm. I kicked him out but I was 6 weeks pregnant. We went to therapy and it helped massively. But, a year on an I'm angry, bitter and fed up. He fought for me, did everything to get me to stay, but core things have not changed. It happened over a year ago and I'm angrier than ever, despite therapy helping at the time. It's a mess.

Yvetteballs Thu 15-Jun-17 15:23:43

An affair too! You deserve much much better.

cakecakecheese Thu 15-Jun-17 15:51:20

Can you go back to therapy? Even if it's just yourself at first. He may just think everything is 'fixed'. You will need to let him know you're unhappy because otherwise nothing will change.

Whatsername17 Thu 15-Jun-17 16:12:55

I think I need to talk to him and then see. The mc devestated both of us, but the way I was forced to miscarry left me with traumatised. I needed him to put me first for the first time in our relationship. He couldn't handle it and decided to engage in an inappropriate relationship with a 23 year old. He was bereft when I ended it and I don't think he wants to lose me. But him coming first is just so ingrained now. I have to accept I've allowed it to happen.

C0RAL Thu 15-Jun-17 17:00:48

One thing you can do now is stop doing anything for him. Don't say that's what you are doing, just use the same excuses that he has for years . Stop cooking meals for him, just eat with the kids before he gets home. Stop doing his laundry, just leave it at the bottom of the basket.

Look vague if he questions any of this.

Arrange a definite time to go out each week and leave him with the kids. Even if you just go to the local library to read or shopping centre and sit in a coffee shop. Don't do anything before or after you go ( like tidy up or prepare a meal). Tell him you are doing research for a book you want to write / do an OU degree and you will tell him when the time is right.

C0RAL Thu 15-Jun-17 21:11:37

The problem is that you are a generous person married to a selfish person, not that you have ' allowed it to happen '. You have given your time and love to him and thought, as generous people do, that when you need some back you will get it. Because you assume the relationship is about reciprocity.

He thinks it's about him, you meeting his needs and supporting him in what he wants to do.

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