Over-responsibility and Over-eating... Part 1
By far and away the strongest theme I see in my clients lives is that of over-responsibility, which so easily ends in over-eating as a way of coping with the overwhelming responsibilities on their plate. It’s simply too much to deal with.
The over responsible person is a very caring person – caring for others comes naturally, caring for themselves is a foreign concept.
The caring and doing for others is evident in everything they do, often obvious at the outset from their choice of career.
I get an extraordinarily large percentage of clients working in a caring profession: think nurses, midwives, doctors, teachers, special ed, allied health, community services, nannies, respite workers, or combinations of the above – and it filters right down through their social life and into their family lives, where any personal time they could take is given away automatically to fill the expectations of all the people in their lives they would like to please or appease.
But who's caring for the carer?
I’ve compiled a list of 8 personality traits of the over-responsible in this blog entry and the next: see how many resonate with you and then keep reading to figure out how you can help yourself to dump a burdensome load of emotional weight off your shoulders.
1 We have a built-in Rescue Response and a big warm heart; we easily fall for a sad story and want to make the world a better place. In my opinion, this is a wonderful quality to possess but we can be too emotional and too feeling and in this way we become victims of our own hypersensitivity.
The only way I have found to make this quality ‘work’ is to gradually put in place stronger and clearer boundaries, so that our sensitivity remains intact and receptive, but we will not allow our kindness to be trampled on and abused by the masses. There must be a bottom line of respect – and you and I need to reinforce this bottom line in every relationship.
2 We frequently apologize or take the blame, even for things we haven’t done. We aim to constantly avoid dealing with potential conflict and confrontation because that could get ugly. Peace at any price is our motto, but the price is our disintegrating self-worth.
Start telling yourself you have the right to be seen, heard and respected. Catch yourself as you are about to say the ‘S’ word and just stop. Sorry is too easy to say. You can nod your head to acknowledge you have heard the complaint/story, then leave, cut the energy and exhale – this way you get to keep your integrity.
3 We don’t feel that we deserve to get our own needs met until after we have taken care of x, y and z for someone else – because their needs are much more important than ours.
Remind yourself you are a valid person because you exist. Just like the oxygen mask analogy, if you don’t attend to your own needs first, it’s not humanly possible for you to be emotionally available for anyone else in your life.
4 We make excuses too often for the poor, disrespectful behaviour of others – again to keep the peace and show others that we are popular, likable people who are capable of playing Happy Families: “Of course I’ll be spending time with my mother/sister/father/brother/in-laws at Christmas, I always do”. When what you’d rather be doing is something much more enjoyable, like having a root canal at the dentist.
This is your life too, you are entitled to make your own plans at Christmas. Don’t buy into their guilt manipulation, stand firm and plan something of quality that will actually uplift you and make you feel good. You deserve to feel good at Christmas. In fact, you deserve to feel good every day.
© Copyright 2016 Karla Cameron