People pleasing or kindness

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Malini

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People pleasing or kindness
« on: September 13, 2017, 11:10:15 AM »
As the compliant, loyal, dutiful, fixer of my family, I was a doormat for most of my life. I have learned  so much about people pleasing and co-dependence whilst coming OOTF and vowed to never fall back into that role. The difficulty in trying to change unhealthy behaviours is to find the right balance. Initially I did an almost 180 deg turn and said no to every request for help, but didn't like that Malini much.

Last week DS2 had a graduation ceremony abroad. My MiL, whom I truly like and love is 85 and has some health issues which have resulted in her not leaving the country for 10 years. She is very independent and asks little of us and is always a pleasure to have for a few days. She has been an outstanding grandma to my two boys and totally supportive of me and my parenting and life choices. So I asked DH what he would think about us inviting her to the ceremony. He panicked, thinking it would be too much for her (and for him I think), but we decided to ask her anyway, hoping she'd say no if she truly felt it wasn't possible. My goodness, she was thrilled and promised to use the dreaded wheelchair if I said I wanted her to. Anyhow, I organised the flights, visits, etc ensuring all was good for someone with reduced mobility and we had an amazing time together and she now has unforgettable memories and DS2 was so proud and pleased to have her there.

The trip was quite triggering for me, one because it is something I had offered to EnND shortly before the shit hit the fan and also because  my friends were telling me how wonderful I was to do it with my MiL (mostly because they have issues with their own) and I don't want to be seen as a wonderful and self- sacrificing person anymore, because that is what got me into 'trouble' in the first place. I don't want to be a people pleaser.

I realised that as a people pleaser, I did things that came at an emotional cost. I accepted behaviours that crossed my boundaries, I ignored abusive behaviours and continued on my jolly smiling way, putting my needs and wishes aside.

In contrast, this trip came at no emotional cost. It was to a City I know really well and have visited many times. I had no personal agenda and was happy to revisit the tourist sites which I haven't done for ages and MiL was thrilled to visit a show no one else would have wanted to with me. Actually having a mobility challenged, elderly person with me meant we got to see and experience stuff that normal people don't as we were whisked backstage in palaces, theatres, etc.

Planning this trip made me realise that I can be kind and generous without falling into the people pleaser role, as long as I think long and hard about why I'm doing things and to beware of doing things out of duty, and accepting to do things which infringe on my boundaries and personal comfort zone.

Even if I've dealt with my Narents, this coming OOTF business continues to help me grow.
"How do you do it?" said night
"How do you wake and shine?"
"I keep it simple." said light
"One day at a time" - Lemn Sissay

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Spring Butterfly

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Re: People pleasing or kindness
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2017, 05:36:07 PM »
It sounds like you're in a wonderful place of balance, able to evaluate what you wish to do objectively. Nice!
each and every contact with a PD person results in damage. Plan accordingly and make time to heal. See Toolbox for tips.

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biggerfish

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Re: People pleasing or kindness
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2017, 07:15:11 PM »
What a great illustration of a healthy relationship. It is instructive so thank you for sharing it. I'm sure you had to go out of your way for her, but you wanted to, and were happy to do it. So normal!

 :like:

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practical

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Re: People pleasing or kindness
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2017, 08:04:30 AM »
Congratulations on your sons graduation! So happy you could share this special time, create memories for everybody in the family. What struck me is that yes, you thought it would make MIL happy, which it did, but nowhere did I see you hoping she would finally love you, love you for who you are, see you - she already does love you, so what you did was from the position of being safe in her love, there was not need to please her. What a gift for her and you. Thank you for sharing what a healthy relationship looks like.
If Im not towards myself, who is towards myself? And when Im only towards myself, what am I? And if not now, when? (Rabbi Hillel)

"I can forgive, but I cannot afford to forget." (Moglow)

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Malini

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Re: People pleasing or kindness
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2017, 09:44:40 AM »
Yes, so normal - phew!

And yes, Practical, that hope for love or pride or recognition was often a driving force in my relationship with my folks.

It must be the time of year, but I keep thinking of the multiple summers my parents left on vacation at the peak of summer, expecting me to drive over daily and take care of their vast garden. And I did. For years. I watered, plucked, froze, canned, made jellies and chutneys and they would always come home to a pantry and freezer filled with the fruits of my labour. It never occurred to me to say no, it never occurred to me to keep some of the produce for myself and, of course, none was ever offered as a thank you. What was offered was disappointment, because it wasn't the right chutney or jam, criticism, and a speech on how to lay out pears on newspaper properly :roll: for next time.

And I thought THAT was normal - sheesh!

It's an ongoing process, which doesn't come naturally, to calibrate my interactions and I think it's quite common for many of us who did so (too) much for family and friends for years and never received any thanks or recognition (because Ns grandiosity expects it) to find the right balance once OOTF.

I feel a lot of us here are naturally kind, generous and empathetic people and struggle to reclaim this part of ourselves in a healthy way once OOTF, so this was a really important growing experience for me.
"How do you do it?" said night
"How do you wake and shine?"
"I keep it simple." said light
"One day at a time" - Lemn Sissay

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Kieveen

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Re: People pleasing or kindness
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2017, 09:52:06 AM »
Thanks for sharing.  I think it's a really good example of how to have that balance in our lives.  People you can share with and appreciate you and your family are the people we should make an effort for. 

I don't want to stop being kind to others but I do have to be careful. I do not want to be used by people that will hurt me and take advantage of myself and my H.

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Bloomie

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Re: People pleasing or kindness
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2017, 10:02:46 AM »
It's an ongoing process, which doesn't come naturally, to calibrate my interactions and I think it's quite common for many of us who did so (too) much for family and friends for years and never received any thanks or recognition (because Ns grandiosity expects it) to find the right balance once OOTF.

I feel a lot of us here are naturally kind, generous and empathetic people and struggle to reclaim this part of ourselves in a healthy way once OOTF, so this was a really important growing experience for me.

Malini what a helpful thread this is for me. Thank you! I closely relate to so much of what you shared. It does not come naturally to "calibrate interactions" (LOVE THAT TERM) and find balance. I am a work in progress with this since coming OOTF as well.

The idea of reclaiming a natural part of myself and redirecting what was claimed and taken advantage of by others, is healing to think through.

Sounds like a lovely trip and precious memories were made as you celebrated your DS's achievement.
Bloomie 🌸
"Some people really don't get it, that we matter as much as they do." Moglow
"It takes emotional maturity to maintain decent relationships." Spring Butterfly