A Pleaser’s Personal Hell

Pretty much everything I’ve ever done, everything I’ve ever achieved, has been because I did it for someone else. I really wish that was an understatement right now.

This covers a lot of things:

  • Getting good grades through school: please family & teachers, have good standing with authority figures
  • Doing kind things for others: please them so they won’t get angry/hurt me later
  • Attending church: please fiancĂ©’s family, have good standing among members/community
  • Participate in exercise: please doctors so they’ll stop banging on about my excess weight
  • Allow ex boyfriends to push my personal boundaries (putting it delicately): please them, keep them from cheating/abandoning or hurting me
  • Engage in various hobbies: please cool other people who also do the hobby, make friends to feel less alone

About the only things I’ve ever firstly done for myself are writing and music, and even my joy in those has been ruined now because I found out I could please others with them. Now every time I write, every time I compose or sing, I’m haunted by the thought that “someone else might not like this,” or the opposite, somehow more devastating thought: “who even cares anyway? I’m the only one who’s seeing/hearing this.”

It seems stupid, maybe, but I have never really lived outside this pleaser mindset. I just flat don’t know what it looks or feels like to do something just because I’m committed to it for myself, just because I alone care enough to make it happen and I’m the only one it will affect. Even stuff like brushing my teeth is done because I was tired of costing my parents excess money at the dentist’s getting cavities fixed. (So I basically do it because I’m cheap…wow.)

When it comes to doing things for others, however, I push myself very hard to always come through. I often can do more than they asked for, even, because I want them to be happy (and because I don’t want them to be mad, to be honest). I’ve done some amazing things with motivation that comes from others’ expectations and hopes. But when it comes to doing things just for me, I cannot muster that same energy. The place where I usually reach inside myself for motivation is empty; I end up talking myself out of doing it, because “I’m the only one who cares anyway,” “I guess it doesn’t really matter,” “meh,” etc. Even writing for this blog has been like this. I go through times where I’m REALLY motivated to write, get a few posts out…and then I slip into days and weeks of inactivity because very few seem to care, and if they don’t care, how am I supposed to? Without the shrill, harrying call of “OTHER PEOPLE EXPECT THIS SO DO IT NOW DO IT NOW DO IT NOW”, all I’m left with is just…tired.

I am sick of giving up on personal projects because of this soul-tiredness. I’m sick of being exhausted of life itself, of having to fight just to exist. If this were my best friend going through this hell, I would be at her side counseling her, listening, encouraging her…but because it’s me, it just doesn’t take. I can hear the fakeness, the hollowness in any encouragement I try to give myself. My voice, my words, my music–all seems stifled by this feeling that if it’s not pleasing to others, it’s not worth a damn. (Maybe there’s also an element of “I don’t matter enough to take care of.”)

I’m fighting through this to go to voice lessons, to pursue my interests, see my friends, to seek happiness wherever I can scrounge it up, but again and again I come up against this utter absence of motivation. I want my damn SUCCESS already, the reward I’m owed for what feels like decades of hard mental and emotional work for other people, but instead I’m 34 years old, pretty much unemployed, facing defeat or lack in every direction, now looking up at a sheer cliff face called life, and I have no climbing gear. And no one else sees this mountain but me. đź’”

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The Most Heartbreaking Thing About Being Disliked

(This post is a bit all over the place, sorry!)

Often when people write about others disliking us, the “others” are described more as a faceless mob, just “haters,” unimportant to our daily lives. It seems a bit easier, at least to me, to brush off the negative opinions of others who don’t really know us. But what about when the people who dislike you are also those you loved and trusted? How do you deal when you still care about them and love them, but they greet you with sneering hatred or disapproval?

I have spent a large part of my life dealing with various folks who ended up hating or disliking me, even though I treated them with as much love as I knew how. The heartbreak of each of those instances still resounds in me to this day. Some, I later learned, were jealous of my talents and accomplishments; others were justifiably afraid of me and the overwhelming emotions I suffer; still others just apparently didn’t like me being who I am, creative and weird. But I still find myself thinking about these people, these former loved ones, and feeling weird guilt/regret for how negatively things turned out.

I never want anyone to feel active dislike/hatred, anger, pain, or fear because of me, because I know how hard those negative emotions are. Yet I am human, and thus capable of causing this kind of suffering in others without meaning to. I know I can’t control others’ emotions and reactions, but I’m still left raw by how they feel, too. Days like this, I find myself revisiting these messy heartbreaks, some of them almost three decades old, and wondering how I can ward off a situation like them in the future. At 34, I still am not sure how to guard my heart and mind against others’ emotions and reactions to me, and I don’t know how to get rid of the resulting guilt and regret. (I can pretend it’s not there, but not forever.) I also don’t really want to turn off my compassion and caring, either.

Anybody else ever struggled with this? Kinda feel like I’m talking all around it, lol, but maybe this makes sense?