"I can't stand the thought of someone else being unhappy with me."
Your superpower is making others happy. You’ve been good at this for as long as you can remember and you’re often the one people turn to when they’re struggling. Friends and loved ones would agree that without them even having to ask, you have an uncanny ability to discern what they need and you move heaven and earth to give them that. It’s typically felt good to play this role and be the dependable, reliable one people turn to for support. Yet for a while now, it’s not felt so good anymore.
Maybe it’s that you’ve noticed that you’re “off” and showing up for loved ones in the way they have come to expect brings with it some negative feelings like anger, resentment, and guilt. Maybe it’s that a loved one is struggling with a problem that you’re unable to solve for them and the anxiety and sadness this “failure” is bringing up for you is consuming you more than is appropriate. In either case, you wish you could step back and not take their problems on as if they were your own. You wish you could focus on your own needs for once and take care of yourself a little bit too but wouldn’t that be selfish and mean? Do you even know what your own needs are anymore after so much time spent prioritizing everyone else? You feel so disconnected from yourself that you're not even sure you still have a gut sense or intuition.
First, it’s not selfish or mean to think about your own needs. You’ve heard the saying about needing to put your oxygen mask on first before helping others put theirs on. Well, it’s true and some part of you knows it otherwise you wouldn’t be here, researching therapists and reading these words. Second, there's a script running through your head telling you that your worth is contingent on how good others around you feel as a result of your actions. Where did it come from and why does it exist? Does it serve you at this point in your life or is it harming you now? I like to work with clients to figure that out and then tear that script up. Let's re-write your story and turn it into one where you don’t have to choose between yourself and your loved ones. You can be a worthwhile person who both takes care of her own needs and shows up for others.