Is giving too much making you feel bad?
If you are a giver or suffer from a people pleasing syndrome, then you know what it is like to be in constant overdrive pleasing others while denying yourself the exact same things.
It is a lonely place to be in because no one, even the taker, will know or even bother to know what it is like to be on the giver’s end. They certainly benefit from our over-giving, but they never appreciate the energy, self-sacrificing, and efforts behind it.
The strange thing is that even though we do know that, we still continue on giving more and more hoping that one day they will reciprocate.
Are you expecting them to change in some way (like their feelings for you or behavior) by giving too much? If this is the case, then I do not believe it is giving. It is not giving, it is rather a subtle form of manipulation.
~ If I do this and that he will be obligated to reciprocate
~ If I please him all the time he will realize what a great match we are
~ If I give him what he wants he will have no choice but to give me what I want
~ I want him to see me for the great woman I am.
In essence, we are looking to get love, attention, commitment, approval, and whatever we desperately need from that person by over-pleasing and over-giving.
In some instances we may even be aware of being a super giver and that this is an issue in itself, but we may still not know how to change our ways and how to do things differently to achieve the needed results.
When giving and pleasing is the only way for us to relate to others, then quitting this behavior may feel uncomfortable and scary. It is a scary and uncomfortable change!
Quitting this habit may result in other people becoming angry, upset or agitated with us. It is a temporary adjustment of course, but still incredibly uncomfortable. What if they leave? What if they stop giving love and attention? What if the relationship falls apart? What if… what if... what if…
The thing is that quite often our pleasing and over-giving is our own problem, so to speak. We mistakenly assume they need this and that, plus if we provide more it will make us indispensable and impossible to break up with, BUT the reality is that they never asked us to do all those things or to give this much in the first place.
Open this ugly can of worms and see it for yourself. Do these look familiar?
~ Oh I know you watched my kids for me while I was out of town, but it does not mean there is something serious between us. Friends do this kind of stuff all the time.
~ I appreciate you driving to my place and cooking for us, but I am not sure we are in a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship. You did all of that, yeah, but it was your idea, remember? Why are you blaming me now for not being ‘thankful’. I am thankful! Thank you, you a great woman, but I am not ready for more.
~ How exactly is it my fault that you kept it all to yourself? I had no idea you were feeling this way. I get how you did not want to rock the boat and keep things ‘uncomplicated’, but you cannot blame me for not being able to read your mind. You should have told me how you feel.
We go far and beyond to meet their needs because that’s what we feel we should do or that it is the right thing to do. On some very weird level we feel obligated to meet their needs.
The common theme here is that although they - as a taker - may feel appreciative sometimes and somewhat guilty for taking from us, they are always quick to point out how they never ask us to do all of that which only proves my point:
Giving too much with a bunch of expectations attached to it is not giving. True giving has no expectations.
How do you know this is your case? It is actually pretty simple. After everything you have done for them do you still feel bad, depressed, and unappreciated? Do you feel like they are a thankless unappreciative pig who won’t return the favor or sometimes won’t even say “thank you”? Do you feel hopeless and helpless because your efforts did not pay off and did not yield the results YOU expected and wanted?
Do you feel sorry for yourself, lonely, and misunderstood? Do you feel like you've been taken advantage of?
When they won’t meet your expectations or won’t give you what you need you may want to stop and think: Is it worth extending myself, to sacrifice my comfort and the sense of well-being for someone like this? Am I getting the results I need? No? Then why continue?
Stop giving and see what happens.
They may regard you as selfish and confrontational as a result, but the point is you do not have to meet their needs especially if they are not willing to meet yours. This is so simple!
They may also get upset, disappointed, angry and call you names. You trained them to expect freebies so they do not know any different. You taught them to expect goodies under a Christmas tree, free rides, free handouts, free support, and free everything without giving that much in return. As a giver you put them into the position of a taker and now they have to re-learn their ways of relating to you.
Giving too much with the intention of changing something or someone is a form of manipulation where we still deny ourselves. We pretend like we have no needs, like we are ‘OK’ with such sh*tty treatment, like we do not notice rude behavior or anything that throws red flags, like we are always happy and totally content.
Even though we could be totally sick and tired of their ways we may still not want to bother them by saying it as it is. We want to pretend to be ‘not bothered’, independent, and not vulnerable.
We cannot really expect to put our needs and feelings second and expect others to put them first and meet them. I do not remember this ever happening to anyone, do you?
We need to make our needs known. When we speak up, one or the other of these will happen: they either step up to the game or will not. That’s when you know when to stop giving /expecting something and whether it is time to bail out.
You just cannot go on and on like this endlessly hoping for something that is not going to happen. Addressing your own behavior and speaking up may feel uncomfortable in the short term, but the payoff will be big and significant. The bottom line is - you will have no regrets!
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Articles - Cutting on being agreeable and saying YES all the time and Mental garbage unloaders and emotional vampires or if you feel like you need to talk to someone because your situation is too unique and most of the stuff you read on the internet is too generic and not helpful, then I would personally like to recommend you this super affordable online counseling service. You will not be disappointed.