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People pleasing -do you put yourself last?

(15 Posts)
Alea Sun 20-Sep-15 11:51:18
As wives, mothers and grandmothers also possibly juggling careers and /or caring for elderly parents how many of you can identify with this?
I feel it could have been written by, about and for me!

janerowena Sun 20-Sep-15 12:20:01

Oh definitely, I have felt very confused over the years about this, wishing other people would be as considerate as me and wondering why they weren't. Then realising slowly that I was getting trampled all over. I am far better at saying 'No!' now, but still fall into the trap on occasion.

I have been watching a friend over the past five years, since she moved here. She cannot say No, childminds all her GCs and gets the older one to school and back miles away (and there is another on the way), is out every evening on village meetings because she is secretary to every club and PC and fund-raiser, and then spends the weekends 'supporting' her husband at his sporting efforts, out in the cold and mud, all year round. All I can say is, she has aged considerably over these past five years. She moved down to be nearer to her daughters but I don't think she realised how much they, as well as the village, would expect of her. I do tell her she does too much, she says 'Oh, I don't mind really' - and then has a bit of a moan a couple of days later!

janeainsworth Sun 20-Sep-15 12:22:13

Well we don't want to be like men, do we? Unable to multitask and thinking only of themselves.
To be honest I get sick of these articles exhorting us to think of ourselves before others - life isn't like that, we do have family to look after and friends DNS neighbours to look out for, and I agree with John Lennon that 'the love you take is equal to the love you make' (or words to that effect).

janeainsworth Sun 20-Sep-15 12:22:42

DNS? and

sunseeker Sun 20-Sep-15 12:29:04

I don't think we should stop saying yes to family and friends, but we should make some time for ourselves. I was always the type who would change my plans if someone asked me to do something, putting my own needs last. I no longer do that, I do help out people most of the time, but if there is something I want to do, I politely say no. Even if it's just that I feel I have done too much and want some quiet time to myself, I will say no. I think this makes me a much better person to be around as I am no longer silently resenting doing things, but doing them because I want to.

Of course, I am aware that many GNs look after grandchildren and without that childcare their own children may be in difficulties, but that is a different situation.

Nonnie Sun 20-Sep-15 12:55:07

Some people when asked to help out instantly think 'the answer's no, what is the question?' Then there are the ones who always say 'yes' and then find a way to make it work. Is there a middle line?

KatyK Sun 20-Sep-15 12:56:12

I put myself last to a ridiculous degree. Like janer I am constantly wondering how so many people are so 'up themselves'. I have many, many conversations with friends and acquaintances which go along the lines of: Me: 'How are you? How is your family?' I then hear every aspect of their friends' and families lives, what the dog had for dinner, without a single question about me and mine'. There are one or two exceptions to this obviously but in the main people are not interested. My next door neighbour is unbelievable. We went on holiday a couple of weeks ago. She knocked my door to say she was going away and would we take her post in etc as we usually do. She sat in our house and talked at me for 50 minutes, telling me where they were going, what they would be doing, all about every holiday she had ever had, what they ate. No mention of our holiday. I just said the occasional 'that's nice' or 'lovely'. Then off she went. I too feel trampled over, I rarely say no to anything and find myself going out to lunch etc with people I don't really like because I don't want to offend them. My upbringing was such that I was conditioned to feel that I didn't matter, something that has never gone away. WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH ME?

Alea Sun 20-Sep-15 13:11:09

I sometimes wonder at the degree of "competitive grandparenting "among some of my peers, to the extent that they hardly have a life to themselves. (yes I accept it is their choice, and it is lovely to be needed) but there are some whose weekday freedom, having retired from the day job, is virtually non existent because of childminding duties. All this is saying that it is fine to say"No" sometimes without feeling guilt.
And this is not just about grand parenting, it could be cakes for a coffee morning, selling raffle tickets, Church flowers or brass cleaning rota,, and many other commitments we often find it hard to say No to.

Teetime Sun 20-Sep-15 13:11:29

I enjoy my caring role with family and friends and my nursing career made me happy so I don't think of it in those terms.

Grannyknot Sun 20-Sep-15 13:39:49

I think "people-pleasing" is different to some of the examples above, and I htink it stems from something much deeper (as you suggest katy). I think it has to do with wanting to be liked or loved.

I know someone (a man) who is an arch people pleaser e.g. if you make a suggestion to him, e.g. "Oh you're coming up to London, would you like to come for lunch?", instead of saying "No, because I'm going to be in North London and you're in SW London" he will do everything in his power to say yes to please you, even if it means driving across London and actually ending up inconveniencing half a dozen people to please one person. All because of a vague invite, when all it required was to say "No, sorry, can't make it but thanks for the invite". So I've learnt now, I first make sure that it will be convenient/ find out more before I even issue the invite - because it can be painful to be on the receiving end of a people pleaser's attempts to please, once you have that awareness.

loopylou Sun 20-Sep-15 13:49:38

I do sometimes think I have 'mug' stamped on my forehead hmm
Somehow I end up feeding a neighbours two cats twice daily for three weeks without so much as a 'Thank you', at least twice a year. They don't even ask, the first I know is when their door key is dropped through the letterbox in an envelope saying they're away until whenever.

DH says I should say something but I don't know what! I'm not a cat lover and they invariably need cleaning up after they've been sick or pooped or disembowelled some poor creature on the work surfaces [yuck]


Jane10 Sun 20-Sep-15 14:14:18

I must say I do get fed up with "martyrs": people who take on too much then complain long and loud in a quasi self deprecating way about how busy they are and how tired they've become. They then moan about not being appreciated etc etc. I have to say I'm left thinking they're mugs!
Obviously I'm one of the selfish ones who prioritise my time and energies. Always say yes to GC duties though but I know my DD really appreciates this. No martyrs in our house!

kittylester Sun 20-Sep-15 14:30:15

I agree with janea and also Teetime. I probably don't put myself first but, in helping my children, mum, neighbours etc, I am doing what makes me feel happy. So I suppose that I am putting myself first. I think! confused

kittylester Sun 20-Sep-15 14:32:07

And, (thanks Ariadne) I'm not a martyr. I love being busy and I will be really sad (and probably feel very old) when I have got nothing to do but please myself.

M0nica Sun 20-Sep-15 15:23:34

Kittylester you hit the nail on the head with your last but one email but in your last email I think you make the mistake of thinking that being busy and pleasing yourself are mutually exclusive. They aren't. What you do is keep yourself busy doing things that you enjoy.

I belong to several groups to do with interests I have, I am on the committees, I volunteer to do things and at times it can be stressful and demanding, but I am doing all this in pursuit of something I enjoy.

I will always drop everything to help friends and family in emergencies. I looked after one member of my family for almost two months when they were seriously ill and there was no-one else available, but I would never volunteer to do something inconvenient or unpleasant just to please someone.