Emotional Caretakers

I love how this soft focus makes this photo look like a painting 🙂

Dang, I got a slow start today, I awakened with my a** dragging. I was not refreshed by my sleep, perhaps it was the silly dreams I had, heh. Viggo Mortensen was in it, and someone chopped down and stole some bell peppers and jalapenos I grew, lmao. I was upset and screaming that I hoped they were really hungry and needed them, omg. And in my dream, I thought how ridiculous I was being because I could just go out and buy bell peppers and jalapenos. Then I woke up because I didn’t want to keep being upset and screaming in my dream.

The air quality held out today and I got a walk in. There were grasshoppers! One even hopped on my hand, it was so sweet. I was careful where I stepped so I wouldn’t squish them. I love watching them hop/fly away.

Here’s the video I did tonight.

It used to be I’d find myself becoming worn out, drained, and negatively impacted by people who continuously turned to me as an emotional validator, a person who listened, empathized, and comforted. It came to be expected of me and this was okay as long as it was balanced and infrequent as it is with mature people with solid self-identity and awareness. These people tend to have healthy boundaries.

The problems arose when it became the default. This only happened with some of the people I interacted with who tended to be on the narcissistic end of the personality spectrum. They tended to be emotionally immature and this caused them to be self-absorbed and oblivious to their impacts on others.

I was looked to as an emotional caretaker. They would complain about the same things repeatedly and tell the same stories of victimization and negativity. With some people every day there were complaints, there was always something that happened that they were angry and upset about. I got to hear all about it.

Eventually, it began to weigh me down and drain me. I’d dread interacting with them and with some people I’d try to avoid upsetting them even more because then it would be worse for me. You know the walking on eggshells type of relationship where you are codependent and try to keep the peace by avoiding any confrontation or anything that might possibly trigger them.

Eventually, I ended those relationships because they were imbalanced and unhealthy for me. But then later, again in another relationship that initially began healthily took a turn into me being looked to as a caretaker again, where it was emotionally draining for me and imbalanced. But this time I spoke up and respectfully established boundaries before it was too late. It worked!

How did I do it? I explained that I loved them, but I was reaching my limit on how much I could listen to the same complaints over and over again. I said I needed to take care of me, my health, and my peace too. I suggested they may need some counseling for support to take the burden off of me. If they attempted to unload on me excessively I would gently reiterate my boundaries. The person went to counseling, saw a doctor too, got on medication, and learned new coping skills so they could be more self-sufficient and independent. Whew, what a relief for me.

It’s healthy to lean on one another for emotional and spiritual support, but it has to be balanced, a give and take with healthy boundaries and maturity. A healthy relationship is interdependent, not codependent.

https://psychcentral.com/lib/codependency-vs-interdependency/

https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/8-signs-youre-in-a-codependent-relationship-1230154

https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/why-do-i-take-care-of-everyones-emotional-needs-except-my-own-0925175

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/stop-caretaking-the-borderline-or-narcissist/201411/red-flags-emotional-caretakers-part-one

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/stop-caretaking-the-borderline-or-narcissist/201404/when-relationships-are-based-manipulation

I learned that in order for relationships to work I had to take care of me first so I could have the energy to be there for others within boundaries. Now when I begin feeling drained or resentful, I take inventory to make sure I’m not falling back into old, unhealthy patterns. I am quicker to address the areas that need boundary enforcements. I speak up and stand up for myself. It’s taken me a long time to get here, but I am so thankful to keep learning and growing. It gets better and better. Yay!

Michelle Miyagi
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