Now that I am realizing that my M.O. has been to make things OK for other people, I am more and more aware of where this has seeped into my life.
My partner has pointed out that I am good at “doing the right thing.” And that is true. I was taught to think of others first. I learned very young how to impress certain people. I figured out what they were looking for and brought that aspect out of myself. I never saw it as becoming something I wasn’t. I just always saw it as an aspect of myself. I still believe that is true, but I also feel that those aspects were over developed in an attempt to make things comfortable/okay/safe for those around me.
I didn’t feel safe if they weren’t okay with me, so I bent my ways. Of course, I never had a partner (until now) that pointed that out. They were too busy enjoying the benefits of my M.O.
I have found myself feeling compelled at times to wash the dishes when I didn’t want to, cleaning up when I didn’t want to, being accomadating when I didn’t want to, etc. Until recently, I felt that I wanted to do these things, because I often derived much pleasure from the pleasure of others, or from the love and attention I received from, say, dressing the way a partner likes.
There is definitely something to be said for doing nice things for those you care about because you know it will make their day easier, or simply to bring a smile to their face. When it is done unconsciously and nearly compulsively, as if Mom is still there making you do it, then it is unhealthy.
When a partner withdraws, I have a habit of focusing on that person, trying desperately to figure out what happened. I realize I should be concentrating more on myself, but I often go to thinking about the other person and what came up for him. I realize now that is because I desperately wanted to know what made him withdraw so that I could avoid triggering that in the future. Even though it’s his shit, I want to not trigger that. If I trigger that, I get less love and affection. Of course, this isn’t a conscious thought, but it has been a motivating factor for me.
My task now is to not feel that I have to make people okay with me. And I have to accept that I may not get the attention I am used to eliciting from people. At first, that is scary, but then I realize that by bending to the needs of others, I only attract those who like people whom they can mold. By being in my power and being more authentic, I will attract people in my life who are authentic and value that in others.