Attending to your needs vs selfishness May 7, 2023 4:37:28 GMT
Post by mysteryuser on May 7, 2023 4:37:28 GMT
Of late, I've been grappling with learning how to value my needs instead of fawning when I feel like I'm being abandoned. In my previous relationship, there were multiple times where I "agreed" (unconvincingly) to do something that I didn't want to do (no abuse! I was safe. Just matters of communication and compatibility) because of the fear that not doing something would mean the person would leave me. Whether or not they gave any indication of that, the thought of someone I'm *that* attached to leaving me was crippling for me and I was willing to neglect some of my needs to make the other person happy/stay. Needless to say, on some primal level, I felt like I needed that person to survive like I felt towards my parents as a child despite my adult self not *needing* them. I've been learning how to remind myself of this and work through this by reading and therapy and self-work.
An example that comes to mind is how I find it hard to say no without providing long-winded and elaborate excuses for the smallest of things. I'm working through the reasons and causes of all of this (I was "parentified" a lot as a child), and I rationally know that a healthy relationship needs two people to be happy and comfortable, and that I can't be expected to meet every single need of my partner if it's not comfortable for me. I rationally know I have the right to say "I am unable to do X because it makes me feel Y, but how about we find a middle ground instead?", but I can't help but feel selfish prioritizing my own needs before someone else's. I feel like not doing some of these "small" things makes me a bad partner. E.g., my ex preferred planning our meetings at the beginning of the week so that he could plan his week better, and he wanted me to initiate some of this planning. I felt like this wasn't needed because we had fallen into a routine of meeting on specific days and only had to decide whose apartment to meet at based on our (largely standard) schedules, and remembering to plan every Sunday felt like a chore to me. If I had validated my feelings about this and communicated it, we could've easily found some sort of middle ground. But I couldn't communicated because I didn't even think my feelings were valid. I felt like I *had* to comply, to make him happy, because I could "easily" do this "small" thing or I'd be selfish/ a bad girlfriend. This was exacerbated during heated arguments when I would "agree" to do whatever to keep him (including claiming I could stay in a city knowing I didn't want to stay in to make him stop breaking up with me, though later we got back together and this was figured out and we were able to come to a middle ground until the second/last breakup).
So I've noticed if I view my need as reasonable and valid, I am able to communicate it well. But how do I communicate a need that I'm invalidating? Something that I feel selfish for validating? How do I stop feeling guilty or selfish for prioritizing myself and putting myself before the other person? How do I stop feeling responsible for the person's happiness?