Life Lesson: Caring Too Much

 

I feel like a lot of people have this problem. Caring too much is taking care of everyone’s problems before addressing your own. I think it comes from having an excessive amount of empathy for the people in your life. Which is really tough to address, ‘cause growing up we all get told “put yourself in someone else’s shoes” or “treat people the way you want to be treated”. When those things are overdone and used as your sort-of life motto, it gets out of hand fast. It feels so positive. Of course you want to take care of other people, spread yourself too thin, and not mind because you helped as many people as you could.

However, neglecting yourself has its repercussions. Some are not completely visible in the beginning, but you slowly realize. You realize you hate some of your friends because of it. You’ve taken over their lives, making them completely dependent on you, and it’s really hard. The work wears you down, but the smile on their face and gratitude keeps you going.

 

But, that gratitude turns into expectations. “I don’t need to do that right now, my friend will” or “they’ll help me with it later”. Slowly you start resenting them, you’ve put yourself in a place where all your relationships have become codependent. Them being dependent on your help and you being dependent on their happiness. Everything shatters when you get to your breaking point. You don’t understand what you did wrong, and you call your friends jerks and go find new ones.

I feel like I’ve lived my life like this during high school. I thought in college I got rid of it. I stopped caring so much for my friends and have just been taking it easy. However, I recently realized it just transferred into my relationship. I wanted to be around the person I was with, I wanted to take care of them, so they would take care of me. What I didn’t realize was that I was reverting to my old ways. After taking a break and analyzing what happened and what went wrong. Why I was so mad again, even though not much had changed in our relationship.

I realized that when I took care of people I was kind of wanting the same thing in return. The assurance that if I need them, they will be there and do the same for me. To stop my relationship from taking the toll for my faulty expectations, my partner moved out. We decided that living without me would allow me to stop unhealthily taking care of him so much. I will always care for the people I love; but, I’ll try not to be overbearing and expect the same back.