Sacrificing your needs on behalf of others is an unsustainable state. Read More
I have been a caregiver for my wife for probably over twenty years. Early in our relationship, when she was more well, she had sort of rescued me from a nonpurposefull, low self esteem life. As the caregiving duties increased, I resented them, but sort of felt they were payback for what she did for me. Over the years, I have had my share of resentment about my various roles. However, the longer I have been at it, the more the resentments have faded until sacrificing for her has become quite routine and less troubling. We have a realy close relationship, and I now I just see her care as an extension of me. Yes, at times it was because I was needy. And yes, I do like when people recognize the efforts I put out. However, we have a very close relationbship, and it would never have happened if I had not decided to give up certain aspects of my own life. It's definitely not for everyone, but it would take an awful lot to drag me away from this relationship. Glenn
Hi Glenn, Thank you for your very thoughtful comment. And you raise an extremely relevant issue, that of caretaking. When one is in that position, over-giving takes on a whole new meaning and, as you point out perfectly, sometimes, we have no choice. It sounds like you have done a great job integrating this into a healthy perspective for yourself and your wife. You sound strong and grateful, two very impressive emotions for a long term marriage. Continue to take good care of yourself, and your wife.
I actually probably wrote that comment as if I were a saint. I do have my own life separate from my wife, and indulge in my own thingsa when I can. Sometimes, even though I give her the extra care she needs, we are more like two ships passing, and I tend to like it that way. So we're together, and then we're not. All under the same roof. Aren't relationships complex? Glenn
So true. I was involved with an over-giver once. In addition to some other problems, it kept me from getting to know her as a person, which was the whole reason I started a relationship with her in the first place. She didn't seem to realize how worth knowing she was--she always seemed to feel like she was worthwhile *because* she did this and gave that, but that wasn't true.
She had a string of exes who had used her for her emotional generosity and sometimes I thought that her overgiving--or whatever it was that motivated her overgiving--was causing her to accept these people who wanted her selflessness, but stopping her from accepting people who wanted her as a person with different needs and strengths and weaknesses. But I don't know for sure. What I do know is that she deserved much better than she had been getting.
When I answered the questions listed in this post, I found myself over-giving. Thanks author, I found one more aspect of my own self. The reason behind being so over giving is the extreme care for the feelings of others. But now, I will set priorities for sure!
A "love bomber" who is benign most likely only wants you to reciprocate their intense feelings for you. But the worst case scenario is that the "love bomber" is a malignant narcissist or psychopath who is simply performing these seductive behaviors as a calculated manipulative tactic. Their goal is to convince you that they are madly in love with you and they are the man or woman of your dreams, but their real goal is to get you to trust them so they can exploit you: strip you of your financial assets and property, and bolt.
According to articles I've read at a site called "LoveFraud Blog," this "love bombing" tactic is commonly used by psychopaths, both male and female psychopaths. Who can resist receiving flowers or sweet phone calls every day? Who can resist someone who appears to be attractive and nice, and head over heels in love with you? Everyone wants to feel adored, right?
But be extra wary if a NEW friend does this. You don't know this person if you just met him or her. Take it slow. REALLY slow. Let your trust be earned by their long-term, consistently normal and reliable good behavior. See if they want you to meet their family and friends, or their co-workers, or their kids. See if they ever invite you to their home. Be even MORE extra wary if your new love-interest pressures you to commit exclusively to him or her right away.
Don't be taken in by "love bombing", like the small fish who swim up close to the dazzlingly beautiful light because its so alluring, only to be snapped up and swallowed in a milisecond by the large predator fish that the pretty light is attached to.
I love to give. I was verbally and physically abused too much by my mother. Yes, by my mother. At age 50 i am still not able to forget any of those stuff. The only way I find some peace of mind is by giving.
As an "over-giver", the only intimate relationships that I have felt truly happy and appreciated in have been with other givers. My first husband was a taker (posing as a giver), but my current husband is a giver and we have been married for almost twenty years. Maybe the answer is not to change who you are as it's wonderful to be a giver but to find someone who has similar qualities and make it work with them.
Yes, I agree. I have been the giver to several relatives and friends who just expect that I be the one who does...everything! I finally realized that I need to surround myself with more people like ME. Now, I am in a relationship with a wonderful man who is also a giver and I have several friends who are givers. My life is more joyful and I live in peace. Wish I learned this simple life lesson years ago.
More information about formatting options
Karen Kleiman is founder and director of The Postpartum Stress Center, a treatment and training center for prenatal and postpartum mood and anxiety disorders. more...
Who says marriage is where desire goes to die?