Thursday, January 8, 2015

A personal post

I recognize most posts are personal. But, this one is just a little bit more, as I realized something about myself the other day. I was thinking about New Year's Resolutions and what I wanted to accomplish in 2015.

I realized that during the course of my life I have often been second to people. As a child, my father had a serious heart condition and while I am an only child most of my childhood revolved around his health condition. I understand that keeping him alive was of paramount importance, but as a child it is difficult to comprehend not being like other families.

When my father passed away when I was 13, my life shifted. I remember being told I was to basically take on all the things my stay-at-home dad did and to a 13 year old this was unacceptable. While my mother took on more hours at work, she gave up bedtime, curfew, and anything to do with school - getting me up in the morning, making sure I did my homework, making my breakfast/lunch. I realize you will say her taking on the extra hours to make up the income difference was putting me first, but it doesn't feel that way when you are trying to come to terms with losing your father, being told to do all he did, and having all the "normal" childhood parental activities being taken away with you having to take on the responsibility of the parent.

Throughout school, I had friends who I thought liked me. But, at the first sign of someone talking behind my back, they turned their backs and believed whatever was said about me. I was not first in their opinion, it was better to believe the worst of me when it wasn't true. Makes it awfully hard to trust your friends as you get older.

During college and after, my mother started helping take care of my grandparents. My grandfather had Parkinson's disease and needed assistance. She would do so much for them that when it came to me, she would blow me off saying she was too tired. Many a time she would not follow through with something she promised. The two that stand out most were when I was planning my wedding:
  • I scheduled an appointment to try on dresses at a local salon after work. I arrived a few minutes early, but my mother never did. I convinced the shop to allow me to call her {this was before cell phones were common} and she told me she didn't feel well. She didn't think anything of just not coming and making no attempt at telling me.
  • After I found my dress, she said she was going to pay for it. I was surprised, but happy. When the dress came in, she went with me to pick it up. When the woman at the register told us the price, she make no attempt to take care of the bill. I pulled out my credit card and paid for it. 
Friends made since high school/college have not always been better than those who treated me as a second place friend. I had a friend who I met on-line and initially we weren't very close, but over time we became close. I assisted her in some highly emotional life situations and while she always claimed I was someone she could count on, she never treated me the way she did her other friends. It bothered me, but I took it as she didn't want the drama of upsetting others...until she started to ignore me, stopped answering my texts, then blocked me from her social media for no reason. Though, to be honest, it was her operating MO. Everyone knew it and I should have expected it.

After getting married, while my family did everything it could to make my husband feel a part of the family, all it felt like to me was my opinion/needs didn't matter. He was put ahead of me and my likes. And to make it even harder, his parents have always treated me...oddly. I've never felt like they care about me and never once have my preferences been taken into consideration. So, I have it on both sides - my family making me feel second to make my husband feel included and his family not caring about me - making me feel second in both families.

What does this have to do with my goals? I realized that constantly being put second by people who I feel should be putting me first {parents and close friends} really does a number on your self-esteem. It makes you find ways to make yourself feel better. As a young person/teenager what options do you have? I was given sweets to compensate for things that happened at home or to make me feel better when dad was in the hospital. When I got older and had some money, I could buy a cheap Tastykake or candy bar when I wanted to feel better...because we have all learned that sugar triggers the dopamine levels in the brain causing a feeling of happiness. And what does someone who feels they are not important want? Love and happiness...the emotions sugar can push in the brain.

I think 2015 needs to be the year I put myself first. I have allowed people to put me second in their lives so long {no matter what they tell me} that I've also put myself second. I have allowed myself to devalue me and my wants and needs. I know what I should do to make myself happy, but I do not do it instead falling into bad habits created as a child to keep myself from being upset over how I'm treated. I think I need to stand up for myself to others, not in a mean sense, but to not allow others to walk over me because I don't want to lose their friendship. Rather, I need to tell people how I feel and if they are offended then they really weren't friends with the real me.

If you are still reading, I applaud you. This was a long one, especially for a blog post. I needed to get it out and see where it leads me. And I believe it's leading me to put my needs and desires first so I can be happy with my life and be a better person to those who truly love me and put me first.


  1. I'm so sorry you had to deal with all this. I'm proud of you for taking your life in your own hands. You go girl!

    1. Thank you Christine! It does a number on the psyche, but at some point you have to say enough is enough and do your thing. It's going to be a process because I'm sure not used to that! LOL!