Before my husband Ray died, I used to “go along, to get along.” In fact, I think I spent my life trying to please others. For example, I would do or say whatever I thought would make someone else’s life better or easier. If I took on the blame, or let someone else take the credit, I was making the ultimate sacrifice, which I believed would enable others to love and accept me.
My wake-up call came at the funeral home on the day I was to view my husband’s body for the last time. It was to be just me, my daughter, my son-in-law and my grandson. This moment in my mind was to be shared only with them. It was my desire that the four of us would have a very private, personal few moments together. Unfortunately, it was not to be.
An outsider decided to make his presence more important than my wishes. This person stayed in the room and took over tender conversations that I alone wanted to have with my grandson. Additionally, this person gave answers to questions not asked and offered prayers without invitation.
I stood in shocked silence while letting this all take place because I did not want to disappoint anyone. After all, even in that moment, everyone else’s feelings were more important than mine … I thought! After all, I was a people-pleaser. Hmm… does the word doormat come to mind?
A few days after the funeral home experience, I just woke up. It was like I had been sleeping my whole life. I became determined that I would never ever again allow someone to rob me of my power.
Speaking up for myself at times has not been easy. I must admit, as I master this new skill, I have made some mistakes. However, it is a skill worth learning, so I will keep trying because loving myself is what gives me the power to love others.
I’m sorry you experienced such rude and obnoxious behavior from someone who should have known better. I definitely would have said, “Excuse me, but we had planned to have this time by ourselves. I’m sure you’ll understand.” It really bothers me that someone treats you this way, but I am very glad that you became more of an advocate for yourself because of it.
Hurt feelings leaves scares that can last a lifetime. Leaving one to trust only their closest family other people actions or lack of care or concern. Can haunt foot a very long time we all carry burdens. Bit if we try to remember. We are given only as much as we can beEar and forget all the little trails others put upon us we can endure
I just. got my wake up call by reading this.post. I had relatives that did the same thing. I had always done everything my. Husbands way. When he died in augist12 2011.I am still tru ing to find out who I maybe my journey. will be more joyful by finding out who I really am now.
Cathy, I can so relate. All my life I put everyone else’s wants and needs before my own — especially my family’s. I also “went along” with whatever my husband wanted to do — I was perfectly happy to always let him take the lead. We had been married for 42 years when he passed away in December 2011, and I didn’t know what to do because he was not there anymore to tell me.
I became a different person when my husband passed — one that nobody recognized, including me. A very wise counselor told me that I now need to learn to be selfish — that I would have to learn to say “no” to people, including my daughter, and that this would not make them happy since I had really never really done that. So that is what I am attempting to do — be selfish, stand up for myself and take charge of my own life. It is not always easy and I really still don’t say “no” very often, but I have done it on occasion and it is becoming easier.
A friend of mine told me to remember what they tell you in the safety check on an airplane. To put YOUR oxygen mask on first because that is the only way you will be able to take care of your children. Great analogy. I think we have to do this. Put our oxygen masks on first — take care of ourselves first so that we will be there to help our children.
Take care of yourself.
Thank you also for this. I have been the same was all my life but since my husbdand died in July 2014 I have learned this leason the hard way. Stay strong.
I too let things happen that I didn’t want them that way. I was so sad and couldn’t put words together to talk about for about 4 months. It still after two years bothers me that I let someone take over and Now I have take my life back and am running my life the way I want it. I wanted to say thank you for your words of taking over again and never letting people us you . Thanks for the special words I am glad I have stopped and thought of how my life will be.
Not living for anyone else but me and family.
I can so relate to this! I was always concerned about what everyone thought about me. When I became a widow, also in August 2012, the worst had happened to me. Nothing anyone thought of me could be worse. I feel liberated!
Cathy, thanks for this article. Wow! That is exactly what I do. It’s never about me or what I want or think. But how does a person change that box they have put themselves in? Well, I think I need to work on that. Thanks. Nancy