What if you were a child whose physical, mental, and/or emotional needs weren’t adequately met by your parents, possibly because one or both suffered from addictions, alcoholism, and/or chronic mental or physical illness?
You probably decided early on that you were responsible for taking care of yourself, since your parents weren’t doing a good enough job of it. You found yourself trying to meet your parents’ emotional needs even though it should have been the other way around. You may even have taken on an adult role in the household by taking care of younger siblings, cooking dinner, and cleaning the house.
As you grew up, you became an Adult Child of an Alcoholic, whether or not you had an alcoholic parent; many family dysfunctions have the same effect on children as does parental alcoholism. You became codependent.
What does this mean? It means that you have learned to think, feel, and act as though other people are more important than you are. You believe that it’s OK to take care of others’ needs and wants, but it’s not OK to take care of your own. You are a chameleon, constantly adjusting to other people. You do your best to make others happy, even when it’s impossible. You have low self-esteem.
You have dysfunctional or even toxic relationships (with family, friends, romantic partners, and coworkers) which may be emotionally, physically, and/or sexually abusive.
At some point, though, you may decide that you’ve had enough, and that it’s time to make sure your needs are met, too. The problem is that you’ve spent so much time taking care of others that you don’t really know who you are if you’re not taking care of someone else. You’re not sure how to get your needs met, and you feel guilty for even thinking about it.
If this sounds like you, let me assure you that taking “me” time is not only beneficial to you; it gives you more energy to help others, too.
Check out my book, “Me” Time: Finding the Balance Between Taking Care of Others and Taking Care of Yourself. You’ll recognize yourself in the book’s stories and illustrations, and you’ll gain simple, easy-to-apply tools that will empower you to choose more positive ways of thinking, feeling, and acting.
The goal is to find a healthy balance. And I know that you can achieve it!