Sunday, November 04, 2007

Givers and Takers

I know it seems that I haven't been around much. I've been around, but I just can't seem to put my thoughts into coherent words lately.

I've been spending a lot of my time in thought about what I want from the future. I find myself old and used up. I need to replenish my soul. I need some fun and frivolity in my life. Unfortunately, I have no one to share fun with.

I've always been a "giver". I spent my childhood being a good girl, so I would make my parents happy and proud of me. I was always at the top of my class academically, and I NEVER got in trouble.

When I married, I reveled in creating a home and family for L. He had never had love or a stable home life. L bloomed into an entirely different person with my love.

As the years passed, we had many setbacks that put L into a tailspin. I was always there to pull us back onto the right track again. Anything that gets accomplished around here happens because I am pulling for it....every.step.of.the.way! I do 80% of the work, and 100% of the planning. For 30 years it's always been: "If there's a problem, MOM will fix it."

It's the same way at work. I've always given 110%. I've spent 27 years building up the clientele on my shift. I put 100s of unpaid hours into a business that L and I would, one day, buy from my Boss. Now, it seems like my Boss is deliberately trying to bankrupt herself. For years, I took up the slack of the older workers we had. NOW, I'm one of the older workers, and I'm still expected to take up the slack of the other workers who are less than half my age! The lives of our new co-workers are nothing short of insanity, and it ENRAGES me! I'm constantly surrounded by idiots and "takers"!

Right now I need to be able to come home to a safe haven and have someone take care of ME for a change! I'm old and used up. Do you think there's anyone who's willing to throw a lifeline to a tired old broad?


At 11/04/2007 9:05 AM, Blogger Cherie said...

Aw, Tshs, this makes me so sad. I know how you feel - I do. I don't think my living as a giver among takers is quite to the degree that yours is but I can empathize with wanting a place to just unwind and not have to be the 'solutions manual' for every single situation. It gets so old - and makes one feel, as you said, used up.

I know, too, that these times of exhaustion go away sooner or later, somehow there is a filling. I hope it comes soon for you.

If it's permission you need to feel okay with taking time for yourself, you have it. You've earned it, you deserve it, it's yours. Feel free to communicate to your peeps that you need some help, that you are weary.

You are welcome to come here, live in our little guest room, and let me pamper you! Any time!

At 11/04/2007 9:41 AM, Blogger Bridget Jones said...

I've got a guest room too, Tshsmom! Know what you mean about givers and takers, but to me maybe the issue is that you are and have always been the strong one, so everyone leans on you without realizing what other things you're juggling or how the cumulative weight is dragging you down.

It would be great for you, and for the others in your life, for you to stand up on your hind legs and shout "E-NOUGH already! Someone get in here FAST and HELP ME!!". Those words are hard for people like us to say, but it's past time for others to pitch in (remember the episode with me, my siblings, and taking care of Mom? Yeah, like that. It was very painful but it worked).

Sending you tons of love and hugs, you brave lady you!


At 11/04/2007 10:50 AM, Blogger Courtney said...

Have you ever tried going on strike?

At 11/04/2007 11:10 AM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Thanks for the lifeline girls!! You'll never know how much I appreciated it!
Don't be surprised if I take you up on your offer someday. ;)

Cherie, I do know that this feeling will go away. The only problem does L! He KNOWS that if he ignores me long enough, I'll pull MYSELF up by the bootstraps and become my "normal?", giving self again. After 30 years, I'm tired of this behavior on his part! To me, love means doing everything in your power to make your partner happy. This doesn't work if it's ALWAYS one-sided. :(

Bridg, you're soooo right!
I did finally say "enough is ENOUGH!"....a year ago. No results. A couple of months ago, I said it again. I even painstakingly wrote out what I needed. We have talked twice since then, and have made some progress...s-l-o-w-l-y. I know that he still doesn't totally GET IT! :(

All I REALLY need is a new set of dreams to live for, since all of our former dreams have been ripped away from us. The only dream I have left is to happily live my declining years with the man I love, with "happily" being the operative word. Right now that prospect looks pretty bleak. :(

At 11/04/2007 11:15 AM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Courtney, yup! The shit piled up until it was overwhelming to me, which is where it is right now too. A clean, orderly life isn't necessary to L. He just happily retreats into his own little world, leaving me to deal with the mess. :(

At 11/04/2007 11:56 AM, Blogger Hammer said...

I hear you loud and clear. I think we've lead mirror lives in some respects.

The only advice I can give is to let the stuff go that you have no control over. If you are being used and your efforts are unappreciated, maybe it's time to slack off and give some time back to yourself.

Burnout is a terrible thing to endure.

At 11/04/2007 6:30 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Hammer, agreed! I often recognize myself in your posts.
Thanks for the great advice. That's exactly what I'm trying to do.

At 11/04/2007 7:49 PM, Blogger Bridget Jones said...

Double what Hammer said!!

At 11/04/2007 11:44 PM, Blogger MonicaR said...

Oh tshsmom - I feel bad about your situation. I know, too. It's time to just take some time for you. You just have to do it.

I hope you get things worked out. Troll and I go back and forth on this. When I'm down for the count, he just cannot deal with that. It's no good. Sometimes they need to be the strong one.

At 11/05/2007 1:32 AM, Blogger SME said...

It's times like this I wish I didn't live a country away! :(

But we're always a phone call away.

At 11/05/2007 9:20 AM, Blogger Jeannie said...

Geez tshsmom - I think we've been reading eachother's thoughts over the last while! It occurred to me just this morning there are so many things that women in particular or at least some of us, do as a matter of course, that others don't even think about. We see it as picking up the slack but they see it as "our" job! I think it's really that we are prisoners of our own conscience. And when we have the energy, we don't mind, but when we are tired, worn out, feeling old, these things are the burden we've come to shoulder. I've been thinking myself of actually formally delegating duties to family members and employees. So that they understand that officially, I am not the one responsible for the tasks - they are while they are under my authority.
All the best - wish we were a wee bit closer to go out for a (n old) girl's night out. I need it too.

At 11/05/2007 10:35 AM, Blogger Wandering Coyote said...

So, so sorry to hear this, TSHS. I don't know what I can do for you from here other than offer you my love and support. I also have a spare room.

You shouldn't feel the need to ask for permission to take some time for yourself. If no one can see you need and deserve it, then there's a real problem out there with the people in your life. Take some control and let the chips fall where they may. Set some boundaries. Assert yourself. I don't know what else to tell you.

At 11/05/2007 4:01 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Monica, I know! He keeps saying "I don't know what to do". How about reading the step-by-step instructions I printed out for you!

SME, your phone call cheered me up a LOT!! I LOVE you!!!

Jeannie, I know we're in the same boat from reading your posts. I soooo identify with you!

I think our problem is the way women our age were raised. We were taught to take care of our families and suck it up when it comes to OUR needs.

A girl's night out with you sounds exactly like what we need!

WC, thanks; love you too!

At 11/05/2007 7:01 PM, Blogger Notta Wallflower said...

Oh my word, I can SO relate to what you're saying, especially about being the "good girl". Like you, I've always done things for others, but only recently starting doing things for myself.

I know you want someone to have fun with, but you've always spoken positively about L, and you have a marriage that has stood the test of time. Even though you both have your "down" times, I'm hoping you still have fun together.

It seems like some of your frustration is that you and L have different ways of doing things and different priorities about some things. Add to that that you've been married how long and have always fixed things? When someone gets used to that, I'd imagine it's hard to break out of that mold, especially with respect to what others expect from you.

I know I don't have as much life experience as you, but there are two things I've learned to do to make sure I'm not always the "fixer": learning how to say "no" nicely, and learning how to ask my partner (being specific) for what I need from him. The only other thing I can think of is that I'd go crazy if I didn't have time just to myself. I know you have a busy schedule, so carving that time out for yourself is difficult, but not impossible. Sounds to me like you need some "me" time.

My heart goes out to you...

At 11/06/2007 8:22 AM, Blogger Vancouver Voyeur said...

Wow, disappear for awhile and all hell break loose! My sister, Pat, was having trouble posting to your blog so I came here to post her message. I'll put it at the end of mine. Anyway, here's your lifeline, contact me by e-mail, I'll give you a place to stay for a week (MD), take you to places where you can find peace and pamper you like there's no tomorrow. I'll also throw in my own version of free counseling and see if we can't get you patched up and back to the job of living life. Here's Pat's message:

Karen, I can not post for Tshsmom. But if you can post it for me. When you get time. Thanks Hopefully she will see it.

Hey just want you to know that there is an extra place here if you need to get away (NY). Sometimes even a few days can help. God bless Karen for the gift of coming to her house eariler this year. I ended up having a heart attack any way. Its really hard to step back, and let things go. But sometimes you just need to. And they will either step up or not. If not, ask, if it is really important any way. But honey sure do feel for you, as am in the same boat.

Ever been to Central New York State. ? Am going to pray for you. Pat

ps so much easier to give advise then to take it :)p

At 11/06/2007 11:10 AM, Blogger tweetey30 said...

I know how you feel sometimes. But I have two small children to take care of and a husband that doesnt eat if I am not here to take care of him... I went home with his sister when Kora was 18 months and I went home to our home here in GB and it looked like a tornado hit it inside. He wasnt eating that well and he was sick. I dont know what he would do if I wasnt here.

Well anyway you know you are always welcome here. I dont know if I could pamper you as well as VV but it would give you a place to get away from.

At 11/06/2007 12:41 PM, Blogger Gardenia said...

Well, here is a rope I'm throwing - from one tired old broad to another.

It's so hard when things don't turn out like we've planned. In fact, its scary. Because it means finding a new path, and that with no instructions! And as women we crave security and more than a "hello" and "goodnight" from our husbands.

I wonder if my "H" and your "L" are related somehow. I drew a line, told H we go to counseling or its over. He chose the over part, but only left emotionally, but he was already gone anyway years ago. So we live together like two strangers. Only strangers are more polite to each other. What I can't figure out is why he has over a hundred books on marriage - is he living out his fantasy world through them?

I quit pulling him through everything, so basically he now eats, works, sleeps, comes home and lays in bed watching TV. Not much of a life I would think, but he defends it to the death of the marriage.

Comes to a point where a person can't fix anything, including themselves I think. I'm so tired, but not ready to die yet.

Sorry gal, to tell you all this - but I think its up to us to get out and start rustling ourselves up the semblance of a life irregardless of those that suckle our life out. I've tried that and it doesn't always work either, but I'm taking my lessons learned and continuing on in hope.

At 11/06/2007 3:42 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Notta, nope, no fun for quite a while! I don't know how this slipped away from us, but it needs fixing NOW.

VV and Pat, thank you soooo much! I'd like nothing better than to meet the 2 of you!! We definitely need to get together in the near future.

Thanks for the warning Pat! I didn't know that you'd recently had a heart attack. I pray that your recovery is going well!
I watched a series of shows on Oprah about aging. According to the show, I'm a walking time bomb. That's why I'm trying to change a lot of the stressors in my life.

Tweets, be careful or you'll wind up in my situation. J needs to learn to take care of himself sometimes. If something happened to you, he needs to know how to take care of everything and the girls.

Gardenia, L NEEDS to read this comment of yours!! I keep telling him that this is the way we're headed. I want a husband, not a roommate!
L would never cooperate with marriage counseling either.
I really do need to learn how to spend time and money on myself. Now if I only had time and money. :(

At 11/08/2007 1:52 PM, Blogger Squirl said...

I also did the good girl, give 110% thing for years. My ex took advantage of that big time. I got lucky with Ichabod, he knows how to do laundry and vacuum.

I'm sorry you're at this low point right now. Sounds like you could use an energy fill-up.

How much could you let go at work? She's running the sucker into the ground as it is. Too bad you can't move to a bigger city and find better jobs.

I hope you're doing better today.

At 11/12/2007 8:51 PM, Blogger Gardenia said...

Spending time and money on oneself IS very important. And if we've not ever done that, it takes a while to figure it out, how best to do it without creating hardship on our family, but if we lose our sanity that would create a hardship as well, right?

I finally started keeping some of my wages back ("H"'s idea of a perfect marriage is one where the wife kicks her wages over to "H" to manage), and doing something for myself once in a while.

I was so tired of having to give a tongue tied explanation for buying myself a new shirt or a food he thinks is unnecessary for me to have. Or having the blame heaped on me when his checkbook wouldn't balance, because he refused to sit down and draw up a budget and adhere to it together.

Also I don't go anywhere much with him anymore - I figure if he can't be pleasant and have a good time, he can stay at home with his TV in bed. Again he made that choice by being a butt whenever I ask him to go somewhere with me. I said fine, but if you want me to stay home with you and be as miserable as you are, then you are going to be real disappointed,and I went back to school.

I'm not so old I want to die - yet! Plenty of time to lay in bed watching TV after I'm 90! Not that doing that is bad - its just bad if that's all you do.

The scary thing is, they never listen to us. We can talk and talk, and if they ignore and ignore, we can only assume they want to live their lives essentially alone and miserable.

There just came a time when the stress of "holding it all together" and "making everything all right" broke me down physically and now all I have energy for is taking care of that grandson and myself. And sometimes not even that. I don't want to see you get to that point.

At 11/13/2007 6:42 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Squirl, I've done a LOT of stepping back at work lately. No more donating time for me!

Thanks Gardenia!
That's why I'm making a stand for change around here NOW! I don't have the energy to hold it ALL together anymore. Just because I've done it for 30 years doesn't mean I'll do it FOREVER.


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