Thursday, 3 September 2009

Give and take

Yesterday I got told off very nicely, cause I was being vague and not answering a question. I was being invited to go and visit a friend. She'd said three times I should go and visit, and I'd not picked the idea up at all. And it wasn't because I didn't want to it's far more complex than that.In the end she was very organised about it and clear about what she was asking, and I accepted with pleasure

I am very good at giving, whether personally of professionally. I'm always organising things for my friends, outings, meals, whatever. I have two sons who would get the coat off my back if they needed it. I give out endlessly to my sister and her family. I give of myself in my job all the time. I work very hard to help people feel differently about themselves. I spend happy hours when driving thinking of who I would give money to if I won a million pounds. I rarely think about what I'd do with the money I'd keep, except vaguely about what would be enough to live on.

But I am absolutely lousy at being given to. I get embarrassed, I believe I'm not worthy. I can't believe that people like me enough to want to give to me. I hook into this guilt stuff about .... if they only knew me, they'd not really want to give to me. It's my job to give and not to take. And on and on I go inside reciting this drivel.

And yet I also know that without question I have a lot of very wonderful friends. They are not my friends cause they feel sorry for me, they are not my friends cause they can exploit me, they are not my friends because I'm a soft touch.

They are my friends because we have an equal relationship of give and take, as all true relationships should have. I listen to them in times of trouble and they do the same for me when I need support. All that is given and understood.

So why the bloody hell do I go to this place of being unworthy. It's not new, in fact compared to a while back I'm much better at believing I am worthy, particularly as my proper name Amanda actually means worthy of love and I have battled with myself to buy into it's meaning in the last couple of years.

I really don't know the answer as to why I go to this daft place, there are lots of contributory factors which emphasise the need to give. I was brought up my parents to look after my little sister and I still do, as I seem to have so much more than her, whether it's inner security or the ability to buy a new moisturiser. As a child I was encouraged to look after the home, I was doing the family ironing by 12 years old, as my mum had a really bad back and found it difficult.I learnt to massage my Mum's back at about the same age. There were expectations on me as the eldest to be responsible and generous with myself.

I went into nursing, now there's a place of not mattering, as it is the nurse's job to care without question. Whether they are caring for the patient or doing the doctors bidding.(I will accept the latter may have changed in the 30 years since I worked in a general hospital!!)

I have worked my entire life in environments where it is my job to give, caring for others. I wouldn't by the way, swop it for anything, I do have the worlds best job!

But the downside is an almost life long training in not expecting to be given to, and an ability to give. What a lot of my clients are amazed at is, that is it they who are givers and when they find they have no-one to give to them, they end up in therapy. It's not healthy not to be able to ask for help.

And I know that sometimes I yearn for the phone to ring, and that I'm incapable of picking it up and saying help. My friends say phone anytime, we're here for you. And I simply can't do it, until I'm so desperate and I have no choice. I cannot easily phone people up. And, as in recently, without fail when people have phoned me I get in my question first, as to how they are. As if my vulnerability doesn't need any space, even though that's why they've phoned me in the first place!!!

And yet I know that I am loved, and that people would help me as much as they are able day or night, it's just so nonsensical how I tie myself up in these knots of not mattering, when I know I do. And even more importantly, if I know I love giving, then I really don't have the right to deny others to give to me, without my hooking into a really daft agenda.

So if you have said phone me and I haven't it's not that I haven't wanted to, it's just..... well you know!


Anonymous said...

You're a lovely person. People respect you, they like you and enjoy your friendship. Life is about give and take. It would be a better world if everyone understood that.

Lovely post to read.

CJ xx

Helen said...

I think you are one of the most interesting people I've met here in blogland. I love your candor, your insight ... your ability to write what you feel.

Have a wonderful weekend ....

speck of dust said...

I think it's great that you can be honest in your friendships about how you feel. So many people are too afraid to. It's something I've learned recently, although I still revert back to making everyone else feel ok at expense of myself sometimes. But I'm so much better at being able to accept help without feeling awkward and unworthy about it. I just think that it's making the other person happy to help.

Angela said...

I think you are honouring me with your visit! There is no such think as giving or taking, it is an exchange of time/parts of our lives/feelings...anything, but always on an equal level. Always.

Rach said...

I completely get where you are coming from, one of my worst tricks when I am feeling out of sorts is not to answer the phone because I don't want to burden someone else with my problems.

I suppose that means I don't accept the give and take just the give which like you I do a lot of but most of them time without even knowing I am doing it.

But we are special and well loved a the end of the day, just need to realise it..xx

Angela Recada said...

Hello Mandy,

I've been catching up with your blog, and first of all I'd like to wish you a belated Happy New Year. You do, indeed, deserve to start the new year early. You have been through so much. I hope the worst is behind you.

This post is very interesting, and I understand these feelings well. I come from a long line of people who don't ask for help, and I also find it difficult. I can gladly do whatever it takes for others, but feel uncomfortable (and surprised and emotional) when someone does something nice for me. Since we are aware of it, now, maybe we can work on changing our attitudes.

It seems to me that you are a very lovely person!


justme said...

If I had your phone number I would phone you right now. Just because you are lovely.
Catching up on your blog, it seems you have had a very eventful and sometimes difficult as well as sometimes wonderful, year. I think its brilliant that you have taken the plunge and that you are putting your house on the market and moving.
I toatlly understand about wishing someone would call, and yet not calling them. Even though friends are probably sitting at home thinking the same! You seem to me to be someone who is much loved, with a wonderful strong, network of friends. I won't say you are lucky, because I doubt it is just luck. You are a giver, and that reaps rewards.
Sorry I have not been around much lately. You are still one of my favorite bloggers.

Linda - Gold Coast said...

Very wise words written above Mandy. You are loved and respected by some many but I so understand where you are coming from. You have been in my thoughts and I have been praying that life is treating you better every day. I am eager to see a buyer for your home. Have a lovely weekend Mandy. Linda xoxo

Picsie Chick said...

Mandy, you are wonderful and I am richer for knowing you. Thank you. Yes, you give well, and you don't ask for what you need. I like that you can remind yourself that receiving is allowing someone else the happiness of giving. Beautiful.

Sending you big warm hugs

Pam said...

Hi Mandy. Please accept being given to. My Mother gives so much, but won't allow others to do the favour. Any gifts, she will not receive with joy and delight, but stresses it upsets her that we spend so much - beautiful home cooked meals she insists she has enough already and shoves it back.Flowers are a waste -she "has them growing everywhere". Trips? Too expensive, and books? Well there's the library isn't there.She won't ring me -"Don't want to bother you",or come to a meal "you'll just go to too much trouble". I am sorry to write such a long response here,but this attitude creates sadness in those who love and care about "givers who will not receive".Her neighbours were so sad because she cancelled a birthday lunch they'd arranged for her at a lovely venue, "because you'll all "have to" (?)spend too much -and it's too expensive - come to my place!!!".I hope you are laughing at this, because in the end friends/family have to take the bull by the horns and say, as your friend did ..."Ring...accept...visit, now!!.xxxxx

Mel said...

I love what Pam shared.

It's right up there with WPIML who regularly refreshes my memory with a "who are YOU to cheat people out of an opportunity?!"


I limp every time......
And I try very hard to remember that my worth and value just IS, yaknow?

((((((((((( the byrdie ))))))))))))

Susan DeAngelis said...

sutble hints, don't you love them.

And yet I know that I am loved, and that people would help me as much as they are able day or night, it's just so nonsensical how I tie myself up in these knots of not mattering, when I know I do. And even more importantly, if I know I love giving, then I really don't have the right to deny others to give to me, without my hooking into a really daft agenda.

This really spoke to me.
Thanks so much,

Wonderingsoul said...

Wow! I don't know how I go here but your post about giving but being unable to receive is so spot on!
I know just where you are coming from! In fact, I'm right there too!
I had a particular event in my life when the whole thing was brought home to me by someone telling me I was there for them but wondering who was there for me. Lightening bolt.
Who was?

And nobody really... because I wouldn't ever allow them to be.
Most of my friendships, whilst the otion wuld always be there for me to b supported, are a tad unbalanced because of my inability to be 'given to'.

I suspect that this inability which some of share has something to do with being quite frightened of being seen as vulnerable? weak?
Not sure!
Either way, it sucks sometimes to long for the phone to ring but to be unable to say 'help' when it does.

Thanks for a great post.