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!