Oh the familiar beast of burden. Something I have felt all my life – well for as long as I can remember. With me, it manifests itself in 2 forms. Neither of them are particularly helpful and both of them are pretty exhausting in their own right. Here’s what I mean.
I have always taken a lot on. I have always been unable to draw a line as to where I need to stop lending support or helping out. I have always carried responsibility on my shoulders that aren’t mine. I have always found it really hard not to take on other people’s challenges and carry the emotional baggage that comes with them. These are never requested of me. They are never demanded. I just find it very hard to not take it on. And it is so frustrating for those close to me. To the point where people don’t want to be around me anymore or have anything to do with me. I understand it. It must be very annoying to turn to someone – just to lean on them – and then they try and fix everything for you and make their own feelings part of it. This is with friends, family, colleagues – even my own kids. My daughter has been struggling throughout this lockdown period and now she is back at school she is having some issues with a couple of girls in her class. Nothing major – just silly little girls saying they don’t want her to play with them anymore – just typical 10 year old stuff. And I simply cannot deal with it. I want to march round to their houses and confront them – and make them be nice to her and be her friends. When the lesson I should be telling her – and I have actually – is the lesson that I have never truly learnt myself. That the most important person there is her – her feelings and what makes her happy is what counts – not making other people happy. Fair play to her – she is very good at that and she is smarter than I am emotionally. But I still struggle with it. And it is something else that takes a toll on me.
Failing to establish emotional boundaries or to detach is pretty damaging – the mind and to the body. Mind wise it is about the pressure on the brain – the stress that you are affectively adding to yourself – and it is all down to not being able to control those aspects yourself. It is really tougher – tougher than people can imagine at times. It also affects those relationships. Friends that turn to you wanting to lean on someone and just rant or let off steam – end up having to deal with the reactions you have. It isn’t through choice. But it needs managing and it needs controlling. And that is something I struggle with no matter how hard I try. I always want to help. I will help pretty much anyone – but especially those close to me – even at times to my own detriment. I never want to be a beast of burden. To quote the Rolling Stones song that this blog is named after “My back is broad but it’s a hurting”; “I’ve walked for miles my feet are hurting”. The way I see it I would rather suffer emotionally and physically if I can make other peoples lives better – and that is really not the best way to be.
The other element of burden which I feel – is being a burden on other people. I have mentioned many times before about not fitting in anywhere or that I am weird and just totally different – not in a positive way either. I will try and elaborate on that somewhat. A lot of the time I feel like I am having an out of body experience. Like I am not actually in myself but I am a few steps away watching what is going on. I feel constantly in turmoil about what I am seeing and what I am feeling. I feel tense. I feel like I am being analysed and watched. I feel people are judging me because of what I look like (which is really bad but I am ok with that as I am used to it) and because I am different. I am, more often than not, the odd one out. I have left whatsapp groups set up by dads at the school because of racist or sexist posts so now no one talks to me in the playground any more. I volunteer at a foodbank and people think it is strange. I spend a lot of time with my kids. So I am ostracised. I am weird. Because I am different and therefore I am the odd ball. And I see all of that in my out of body experience – watching myself struggle to see how different I am and that people see me as weird. I am also a burden on those people that accept me. Again because of my interpretations and emotions it makes me hard to deal with – and that is a horrible burden to place on people. It is another reason why I do not fit in – in groups, with small amounts of people or even with close friends sometimes.
What does this all mean? How is this affecting my state of mind? In all honesty it just means I have a lot to learn and to change / affect more positively than I am at the moment. I am completely okay with that. I am willing and eager to improve myself and be better. I am also accepting who I am and what my capabilities are – my areas of strength and those of weakness – which I see as a big positive. It is all part of my journey – a journey that has many twists and turns but at the same time many opportunities to grow and learn. Which I am embracing. Understanding my emotions and thoughts are already a big sign of progress for me – so long may it continue.
Thanks for reading.