Facing the heartbreak and dealing with rejection and betrayal by your family is an all-consuming pain that can eat you alive, if you let it. I learned this lesson from painful personal experience.
Other People’s Actions Are Not Personal Attacks on You
The stab-in-your-heart pain you’re feeling by their rejection comes from your belief that their action or inaction was a personal attack on you. It feels so personal. You may find yourself mentally spinning in circles constantly asking yourself, “Why did they do it?” How could they do that to me?”
Blaming Others Keeps You Feeling Powerless
But blaming them is only going to keep you feeling helpless and victimized. Because if you hold someone responsible for hurting you, until you get their apology or whatever else you need to gain closure, you will never have peace of mind.
Don’t make the same mistake I did and waste your time waiting for anyone to change. It’s not going to happen.
If you want to be free from the pain you are feeling, you have to be the one to make a change. You have to take a mental leap and see your situation from a fresh perspective.
The reality is that whatever anyone did or didn’t do that caused your suffering is the step they needed to take for their own self-preservation.
I know it hurts. I empathize with your pain. Their decision to take the path they did could have justified their reason for unconsciously or consciously pushing you out of their life. If that’s the case their choice is more a reflection of the turmoil that going on with them and has little to do with you.
The bigger picture is that the other person doesn’t have the capacity in their heart to appreciate and love you because of their own limitations, not yours.
What is Being ‘Too Nice’ Costing You?
In healthy relationships there’s a balance and reciprocity of give and take. If you pause and think about the relationship that you had with the person or family member who hurt you, you may realize that your relationship with them was lacking balance. Perhaps you were always the giver and they were always doing the taking.
Trying to please everyone will hurt you and diminish your sense of self. It will chip away at your self-esteem and you’ll find yourself continually in patterns putting yourself on the line for ungrateful people, hoping for them to give you a sense of being okay.
If you struggle with always wanting to do right by everyone and feeling the need to please you will eventually attract in your life people who treat you like a doormat. This is a sign showing you that you may be being too nice.
Sacrifice and Self-love
Do you find yourself making lots of sacrifices for family members and loved ones and never getting much in return? Do you spend a lot of time thinking and worrying about what they would say or what they would think of you if you risked disappointing them?
If that kind of one-sided pattern sounds like yours, you don’t have to feel trapped and you’re definitely not alone. There is a way out and I’ll help you find it.
Stop Looking for Love and Approval in Others: Love Yourself First
Although you may have been seeking out others to get their approval, acceptance and affirmation, people can’t give you what they don’t have for themselves.
If you are looking to others to give you a sense of value and validation, you’re looking in the wrong place. You have to give it to yourself. The path to peace is for you to re-learn how to value yourself so you can take back control of your life and your time.
I used to identify myself as the family rescuer. I was the family caregiver, the gal they all called on when life got too crazy. Coming from a dysfunctional home, I used to feel obligated to fix and put my family back together. Long after I left home, got married and had my own children, whenever my mother, father or brother was in trouble, I jumped every time, dropping everything in my life to run to their aid.
Don’t Be a Doormat for Other People’s Dysfunction
Trying to fix what was broken with the people in my family, I allowed myself to be their doormat.
Can you relate to feeling that yearning, that need to take care of others, to worry about others, to think about others, to consume yourself with what’s going on with other people’s lives? The problem with being so consumed with everyone else is that it’s taking up all your time and unless you find a balance to prioritize your own needs, you burn out.
By thinking everyone else is more important than you, you don’t give a damn for yourself. You lose sleep, you’re exhausted. You don’t eat or you overeat.
Your Resentment Is A Message Telling You Things Must Change
Resentment is real. At some point if you are an endless supply of giving, giving, giving, you will find yourself seething with resentment.
Although you may not feel comfortable sharing how you feel with the people involved, you still feel those feelings of being taken advantage of.
Maybe you were raised with a belief that you shouldn’t get angry. That means that whenever your body experiences the explosive emotions of anger, you will automatically suppress it.
With no safe outlet to release your feelings, you will resort to whatever behavior has given you a sense of comfort in the past. If you’re an emotional eater, you will eat. If shopping and spending calms you, you will justify that you are pampering yourself with a little retail therapy.
But our actions have consequences. And the same way that overeating contributes to added health risks, all other forms of emotional band aids also carry their own burdens.
Living to make other people happy at your expense will make you miserable. That is why I always teach my coaching clients the importance of being self-compassionate and kind to themselves. Because when we can take a step back and see our lives from a kinder, more gentle perspective we can realize that we have done and we are currently only doing the best we are capable of at any time.
In my book, “Lovin’ the Skin You’re In: The Juicy Woman’s Guide to Making Peace with Food and Friends with Your Body,” I go into detail of how we can have better relationships with people by setting clearer boundaries in our lives. We create the relationships that we have by not taking a more assertive stance and telling people what we need, making our needs and wants equally important.
Boundaries Create Healthy Relationships
Personal boundaries define limits and make it clear to you and others that you are an individual worthy of consideration and respect. Growing up in a dysfunctional home, it took me years to learn about boundaries and setting limits with people because it didn’t come naturally for me.
If like me, you also grew up in a family where there was either abuse, mental illness or some other type of emotional detachment or neglect, you can probably relate to the feeling of needing to fix people and situations and taking on the role of the rescuer.
I understand that well and I’ve done it for most of my life. Being the rescuer is an unconscious attempt to barter and bribe people into loving you. It’s a way of trying to make yourself feel needed by people who are lacking some level of emotional capacity.
Being a rescuer is a really dangerous role to take in relationships, because it will only lead you into misery. Because when you are the fixer and rescuer for those family members and people in your life, you take on the added burden of their problems and make them your own. Dealing with your own problems is difficult enough, but adding to your load by taking on someone else’s challenges is a recipe for disaster.
My Experience of Being the ‘Rescuer’ for My Family
I’ve personally struggled with this balance because being a rescuer has always been my first instinct. When my parents divorced, and my mother remarried an abusive man who was an alcoholic, all I wanted in the world was to be reunited with my father. And as luck would have it, that happened. And for many years, my dad gave me a very safe, and loving homes. I always thought that my father rescued me.
When I was 23 my father got into a jam. Wanting to help him, I felt obligated to leave college before graduating to manage and run the family real estate business. I spent the next 18 1/2 years upleveling it to 8 figures only to get back-stabbed by my greedy and ungrateful father who ultimately chose money over me.
For the next 10 years I grieved and was steeped in self-pity and depression. Food felt like my only refuge. I just wanted to numb myself because I didn’t want to feel my feelings.
I kept asking myself the question, “How could my father do this to me? All I was capable of feeling was sadness and heartbreak.
Just Because Someone Doesn’t Love You Doesn’t Make You Unlovable
Unconsciously I must have believed that by staying stuck in depression that gave me a shred of hope that my father still loved me. I told myself he must be sick and can’t reach me. Out of loyalty for the wonderful dad he used to be when I was a teenager, I felt an overwhelming need to protect him. I refused every suggestion my husband made to take legal action and pursue a fair settlement with my father. Rather than allowing myself to get angry I remained stuck in sadness. I told myself that the problem was money. My father’s greedy betrayal left me with a really bitter taste in my mouth towards making money. In my mind I made money the scapegoat.
I Devalued Myself and Stopped Charging for My Services
I thought of money as bad and I didn’t want to be greedy like my father. So I ran my coaching business as a charity. I did presentations for schools, companies and institutions giving my speaking and coaching services away. There were a few rare exceptions where I felt comfortable charging for private coaching.
I’m so over it now, and realize that as painful as that experience was –it served me. It made me who I am.
But for years I felt broken by my father’s rejection. Because I loved him so much, I had to scrape and claw my way back to sanity to realize I was still okay even if my father didn’t want me. His betrayal and abandonment left me with severe trust issues that affected my marriage.
There was an invisible line drawn in my family. My husband and son were furious with my father and angry with me for letting him take advantage of my generosity. My daughter was empathetic and compassionate towards us both.
It felt easier for me to turn away from my husband and son and hold onto the dream of still having the perfect father. I made excuses for my dad’s greed and wove stories justifying his self-serving actions. The more I tried to keep my emotionally abusive father up on a pedestal, the more it shook the bedrock of my marriage.
I can tell you from personal experience the problem with being too nice is it shows people you have no boundaries–no self-respect. It’s a sign indicating that you have no sense of value of your time, your attention, your energy or your body. Selfish people like my father will take full advantage of your niceness and you’ll be left out in the cold.
A large part of ending food obsession and achieving the goal of self-love and lovin’ the skin you’re in comes from making peace with your past and seeing yourself and your experiences from an empowered perspective.
Back in 2016, as I worked to heal from my wounds of being personally and financially devastated by my losses, I built my confidence back up by working as a Virtual Assistant. For the next 2 years I did social media management for companies. Lori and Bob Hollander of @RelationshipsWork were among my first clients.
Happily married to each other for over 30 years, Lori and Bob have been counseling couples as a team teaching them how to improve their relationships.
Posting content from Lori and Bob’s world of relationship management helped me to see my marriage to my husband, Angel from a more compassionate perspective.
I was able to recognize that Angel was not the bad guy. I learned that men show their vulnerability by being angry. I was able to recognize that Angel’s newly acquired gruff tone that was so unsettling to me was his way of expressing his sadness.
Almost from the moment I stopped treating my husband like he was the bad guy, and allowed myself to vent my anger at my father, our marriage turned around.
What I learned from my time working with Lori and Bob is that our relationship with our parents from the time we are children teaches us how to love. And it gives us a sense of how we are lovable and valued.
And if we have a parent incapable of love and/or we live in a chaotic environment where there is a lot of fear and uncertainty we fail to get the strong foundation of security and the sense of being loved.
That emptiness makes us feel a yearning in our hearts. Many times we use substances to fill that emptiness. Drugs, drinking, food, smoking, even shopping are all examples of addictions that just cover up a feeling of not feeling loved enough.
Unconsciously we are attracted to mates who help us resolve our issues because they often share a similar background. And unless we intentionally break out of reacting to our spouse and seeing them from the lens of the parent who hurt us, we will suffer and feel unloved in our relationship.
If you’re tired of hating yourself and living in the past caught up in regret, blame and resentment, come join my Facebook group: Lovin’ the Skin You’re In: How to Rise Above Adversity