How Am I Actively Working on my Human Giver Syndrome

I recently came across a video where someone was discussing their own journey, being someone who gives a lot of themselves and was actively working on setting clear boundaries and a lot of what she said resonated with me. Some of the ways in which I show love is through acts of kindness, but sometimes I do this even to my own detriment or discomfort, so after reading a few articles and relating to so many of the topics mentioned, I figured it would be worth me getting it down in writing for further personal exploration. So, all that to say, this week’s blog post is about how I have been navigating Human Giver Syndrome, I feel like many of us can relate, leave a comment if you do and happy reading.

Human giver syndrome is the false, contagious belief that women have a moral obligation to be pretty, happy, calm, generous, and attentive to the needs of others. With HGS, if a giver falls short in any way, she may be punished or even go so far as to punish herself. Notice that it is not the giving itself that is toxic; it’s the other half of the equation. It’s someone else’s sense of entitlement to everything a woman has—her attention, her time, her affection, her hopes and dreams, her body, her very life. We want a world where everyone feels a responsibility to care for one another, not a world where some people give everything until they have nothing left and are punished if they fall short or if they do something totally against the rules, like ask to have their own needs met.

Quote from Emily Nagoski, PhD, and Amelia Nagoski, DMA- Article: The Key To Avoiding Burnout

Maybe it is something that is inherent in women or it simply comes naturally to us, because we are mostly raised to be nurturing, but it can often feel as women our only role is that of the giver. Maybe it’s because of Mother Nature and the fact that fairly or unfairly, we put our bodies on the line for the survival of mankind. The imbalance probably begins there but over time we give our time, our energy, our bodies all away and in the end what do we leave for ourselves? I have been on a personal journey for the past few years, but digging deeper within myself, be it because I’m getting older or call it maturity, who knows. But one thing I have been doing a lot is recognizing my role within my own life and my reactions.

Setting Firm Boundaries

Sometimes you simply do not have the time or don’t feel like it; more and more I have been stepping into reserving my time for myself and being specific with who I choose to spend it with. To be honest, most of it consists of me being home or at my mother’s, but the fact of the matter is, I am reclaiming my time. I used to feel like I needed to move heaven and earth in order to accommodate someone else and their “busy” schedule, when the fact of the matter is, you will see each other when it lines up. When it comes to dating, if someone is serious they will push it forward and it will happen, they will also try to be flexible and just like that it is seamless. What I won’t be doing is cancelling on friends or shifting things around and only inconveniencing myself in order to make something smoother for another. I don’t say this with ego, but more as an affirmation, because I was that person. Scrambling to schedule everything so that everyone was happy and I didn’t upset anyone, when the fact of the matter is, I cannot control how someone else feels and I shouldn’t be bottling my emotions in order to make things “easier” for them. Another thing I have found when reaffirming my boundary, I have seen a shift in how people treat me. Maybe they tiptoe for a bit, maybe they aren’t sure what to say, maybe you will upset a few but the fact of the matter, is and most importantly, you are being true to you. You are not suppressing a part of you for someone’s comfort, you aren’t swallowing words because of someone else’s discomfort, you aren’t being performative. Real change happens when you are honest with yourself and with others about what you require. If they are unable to give this, then they aren’t that person for you. It doesn’t mean they aren’t good, simply not a good fit for what you require. I feel like often times we grin through the discomfort because we don’t want to offend or upset, but why are your feelings less valid than that of another? Do you not matter too? #selfcare

People pleasing is rooted in fear and is focused on earning love. Genuine love casts out fear.

Madison Heolund

Be More Vocal

When I tell you, I am or was that person, I would keep quiet, I would smile through the pain or I would tell myself I was being dramatic. Showing any form of weakness or god forbid vulnerability, would be a huge no no. I people pleased because I thought it meant they wouldn’t leave or they would like me more, but the truth of the matter is, I am not only being untrue to myself, but I am in fact attempting to make them fall in love with someone else. A version of myself, but not entirely my true self. Striking the balance between not been rude or too blunt, but also passing on how you truly feel, be it as a way to connect or to reaffirm a boundary. This is important. I don’t want to get used to swallowing my true emotions, I know far too well how that manifests. For myself, I became so angry and unhappy, taking my anger out on anyone about any little thing, because I felt like I didn’t have control over the things in my life so I chose to lash out. I still remember the night and where I was when it hit me like a ton of bricks; I didn’t need to be like this. My life didn’t need to be like this. And the only one who was able to make any formative change to that was me, it’s like for all that time I was going through the motions and resenting others for the way I was feeling, when the cards were entirely in my hands. Of course, in this case I chose to divide our family as we had known it, but at the end of the day, it was for the best and in many ways a huge load was lifted off of my shoulders and I have never looked back. Although it was a tough decision, me speaking my truth was the only way for me to be true to myself and in turn reclaim my happiness; so use your voice- it’s yours.

Walls keep everybody out, boundaries teach people where the door is.

Mark Groves

Learning to Let It Go

I’m sure this isn’t the 1st time you’ve seen this on our blog and it won’t be the last, mostly because I constantly need to remind myself of this all of the time. You will not be everything for everyone. You can’t, it’s impossible, so stop. Just like that stop. If only it was a simple snap of the fingers and the feelings of guilt were shed. Things will pan out as they are meant to, no amount of thinking, worrying, tears or wishing for redos will take you back. Let it go. Let go of the idea that it could have been different, let go of the fact that you should have sent one more text or you shouldn’t have said that thing. It has all worked out the way it should. Simply put. Because I want to keep someone happy, I want to over analyze every situation as a means to control and to avoid surprises, but the churning is unhealthy. It was keeping me up at night having mental gymnastics over something someone might have taken the wrong way. They probably don’t care and you are not being present because you’re stuck in a cycle you can’t step out of. Breathe, feel it and just like that, stop giving power to it.

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