As all other 3 year olds with respect for themselves, my girl can be a demanding little one. Without shame she’ll call out “Mom, food, now!!” Or “I want ice cream!!!” She doesn’t do it in a negative/aggressive way either. It’s simply matter of fact. “I want this and I want it NOW!”
For me, as a recovering people-pleaser, being the mother of a 3 year old can be a challenge to say the least. So for a long time I’ve been examining what happens inside of me, and this is what I’ve found:
Inside myself, I’ve created the subconscious rule that I’m not allowed to say no, to anyone, that saying no is bad, and that I must do everything in my power to fulfill someone’s wishes, if they ask me to do something for them.
So let’s say that I’m busy cooking, standing in front of the stove, immersed in an activity that requires my attention and focus. Now – in this very moment, my child will start demanding things from me. “This thing is broken, fix it!” or “I don’t want this movie, I want a different one” “put new batteries in this thing!”
Here comes the moment where I experience an internal conflict and rift which actually causes me to be much more stressed out than is necessary. I feel an obligation to do what she asks of me, as per the rule I mentioned above, because there is a part of me that believes being a good mother is about always being available and at service to your child.
But I’m busy cooking. I don’t want to leave it. And maybe this is also the first moment throughout the entire day that I’ve had to myself, to be with myself for even 5-10 minutes, to connect with myself and center myself inside.
But because I have colliding interests, and because this rule is so strong inside me, I tend to either do what my child wants, in the hope that this will by me some time later (which it usually doesn’t because 5 minutes later, she’ll want something else from me) OR I will react and become irritated and be short fused with her, and end up feeling terribly guilty afterwards.
I’ve been practicing saying no more, to be more strict, and I’ve always been very direct and open about how I feel, but it feels so taboo to say no, and I’m sure that I sometimes cross the threshold and go to the opposite end of the spectrum and say too much no, unnecessarily.
Being a people pleaser has been a problem for me for years. That and the fact that I have a heightened sense of perception will often send me into a tailspin of worrying about other people and how they’ll react to me.
Lately I’ve also been looking at why I’m so concerned about people saying yes to do things for me without really wanting to, fearing for them to become irritated with me later. And obviously it is because I fear them doing to me what I’ve been doing for years.
Ever so often I’ll say yes, only to end up resentful and feeling compromised, blaming the other person for making me feel this way. Or I’ll try to stand my ground and express my wishes, though being so vague about it, that most often, it doesn’t translate into something the other person will understand. Or when its been really bad, I’d try to emotionally manipulate people to get what I want, through for example making them feel guilty or indebted to me.
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to let an emotion of panic, dread and desperation to exist within me, when my child asks me for something in a situation where I’m preoccupied with something else
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to create the subconscious rule inside of me that if someone wants something from me, or demands something of me, then I have to give it to them, and do everything in my power to satisfy them
Forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to react with a surge of panic, stress, desperation and frustration when my child asks me for something, and I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to be sensitive to the demands of others, where I feel a pressure to be of service as soon as someone demands something of me
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to subconsciously think and believe that it is my responsibility to make sure that my child is happy and content at all times, and that it’s my responsibility and fault if she’s in any way unsatisfied or unhappy and that this is a horrible thing that I must avoid at all costs
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to feel and experience myself running around like a headless chicken or a waiter at a busy restaurant, trying to constantly satisfy my child’s wants, needs and demands
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to define my own experience of myself based on how well I’m able to satisfy my child’s wants, needs and demands and in affect “keep her happy” and as such feel good and on top of the world when I feel like I’m a good mother, and conversely feel like utter shit, when I feel like I can’t satisfy her
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to become bitter and resentful and project this towards my child, in blaming her for my conflicted inner experience, believing that it is her fault for being so demanding and feeling sorry for myself that I’m being treated this way, as though she’s the one in power and I’m a victim of her evil ways
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to feel bothered and frustrated that I now have someone else in my life, whose needs come before mine, and who I therefore believe that I must constantly answer to, and be at their beg and call, not realizing that simply because I have a child that needs me, doesn’t mean that I can’t or shouldn’t set my own boundaries, when applicable
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to think and believe that “I never have a moment to myself”, feeling frustrated every time I am busy with something, and my child interrupts me, because there is still a part of me that expects live to be as it was before I had a child.
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to not fully, and unconditionally accept the fact that my life has irrevocably been changed since having a child, and that there will be many situations where I will have to place my child’s needs first, but also that there will be moments and increments where I’ll have time to myself, and that it is up to me to make sure that I value those moments as precious.
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to believe that my child is irritating when in fact, she is simply living and expressing herself and very often enjoying my company and wanting to be with me, and as such my experience of irritation is really not about her, but about me
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to not fully and unconditionally accept and embrace that my life has changed and that I can’t expect a small child to let me go on living as I was before
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to not question my own presence in the moment, and whether the state of being that I’m comfortable with and would like to return to, is actually best for all and so best for me
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to not see, realize and understand that my child is indirectly helping me to step out of my mind and be present in my physical reality AND with learning how to be specific, direct and clear about my time and my boundaries
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to see my child as rude and demanding, when she in fact is simply expressing herself unapologetically, stating what she wants, when she wants it, not realizing that for her to learn how to respect my and other people’s boundaries, is something she’ll learn through me actually respecting myself and showing up for myself
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to create and participate in a subconscious belief that I must always please others, to avoid them becoming angry or upset with me, because if they get angry or upset with me, that’ll directly affect who I am, not realizing that who I am, is not defined by or dependent on how others react to me.
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to exist as a slave to my own fear and desire to be accepted by others, because I’ve accepted and allowed myself to define myself according to others reactions to me
When and as my child calls out for me, and wants something from me, and I feel that surge of urgency and pressure inside me, I stop and I breathe. I remain stable within my own experience of and as myself
When and as I feel constricted and anxious and desperate inside myself when my child is speaking to me or asking me of something, I stop and I breathe. I allow myself to give myself a moment to consider whether I see sense in carrying out her request or whether it would indeed compromise me in some way, according to which I will then abide or respectfully tell her no
I commit myself to be clear, specific and direct with my child, to not compromise my integrity to satisfy her, and so end up becoming bitter with her
I commit myself to place focus and emphasis on regulating myself on the inside rather than focusing on trying to regulate my child on the outside, in an attempt to regulate myself on the inside
I commit myself to learn from my child’s unapologetic expression and let it be known what I want and what I don’t want, clearly and precisely, without fear of how others might react.