Many people, including myself have been brought up to put others first. My mother was the typical Martyr, working herself into the ground, not expecting consideration or praise. Even when unwell she would keep going; no-one could run the home as she did, she made herself indispensable, but at what cost? She was constantly drained, irritable, sleep deprived and extremely low in mood. When it was suggested that she took a break, she’d be horrified. When sitting, she’d perch on the edge of the chair, just waiting to jump up and continue her work. I don’t remember ever seeing her truly relax. I can only imagine how unworthy she felt. Why else would she abuse herself in this way?
For most of my life I followed my mother’s ethos – although illness forced me to take a slower approach to life than I wanted. Even when really unwell, as soon as I heard someone approaching, I’d jump up and look busy. I couldn’t accept that it was alright to take time out, I felt guilty.
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