I have an unhealthy drive to keep everything even.
I start to feel super guilty if I perceive that I’m not holding up my end of the deal.
It’s kind of hard to verbalize, so I’ll give a few examples:
If Andy watches Grace in the afternoon while I’m at the office, I feel like I should do every single thing for her the rest of the evening.
If a friend reached out to me to get together last time, I feel like I should reach out this time.
If I spend money on something, I feel like Andy should get something too.
If Andy feeds Grace breakfast, I feel like I should feed her lunch.
If Andy cleans the bathroom, I feel like I should run downstairs to do a load of laundry.
If I talk about my day for a solid 20 minutes when I come home, I apologize for going on and on and insist that Andy tells me all about his day.
If a friend helps me out with something, I feel like I have to be vigilant for an opportunity to repay the favor…and soon!
It even goes beyond those examples. It’s like my mind has a system of checks and balances that are continually evaluating everything I say and do.
I am virtually unable to accept something for nothing. I feel extremely uncomfortable accepting help if I don’t see a very near-term opportunity to even up the score.
Fortunately, I don’t expect the same of others. I don’t think I’ve ever thought that someone “owed” me.
I really enjoy helping people out and being generous and I honestly don’t expect anything in return. In fact, I think it would make me really uncomfortable if they tried to “pay me back” right on the heels of my good deed.
As I sit here and type this I’m questioning whether I don’t want to be repaid because it gives me some kind of upper hand?
I just don’t think that’s it.
I guess I don’t feel worthy of other people’s generosity. I’ve taken on the role of the responsible one who is capable and competent and doesn’t have to rely on anyone (or inconvenience anyone) for anything.
*As I sit here on the couch typing this post, Andy is cleaning up Grace’s toys in the living room and I just want to put the laptop down so I can finish the job and make him stop. I mean he’s already tipped the scales today by feeding Grace breakfast while I worked, watching her all afternoon while I was at the office and then again when I went to the gym. The scales are totally out of whack today.
I’ve run into other people who, like me, have trouble receiving. When they try to refuse my help, I have a standard line I retort with: “You are robbing me of the opportunity to give by refusing to receive.”
Why don’t I take my own advice?
Why don’t I just chill out and allow myself to receive help from people who care about me?
Weighing everything that happens and trying my damnedest to keep things “Even Steven” is exhausting. I don’t like being like this, but I’m not sure how to change…
Thank you Shelley :) I'm gonna check that book out!
I just read Grace for the Good Girl by Emily Freeman. It has journal and bible study questions. I think you might love it. I feel like it's leading me toward change.