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Friday, March 25, 2011

Laying it all out there...

I am tired. Not physically tired, though I've had a lot of that this past week, but emotionally tired. In fact, it's safe to say I'm exhausted. My job is emotional. I carry a lot of emotional burden there that most day to day jobs don't entail. I don't really complain about that or share it with my friends very often because I love my job, and I chose it. They didn't, and therefore it isn't fair to burden them with that.

Lately though, the emotional burden has stretched beyond cases at work and into the lives of friends and family. I am not a certified therapist or anything like that, but my job has all the components of a caseworker, a friend, and a layman therapist. I'm a problem solver. When people are experiencing unnecessary emotional pain, I want to help.

Lately I've had a lot of people sharing their problems with me. Phone calls, text messages, e-mails. Everyone wants to tell me about their problems and how horrible their lives are. I feel guilty when I cannot empathize with some of these "problems", but I'm always willing to talk it out and try to help. I struggle with being angry when people come to me solely to complain, and never actually let me be a friend or try to help.

I know that you can't make the horse drink the water, so to speak. I get that sometimes people just need to vent. I recognize that just because someone wants your advice doesn't mean they are going to take it. I am aware that some people prefer to be alone with their pain, because they have trouble opening up. I know all of these things. Yet I'm constantly worried about these people. I feel their pain. I want to make it better. 

But I can't.

So I stay glued to the spot I'm in with an emotion that is something like wanting to scream in anger and cry with sympathy all at the same time.

I got an e-mail from Just Jen today that really hit home. It was the story of a man who was carrying a wagon of stones up a hill because God asked him to. Along the way his friends asked if he wouldn't mind carrying theirs too, since he was on his way. In the end when he could no longer carry it, God comes and tells him that he was not responsible for the burdens of his friends, and that He would not give him more than he could stand. It was a good story, with a really good message.

Yet somehow, I am afraid that if only worry about my own burdens I will become selfish and apathetic. I want to be a good friend/family member, but not at the expense of all this stress. It's beginning to take a physical toll on me, and I want to be able to enjoy the good things in my life without constantly worrying about everyone.

I would love your input and advice. Some moments I feel justified in my anger, and some moments I feel like a horrible friend and family member. I've got to get a handle on this. I feel as though I'm going to break under the pressure of all this stress that shouldn't be mine.


Lady Estrogen said...

Sometimes it's good to be a little selfish - or it better be, cuz I'm a selfish hoebag - which is odd because I find many like to unload their shit on to me as well. Maybe that's just people in general. LOL

The Bipolar Diva said...

I've learned the hard way that I have to put myself first sometimes. You can't take on everyone's stuff all the time, it'll tear you up. Also there are those that really need the help, they've hit hard luck, but then there are those that choose to live the way they do, if that makes sense. It's much more difficult for me to be sympathetic towards them. Take a breather for yourself. Helping is a great thing, just not at the expense of yourself.

The Bipolar Diva said...

whoops I sent that too quickly. When you take care of you, and pick and choose what you will deal with the more you have to give to others. Just happens that way it seems.

singedwingangel said...

OH how I can empathize with you on this one. I have learned to let them rant and then brush it off like dust. You cannot change them, you can only offer advice and hope they take it. Go home and take a deep breath and release the worries of everyone else into the prayers of your night.

Babes Mami said...

I agree with the above, it's not selfish, you too need time to vent and be upset. It's hard to take on everyones emotions and problems!

neeuqpmats said...

I agree that sometimes it is the ones who only vent and don't want help that are the hardest to listen too. I think take those ones with a grain of salt. You would be there for them in a second if they truly needed you. The rest of it is just the junk of life that you do not need to feel responsible for. You need to take time for you and that sometimes means saying no to every little thing that comes along. Go with your gut feeling, if it is something you need to get involved with then do, and if not then leave it be. hugs.