February 27, 2019 at 8:57 am #281987
I am a 27-year-old woman and I have a problem especially when I need to claim my rights or receive things in return from others.
I grew up in a family environment where I learnt to be giving to others but never learnt how to receive in returns or how to take care of myself. So in many cases, I have ended up doing for other people but not for myself.
I didn’t know how much this issue affects my social life or dealing with bureaucratic issues until now. I noticed when I try to think and do things for myself with people in order and logically, sometimes my emotions overtake my logical thinking. I end up feeling scared for nothing meaningless. Sometimes this has led people taking advantages of me.
If you have some similar experiences or if you know how to be self-spoken and confident, please share your tips with me!February 27, 2019 at 9:09 am #282017
You wrote: “I grew up in a family environment where I learnt to be giving to others but never learnt how to receive in return”-
-children are naturally giving, naturally eager to please their parents. So I don’t think you learned to give. I think you naturally gave what you were able to give, as a child.
When a parent gives a child a smile, or a kind word, or a gift with love, that is, without asking anything in return, without telling the child she .. is not worthy of what was given- the child receives, naturally. She doesn’t learn to receive.
I was given things as a child, toys, clothes, things but there was a price tag on every thing I was given. After the giving, my mother said: look what I did for you, what I gave you, how hard I worked for what I gave you, and look how ungrateful you are, how badly you repaid me…
Did you have any such experience as a child?
February 28, 2019 at 2:37 am #282145
- This reply was modified 3 weeks ago by anita.
Hello Anita, thank you for your reply.
As I remember, my mother was a very selfless person. Perhaps it may be my family culture that we don’t remind each other what we have done for each other. However, I grew up noticing how giving and selfless my mother is, to many people including myself.
I am glad I learnt to offer help to people when they need, which is very easy for me to take care of others. However, when I am in need of giving confrontation (e.g. delivering my honest feedback to people, claiming some matters to correct, saying no or even asking for help from friends) I feel the anxiety of rejection first or guilty of bothering them. 🙁 Even though I didn’t do anything wrong, I don’t know why I get scared.
February 28, 2019 at 6:31 am #282171
- This reply was modified 2 weeks, 6 days ago by Dahn.
We can look more into why you get scared asserting yourself and asking for help.
As a child, when you witnessed your mother being selfless and giving to others, “noticing how giving and selfless my mother is, to many people including myself”, did you feel sorry for her, seeing how tired she is giving so much?
Did you feel badly for her, wishing she didn’t give so much so that she will have more energy and life in her… and so to help your mother, you decided to not ask her for anything, to not take anything from her so that she will feel better, not so tired?
anitaFebruary 28, 2019 at 7:25 am #282177
Thank you again for your reply. Yes after when I hit after 25, I was frustrated to see my mother exhausting herself taking care of others before taking care of herself. Can I ask why we are focusing on my mother? 🙂 I want to stop blaming my parents but independently improve my selflessness / fear of rejection issue.February 28, 2019 at 7:40 am #282181
Our brains are formed during our childhood years, aka our Formative Years. Thousands of connections between brain cells are formed, many of them, and the most significant, are formed as a result of our witnessing of our parents and interacting with them.
It is not about “blaming (your) parents”, it is about understanding what motivates you, understanding those brain connections, and working toward changing what needs to be changed so that you function better and better in life.
Let me know if you are interested in understanding more by examining further your experience with your mother. This is where the information that matters is.
anitaFebruary 28, 2019 at 8:03 am #282189
Thank you for your reply. I read your previous message again and you are right. I struggle to be assertive with myself and to ask for help.
I watch my parents helping their friends and our cousins and families, even me and my sister feel its too much sometimes. I moved to another country (Europe) after 19 so often my sister felt the pressure to help our cousins because my parents asked her to.
I am a second child of the family and have an older sister. I am the active and outgoing one whereas my sister is calm and listens to my parents. We are an Asian family. While I was growing up, because of my rowdy personality for Asian culture, my mother often told me that my personality is too strong or aggressive, so I was always told to soften my personality. I got compared a lot with my sister too. (later I heard my mother did the same to my sister) So from my early 20’s to mid 20’s, I struggled to accept myself because of the external pressure from my mother’s pressure and the surrounding people I had back then. So self-reflection, self-blame and self-guilt became my habits.
Since I have different friends now who accept and support me and also being far from my family, I regained my confidence and improved my self-esteem. But it was definitely significant that my mother and my old surrounding friends pressuring me to change myself. (well, with friends, usually I used to get upset because of their racist and ignorant behaviour.)
Since I am happy who I am now, it would be even grateful to forgive my mother’s hurtful messages and independently improve my issues. I love my family and my mother is still a great life role model for me, I want to stop projecting negative on her. I really want to learn to believe in myself more and stand for my voice to everybody.February 28, 2019 at 8:25 am #282193
I think I understand what you need. And I think it is possible for you to achieve what you need, only it is not easy and it requires great persistence and practice through time, enduring distress, lowering it, enduring more and more and keep the practice regardless.
Your fear of asserting yourself and asking for help, that fear is powerful. It stops you every time you attempt to be assertive or ask for help. The answer really is not in your relationship with your mother, she gave you the messages she thought will help you function better and I suppose it would have if you lived in a very traditional setting. But this is not your case, your setting, your life and it can’t be.
So here is how you do it, next time you need to assert yourself, it may be today or tomorrow, something already brewing, specify the situation, the person or people involved, then plan on what you will say, when and how, write it down, then the following day, execute it. It will feel scary, you will feel distressed (and/ or numb), but do it anyway. If you need help with the specific situational planning, let me know.
anitaFebruary 28, 2019 at 8:39 am #282195
Thank you so much for your advice 🙂 Writing a plan and having the courage for execution sound like a great idea to start. Since I have identified this issue, it has been easier to accept when I deserve to be assertive. Also communicating with you has helped to release out my frustration a lot. I will try my best to practice as you suggested until I get my confidence back.
DahnFebruary 28, 2019 at 9:13 am #282207
You are welcome, Dahn. Post again anytime you’d like.
anitaMarch 1, 2019 at 6:19 pm #282465
Your parents never taught you the concept of boundaries.
Many Asian culture is entrenched in the concept of ‘image is everything’; that to be a seen as a good person, a person should be humble, polite and kind to others. And that’s a good thing, but it tend to go beyond that in that you are taught to sacrifice your needs and desires in favor of the other person. That’s bad. That teaches children to ignore their personal boundaries when you really should be exerting it. Because when you show people that they have the choice in whether they can accommodate or ignore your boundaries, they will act in a way that benefits them first and foremost, without regards to your well being. So they will have no qualm using you. They have no qualm hurting you, or even understanding that they have hurt you, because you’ve acceded to their demands before so they would have no thought of you declining anytime in the future. You gave them the impression that it was okay to take from you since you never tried to stop them.
Now, it’s not a bad thing to want to be kind to others, but it should never be at the expense of yourself. And when you give all of yourself to others all the time, you’ll eventually grow to resent people for demanding so much of you. Or you’ll feel ‘scared’, which is your intuition sending you warning signals that you are uncomfortable. But since you were never taught boundaries, you don’t understand why you feel ‘fear’ so you tend to ignore it because you feel that it’s irrational. But it’s not, it’s just that you’re not used to listening to your guts when it believes that you should be saying no to someone’s demand. So start with building your boundaries.
Here’s some links to start:
Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend
Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Manson
The Power of No by Altucher and Altucher
The Gift of Fear by de Becker (ignore the domestic violence part, too bias)
Good luck.March 2, 2019 at 3:22 am #282493
Amazing advice. I think you identified the exact word of my struggles. I am very speechless in an amazing way! Thank you so much for your words and encouragement to start building my own boundaries. You have no idea how much your advice means to me. 🙂