Writing Group Topic: My feelings are my responsibility

How I feel can’t be determined by others? Whether I’ll ever get to that level of serenity in my recovery, I honestly don’t know. I am lucky in that who I am is giving me the best possible start to work with when it comes to getting people to like me. I’m non-threatening, short, female, reasonably good looking, young, well-kept. I believe I don’t scare people off, and I come across as an average person most people feel comfortable enough relating to.

That’s a start; it could be worse (I could have some deformation, or simply I could be a tall black male some conservative English people could feel threatened / intimidated by). In this country, I’m a totally average person with a steady job and have “normal” written all over me. That is an amazing gift that abstinence has given me (because I am abstinent I am interested in other people, I am not grotesquely fat, I don’t smell because I can’t be bothered to wash).

So the initial outset is OK – I don’t get negative feedback from strangers. Strangers usually make me feel good: I can connect quickly with people, I find it easy to meet new people and have a conversation and be liked. I’m sure that counts for something in the sense of my self-esteem.

I run into trouble when I get into real relationships. Friendships. Family. There are some whose opinion truly doesn’t matter to me and therefore they don’t affect my emotions, positively or negatively… my grandmother, father, sister are all in that category. I could care less what they think and whether something I said or did has made them feel any differently about me. Their feelings truly are not my responsibility, although of course I do civilly and try to do by them as I’d have them do by me. It just doesn’t affect my inside.

Very different with people who I *want* to like me. My cousin. My friends here. My boss. I find myself very affected by what I think they think of me (and that might be wrong!). Not to the point that I’d say I worry constantly but I do get a high and a rush if I feel like I’ve pleased them… and then I feel a certain pressure to keep up the relationship, to continue pleasing them. I’m convinced that is from the way my mother brought me up, in that I would have her love and her attention only through pleasing her. Since she mattered to me, that’s what I did. Today, if someone matters to me, I want them to be pleased with me.

Now I don’t think that generally it’s a bad idea to try and please someone but I would detest the idea of doing things for that reason alone, that I would otherwise not do. Trying to be someone I’m not. I absolutely hate it when I sense someone is trying to please me too much, is trying to say what they think I want to hear. It feels dishonest. And probably the reason why I detest it so much is because I have that tendency, myself.

But, I’m in recovery. I get to work on these things. Today I won’t eat, no matter what, and instead learn how to live in this world as an equal to everyone else.


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