I have a tendency to feel sorry for myself at times. I also know that I may at times play the martyr. What I didn’t realize is that I sometimes threat others the way I don’t like them to treat me, too.
Feeling Sorry for Myself
When others are able to go out, make plans that they can actually carry out, sit quietly and read or watch a TV show without interruption, I feel jealous. I can hear the smallest violin in the world playing, “Poor Pitiful Me,” while I sit and think about how unfair it is that I can’t do those things. I look on with envy at those who can eat while their food is still warm or who can go to bed before 2:00 a.m. when I’m still up preparing dinner or feeding Lynn. I want those options too and I sometimes resent not being able to be like everyone else.
Then, I look at Lynn who can’t walk, can’t feed himself, and is totally reliant on someone else to do for him. I see how sad and guilty he feels when he watches me give up plans or be unable to have fun like others. I hear him apologize when I’m struggling to stay awake to finish my day or when he has to get me up at night. I see how his life is so much harder than mine and I’m ashamed of how I feel though I know I’m human and my feelings are natural.
Playing the Martyr
Though I don’t consciously play the martyr, I think somewhere in my subconscious I deny myself the opportunities I mentioned above because I want to be recognized as self-sacrificing. Could I go to bed sooner? Maybe, if I let some things “go” or if I did not indulge in distractions like listening to books on tape or reading about my friends on Facebook. When others offer to stay with Lynn, I’m reluctant to say yes because I don’t want to appear as if I’m neglecting him or I say no because I’m concerned since they don’t know his comfort needs, that he might be uncomfortable while I’m away. I also feel that as I become more isolated from participating in activities that it’s more and more difficult to bring myself to socialize. I also admit that I like receiving praise for what I do. I like the compliments and recognition that come with being the self-sacrificing spouse. Yes, I admit it; I have a “sick” personality at times.
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