Like the 10cc song, “The Things We Do For Love,” there are many things we do to to seek the approval of others.
We have a group of people that we consider very important to us; it’s our VIP list. Sometimes non priority people figure out a way to gain access to that special group. Often we invite them, or they are so insistent that we let them in to keep them quiet.
The non priority people in my life that I allow to grab a spot on my VIP list are essentially strangers. I know a lot of people online that aren’t family and although we are facebook friends, we have never met in person, have never spoken on the phone and really haven’t done any face to face time.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve met some wonderful friends online.
Some of them I have never met in person either, but I willingly call them friends because they have made room for me in their lives.
It’s just that I’m willing to step up and help when I see a need and that is where I have allowed people priority access to me when they are not priority people.
I give a lot of time to a group of people that feel entitled to my work on a project that involves them as well as others. I volunteered to be the lead on the project because I am personally interested in completing it. Some of them aren’t willing to get involved or help with the project and I often let this project take priority over my personal writing or time that I could be spending with family and friends. I have had people ask if they can help and then change their minds. I have had people ignore me completely when I ask for information. I have had individuals private message me and tell me what I should or should not do in the project. I even had one person rant at me in a private message because, as she said, ‘you can take it, right?’
The other thing that I sometimes do is take on the lion’s share of the duties.
I’m not sure if that is because of my lioness nature, but I do enjoy helping and sometimes I overstep.
It can build lots of resentment when you give more than others do in daily situations. I find that my first reaction to someone having pain or expressing difficulty is to leap into fix it mode, offering my help. It makes me anxious when a situation comes up and someone clearly needs help, so I leap into rescue mode.
Another way to look at this is through the lens of the Drama triangle.
It is difficult to stay out of the drama of this triangle of victim, hero and villain. When someone plays the victim by having pain or expressing difficulty, it is easy to leap into hero mode, which puts you right into the middle of the drama. Once you are on the triangle, it is difficult to step off, so be aware of your hero tendencies.
My friend Janet had a partner that would just shed his clothes everywhere. This was cause for huge fights because she had to pick them up all the time. She tried to control his behavior but it didn’t work. Eventually they divorced. Years later, she went to a birthday party and met his new wife. Janet asked – Does he still leave his clothes everywhere? The new wife answered -No. Wondering what happened, my friend asked for more information. The new wife said – I didn’t control his mess, I just told him if his clothes aren’t in the hamper, I don’t wash them.
Have you trained people to know that you will always pick up the slack for what they don’t do?
Often we have blinders on and don’t see a different way.