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I’m A Giver…And It’s Wearing Me Out

When I love, I love hard and I show those people who hold a special place in my heart how much I love them by putting all of my energy into them on a daily basis. Nothing makes me more content then making the people I love happy; and if that means I am up until midnight baking breakfast for the next morning or timing the laundry so the towels are warm right after they shower, then so be it.  It’s tiring, I don’t get enough sleep, and I can’t remember the last time I actually did something just for me – but in my mind it is all worth it.  If I don’t show them how much I love them then how in the world will they ever know?  Actions speak louder than words, right?

Why in the world am I like this?  Why do I have this inner need to do everything for everyone and why do I worry about everyone else before I even think about myself?  Because that is all I know and the only way I was ever allowed to show love as a child.  Mom never hugged me, kissed me, and I can’t remember a time when those three magic little words passed through her lips to my ears.  But although Mom was cold and heartless towards me, I would still try my hardest to earn her love on a daily basis.  Regardless of her harsh words, her beatings, and her mental abuse – I still loved her and if she wouldn’t let me hug her or kiss her, I could show her I loved her by trying to do extra things for her every day.

I mean, if you aren’t allowed to tell someone you love them, and you aren’t allowed to give them a hug or a kiss, what else can you do?  What else can a child do to get positive attention from their own parent?  It hurts when you tell your mother that you love her and she laughs or sneers and just walks away.  But it doesn’t hurt when you see your mother smile after she walks in the house and sees that it is cleaned from top to bottom and the laundry is all done.  If I could get that smile to just come out once a week – then my goal was accomplished.  I got the positive attention from Mom that I so desperately craved.

So I assume that’s the way I need to show love to everybody.  I’m not into giving Hallmark cards, sending flowers, surprise romantic dinners, and sending love texts.  Those are nice and lovely, but not the way I know to show love to another person.  I’m the person that will have your clothes laid out fresh and laundered every single day, your dinner hot and ready the minute you walk in the door, and make sure that every single thing in the house is taken care of so the people I love can just relax when they get home.  I don’t even need a thank you; just a smile is enough for me.

But there comes a point where enough is enough.  It’s enough when you’ve worked yourself to the point of sheer exhaustion, when your children begin disrespecting you because you wait on them hand and foot, when your significant other begins to take you for granted, and even the dogs stop listening to what you say.  It’s enough when the extra things you do on a daily basis to show your love start to become routine and expected by everyone around you.  You begin to realize that the people you love are seeing you more as a maid rather than their mother or loving spouse.

I realized that change on my part had to begin when I tried to give my oldest son a list of chores to do around the house.  I was trying to be a good parent and teach him responsibility and he looked at me and said, “Why do I have to do these?  You’ll do it anyways!”  I was shocked, but he was right.  He already knew that I would make his bed regardless if he did or not, I would put away his laundry and pick up the dog poop – so what in the world did I make him a list for?  It was then I realized I wasn’t being a good mother – doing everything for my sons was not showing them my love.  It was showing them that they could walk all over me and never have any responsibility for themselves.

Being a maid and doing everything for everyone isn’t showing love – it’s showing that you are good at cleaning and cooking.  It shows the people you love that your happiness isn’t important and that they don’t have to do anything to help you out – because they already know you are going to take care of it.  I’m still going to cook, clean, and have those towels warm after the shower – but instead of wasting hours cleaning my son’s room or making special homemade breakfasts every morning – I’ll take that time and use it for me.  I deserve it.



I’m A Giver…And It’s Wearing Me Out

Sarah Burleton NY Times bestselling author

Victoria Gigante Writes For Psych CentralSarah Burleton was born in a little town in Illinois to a very emotionally disturbed woman. Her first book, her child abuse memoir "Why Me," spent 26 weeks on the New York Times and the print version is endorsed by David Pelzer, author of "A Child Called It." Sarah is now realizing her goal in becoming an ambassador for abused children and adult survivors and is currently conducting workshops and seminars throughout the state. Her message of strength over adversity and her story will help counselors, teachers, and other professionals identify signs of abuse and learn ways to establish trust with an abused child.

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APA Reference
, . (2016). I’m A Giver…And It’s Wearing Me Out. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 20, 2020, from


Last updated: 31 Jan 2016
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