While is it one thing to feel responsible for one’s own life, it is another thing altogether to feel responsible for other people. Even though one is not responsible for other people, it doesn’t mean they feel this way. That is unless they have a young child or children for instance and then this is not the case.
This also doesn’t mean that one should be completely selfish and forget about the needs of others either. But what it does mean is that one can only do so much for others.
If one was to give up their own needs in order to fulfil the needs of others, not only are they going to end up running on empty, they are also going to stop the other person from taking responsibility for their own life. Each person then ends up being disconnected from something within them.
The person who feels responsible for other people is going to be disconnected from their own needs. It is then going to be normal for this person to feel drained, overstretched and as though the weight of the world is on their shoulders.
When it comes to the other person who is used to having people take care of them, it is not going to be possible for them to feel a sense of personal power. They could believe that they are incapable of doing something by themselves or that life is too much for them.
One is likely to be an expert when it comes to not only noticing the needs of others but also being able to fulfil them. However, when it comes to their own needs, one might struggle to know what they are and to therefore fulfil them.
Their point of focus is on being there for other people and doing everything they can to please them. In fact, it might not be something they do; it could be an Identity that they have created.
Being selfless is often seen as something to aspire to and this means that one is unlikely to look ‘bad’ in the eyes of others. Others could say how ‘good’ they are and how one is an example in the world of how people should be.
One could then end up feeling proud and as though they are doing the right thing. In their mind and to others, the alternative could be to be selfish and to ignore the needs of others. To be selfless is then the ‘best’ option and it might not be possible for one to see that there is a third option.
If one was to only give they would be out of balance and this is because one also needs to be able to receive. Not only that, one will end up feeling exhausted and have very little energy.
As a human being, one has needs and unless they take care of these needs, they are going to suffer. This is where boundaries come in as they will allow one to manage their time and energy. At times, one will be able to be there for others and then there will be times when they can’t be there.
For example, when one is at work they will have a have certain responsibilities and the same thing will apply for someone who is self-employed. Once one has finished work or what they were doing for their own business, ones priories will change.
If one didn’t have a break from work or they had to constantly work on their own business (and there might be times when this is perfectly normal), they would soon burn out. When one believes they are responsible for others, they are not going to be able to put their needs to one side.
Even if one doesn’t want to say yes it is not going to make any difference. Saying yes to others could be something that just happens without one having to think about it. There is also the chance that if one said ‘no’ they would soon feel guilty.
It is then guilt that stops them from standing up for themselves and putting their needs first. The guilt could be unbearable and make it impossible for one to think rationally. As human beings have needs and this is nothing to be ashamed of, it can be hard to comprehend why one would feel guilty and ashamed for having them.
The reason one feels responsible for others and guilty when they don’t meet their needs could be due to what happened during their childhood. This may have been a time where ones caregiver/s used them to fulfil their own needs.
Ones needs would have been overlooked and one came to believe that their needs were not important. If one ever put their needs first they would end up feeling guilty and then ashamed for having them.
Under The Emotions
Guilt relates to when one has done something bad and then this means they could be punished. Shame on the other hand relates to the experience of one being bad and this could then lead to being abandoned.
What happened during one's childhood took place many years ago and yet how one felt all those years ago may have remained trapped in their body. If one stopped being responsible for others these emotions would soon arise.
These emotional experiences of the past will need to be faced and released, and this can be done with the assistance of a therapist or a healer. Along with the guilt and shame could be the feeling of being abandoned and that one is going to die.
Saying no to others doesn’t mean one is a bad person, it means they have boundaries. Unless one is able to take care of their own needs they can’t truly be there for others. At times one will have to so no and to put their well-being first.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.