Grapple asked me a question that I’ve often wondered about myself as well:
Why do I sacrifice so much of myself for others?
I’ve never been able to fully answer this question for myself, let alone for someone else, but here’s my best amalgamation of an answer:
I’m always trying to help people solve the problems in their lives, while putting my own needs on hold. Maybe I feel that helping them could help me. Or if I help them, they’ll appreciate it and feel closer to me, letting me into their heart as I’ve let them into mine. If there is anything at all that I can do for them, I must do it.
I seek approval and reaffirmation of my life. I feel like I have a purpose in life if I help someone. If I don’t do everything possible for them, I’m not fulfilling my purpose and therefore am useless. If what I do is rejected, I’m a failure. I have failed not only myself, but that person as well, and anyone else it could’ve affected.
I want to be loved. I give all of myself to someone, hoping to receive the same in return. But that never happens. No matter how much I give, I’m going to get the same amount back – whatever amount they want to give. I can’t change that, but since I feel it is my purpose to get them to open up, and I continuously fail, I’m a failure and become depressed, causing more feelings of inadequacy and emptiness.
It is an endless cycle of hurt, heartbreak, and frustration.
And I do it constantly. Even now.
Without someone to dote on and cherish and give up everything for, I feel empty, useless, homeless, without purpose. I feel like there is no point to living if I’m not living for someone else. Being their rock, their shepherd, their partner. The one they need.
I want to be needed. Not just loved, but necessary. However, I want to be needed because I’m loved, not loved because I’m needed. I want my partner to realize they can’t live without me because they love me and are in love with me; they need me there just to survive the day-to-day trials, tribulations, and tortures of life; they need be with them to be happy; they need me just to sleep peacefully at night; they love me too much to put into words and express; they just need me. That’s what I want, and it’s something I’ll never have. And although I know that, I’ll continue to want, strive, and hope for it.
I want someone to make me feel like I’m the only one in the world for them, and mean it. I want to be able to take on the world with them, and win. I want to know that I hold their heart, and they hold mine. I want to be able to trust they will never throw me away, and have that trust be proven.
I give because I cannot receive. In some cases, will not. When someone tries to be open and loving to me, in a way that is greater than what I feel, I shut them out, lock down, and push them away. If I start receiving emotion I haven’t worked for and earned, surely it is too good to be true. Clearly they are lying to me, trying to lure me into something, making me believe them so they can turn sides and trap me against my will. They don’t love me, they only think they do. Because I’m so open and loving and easy to love. If I let myself fall into their open arms, eventually they will drop me. So I run. I run away from the love they try to give that is unwarranted. Undeserved.
I search out those who are cold and closed off to love, so that I may be the one to pry their heart open and let them love again, to have them love me. I want to fix them, for they are broken. I want to change them, to help them better their lives, to teach them how to live. But are they really broken? Or is it me that is actually broken? A puzzle missing a piece – taking every piece I find and trying to shape it properly to fill the void, forcing pieces where they don’t belong – hurting myself in the process of finding my missing element. I continue to work though – pushing harder, shaving off bits of myself to try to make the other fit, twisting every way imaginable to accommodate them.
But it never works. And it never will. My sacrifice is always in vain.
I emerge from the wreckage – broken, beaten, and scarred – and immediately search again.
I realize that the perfect piece to fill the void won’t have to be altered, shaped, and accommodated for. I won’t have to twist and turn and alter myself in order to fit them into my life and my heart. It will just work.
But here’s the kicker: If I sit around and wait for that perfect one, I’ll feel useless and empty, putting myself into a depression in which I cannot open myself to anyone, even that perfect one.
So why do I sacrifice so much of myself for others? It’s all I know how to do, and without it I have nothing. No matter how much I give, I will continue to give more, until I either break down their wall or break down myself. I think it’s obvious which happens more.