I am the first born of my parents. I was the first grandchild and first great grandchild on both sides. I came into the world to quite a fanfare.
I was the darling of my grandfathers and the sweetheart of my grandmothers. I lived for their praise and laughter. I was a pleaser. I wanted things to be wonderful. When my parents got upset with me, my first instinct was to please, to make peace. My mom used to say that when she confronted me with a question that called into question my behavior, I would immediately reply ‘Boy you look pretty today mommy’
Make peace, make everything and everyone happy. Be a peacemaker. Yeah ok…
It has carried over into my adult life with some pros and some cons. I find myself being not only a peacemaker but an on-call problem solver. I have a hard time not taking on people’s problems as my own; giving myself anxiety trying to think of solutions to problems that most of the time have nothing directly to do with me. Most of the time, I end up feeling overwhelmed. I want to fix things for people I love and it’s not always within my power to do it. Sometimes I end up feeling resentful because people don’t go ‘out of their way’ to please me in ways I would try for them.
My husband says that one of my best qualities is being able to anticipate exactly what would make someone happy, the right phrase to say to make someone feel good, or making someone who is feeling down laugh. I’ve always felt pride in having this trait. Other times, I’m wracked with guilt when my efforts fail.
Now I see my daughter performing the same way. When I scold her, she immediately tells me how beautiful I am. She tries to temper my anger with pretty compliments and to avoid her wrongdoing.
Somehow, I feel like I’m failing to teach her to make herself a priority and not bury her head in the sand when it comes to unpleasantness. I come from a family of ‘head buriers’ My father was famous for his ‘don’t worry about it’ attitude. Smooth things over.
I don’t want my daughter to feel like her problems can be glossed over or left on the back burner (which I tend to do while I’m busy worrying about everyone else) I have a very hard time taking criticism because I immediate think “Why are they picking on me? What about all the nice things I do for everyone? YOU’RE PRETTY!!!” etc etc etc…
Perhaps I should start being my own peacemaker, pleasing myself and letting everyone else solve their own damn problems.