Between You And Me: Answering Your Problems Part 9
Whether you’re a people pleaser at heart and in need of some advice about how to stick up for yourself, or you’re scared of a pandemic future, this month’s BYAM blog tackles all those concerns, matters of the heart and more.
It’s time to answer your Between You And Me problems – a little slice of the blog dedicated to sharing your life dilemmas from the menial to the mammoth.
Whether you’re a people pleaser at heart and in need of some advice about how to stick up for yourself, or you’re scared of a pandemic future, this month’s BYAM blog tackles all those concerns, matters of the heart and more.
Now, it’s over the team to lend you an ear, a shoulder and whatever else you need to get you through 2020.
Hi Samantha, thank you so much for writing in. Honestly, I could have been reading a letter from my 26yr old self and it makes my heartache for you that you’re feeling this way. Can I start by saying really loud and clear…You.Are.Not.Crazy! The way you’ve been treated is completely unacceptable and your actions and feelings are purely a reaction to how you’ve been made to feel, this isn’t you. Of course, you’re going to mistrust, have doubts, question everything and feel insecure when your partner is leading a double life. I forgave a cheater once and let that relationship go on for much too long. Unfortunately, I think for some people once they’ve been forgiven or you’ve given them a second, third, fourth chance, in a messed up way it gives them a sense of permission to keep doing it because they know you’ll probably put up with it. I’m sure there are instances where someone has behaved badly and learnt the error of their ways immediately to become the perfect partner but in my experience, this just isn’t generally how it goes. I am speaking to you like I would speak to one of my good friends and this is what I would say to them. One. you shouldn’t be with him, Two. he doesn’t deserve you and Three. you need to be with someone who treats you with a lot more respect. Trust me when I say, I know it’s hard to break free, I was with someone for 8 years of constant disappointments and I was paranoid for a large part of that time, I forgot what it was like to not feel like that, it became my normal. It doesn’t need to be that way and I promise you one day you will thank your past self for being strong and walking away from what sounds like a very unhappy relationship. It’s never easy but one thing I kept telling myself when I was in the midst of my relationship ending was that this is the hardest thing I have ever been through but I have to go through it to give my future self the chance to be happy. You’re still so young and have your whole like ahead of you, don’t waste any more time being unhappy. Life is too short! Sending you lots of big virtual hugs. Maddie x
Hello lovely. Let me first start by sending you the biggest hug and heartfelt squeeze because I can feel every emotion you are experiencing right now and I know from past experience, the feeling is soul-destroying. The fact that you feel like this letter comes across as “crazy and psycho” confirms how much of a toxic relationship you are in as you are neither of those things yet your fiancee has led you to believe this behaviour is a by-product of you, and it’s not. It’s also not an over-exaggeration. You are well within your rights to confront, question and not be okay with any of your partner’s behaviours. I was once in a 2-year relationship where I was cheated on left right and centre. It always started off with finding messages or emails from random girls or reading flirty conversations on Facebook Messenger. Whenever I would question it with my ex, he would turn it back on me and make me believe I shouldn’t have looked, or that I don’t trust him and that the messages meant nothing. Even though I felt strong, and felt like I was standing my ground, he would eventually make me feel as though I had lost my mind (probably in order for me to leave him to it). It never did stop though, it only got worse and worse and eventually was physical cheating. That cheating was followed with a web of lies and he would call me crazy or psycho for accusing him. I was SO unhappy. I always found myself doing everything in my power to be the perfect girlfriend so he would stop. I’d think “maybe if I dressed better? Maybe if my hair was different? Maybe if I paid his rent each month? Maybe if I paid his phone bill or cooked his dinners every night he would love me and stop doing it”. He didn’t. And I exhausted myself (and my bank balance) trying to do everything for him so he would value me as a human. My friends would try and tell me he was awful and to leave, but I never felt like I could because he always made me feel as though it was my own “crazy” mind making it all up. I know that no matter how many times your friends and family tell you to leave, only you will know when that time is right. Even now, with me saying this to you, you probably won’t leave immediately. But I hope it’s sparked something in you, to know that I was where you are (although thankfully we weren’t engaged) and I WISH I’d left sooner so that I had more time to heal, find myself and fall in love with someone who cherishes me and respects me. Just remember, right now you are saying you are at breaking point, the only way that this can get any better is to break away and start fresh. It will be like ripping off a plaster and will be SO hard to do because right now you don’t feel strong, or confident but trust me, in weeks, months and years from now you will be happy, respected and loved by someone who deserves you. Please keep in touch and let me know what happens and just remember, you are stronger than you think xxx
I’m sorry to hear you’ve been having a difficult time dealing with confidence- it can be really overwhelming when insecurity takes over so you’ve been so brave to write in and share how you’re feeling. Whilst I’m not in a wheelchair, I do have a chronic pain condition that flared up during lockdown and has made wearing certain clothes that I used to love difficult, as I now need everything to be loose-fitting and comfortable. I think social media and comparison can really play into confidence because of how easy it is to compare yourself, so my first piece of advice would be to create a really positive and inspiring environment on Instagram in which you follow other people in a similar situation and get some feel-good inspiration! A couple of fab people I’ve come across include @fashionbellee, @sophjbutler, @itslololove, @lucydoesyt and @georginawasdall.
Next up is tackling your thoughts and switching the discourse. It will take some practice, but actively enforcing little changes to your mindset that put a positive spin on what might previously have been negative/self-doubt focused thoughts is one step in the right direction of accepting and loving yourself for who you are! When your mind takes you to that place of insecurity, try to switch the narrative and counteract those thoughts with affirmations like “I love me for me”, “I am beautiful exactly as I am”, “I deserve to feel confident” and “I am exactly where I need to be”. Positive thinking is a powerful tool, and I think it’s something that will help you so much in challenging the thoughts that are holding you back.
Best of luck in your confidence journey and remember you’re doing so so great!
Hey beautiful! So sorry to hear you’re feeling rubbish and like you’ve lost your confidence. It really sucks when you start to struggle with those feelings and feel like you just want to get back to who you are. I think Charlotte has answered this really well and I don’t have a ton to add on. I’d just like to reinforce the importance of curating your feed to view people who might be in a wheelchair or who have gone through adversity and reached a good place in their life. Maybe even start a new account packed full of amazing follows so you’re constantly reminded of how much strength you can find from inspiring people! Some of my faves are @rollinfunky, @tess.daly, @thebaglifeofbeck, and @jbone89 ❤️ You’re probably unlikely to find many people in your current circles that truly know what you’re going through (myself included) so seeking out friends in this community will do you the world of good. Tell people how you feel, don’t bottle it up, your good friends and family will want to support you however they can right now, stay strong! xx
Fellow people pleaser here – ‘no’ isn’t in my vocabulary. I’m so laid back and I’ll do anything for an easy life, so I often end up putting other people’s needs above my own. That said, I do think there’s a difference between being easy-going by nature and being a pushover. The latter jeopardises your happiness and wellbeing, ultimately corroding your self-worth and autonomy over your own life. And that’s not cool!
It’s possible to be a nice person AND have boundaries, in fact, arguably you’ll be a better nice person when you learn how to be nice to yourself first and respect your own limits. It’s certainly not negative to stand up for yourself or communicate your needs, it’s 100% necessary. You need to be assertive and honest about what you want or expect from a situation, as well as what you’re willing to tolerate / not tolerate.
It’s a lovely trait to want to make other people happy but at what cost? It shouldn’t be at the expense of your own happiness. While facing challenging situations can seem intimidating at first, over time, it will become easier as you develop emotional strength to have those conversations and in turn, others will soon learn where they stand with you. Everyone is different and has different boundaries, and only you are capable of expressing yours. If you don’t ask for what you want, who will?
Turning down things that you don’t have time for or simply don’t want to do is the most important act of self-care, and saying no can actually be a positive healthy decision, not a negative. It’s not going to be an overnight thing if people-pleasing is in your blood but with courage, you will get there and asserting yourself will eventually become a natural part of honouring who you are. Stop pursuing the approval from others and pursue your happiness instead – usually, the fear of upsetting someone is much worse than the reality and if they feel let down by a healthy decision you need to make, then that’s on them, it’s their responsibility to deal with that, not yours. Keep working at it and let us know how you get on, lots of love Lareese xx
Hey and thanks so much for writing in with your dilemma. I can definitely relate to this, arguments and confrontation don’t come naturally to me at all either and I know what you mean about the sinking guilty feeling you can feel after an argument too. When it comes to relationships over the years what I’ve learnt is that good communication can turn a possible confrontation into a really helpful productive discussion that doesn’t have to turn nasty to get your point across. In the past, if something upset me i would often bury it and not have the confidence to say, ‘actually I’m not ok with what you did/said here and this is why’ but eventually it eats away at you which sounds like what’s happening. It’s taken a while for me to realise that keeping things bottled up actually can have more adverse effects and can lead to repeated problems down the line so generally, it is best to be honest. I think we sometimes feel that the people we’re in a relationship with should be able to know how we’re feeling and can read our minds somehow. This isn’t the case at all and spelling out what is upsetting you really will make a world of difference to how people treat you. Relationships should be balanced, about compromise and your partner should be as concerned about your happiness as you are about theirs so don’t ever devalue yourself, you should be equals. If the people who are taking advantage of you don’t listen to you when you explain how you’re feeling then maybe it’s time to reevaluate those relationships all together but only you can decide when it’s time to do that. I hope things get easier for you soon, let us know how you’re getting on, Maddie x.
I’m so sorry to hear that you have been feeling this way. Covid-19 has been extremely unnerving everyone, our world as we knew it changed within a matter of weeks and so it is totally understandable to be worried about the future. I want you to know that how you are feeling is so normal, that I think really, we all are quite worried about the future.
I also want you to know that you are never alone, even when you feel completely isolated from everyone else. I think voicing how lonely you feel to friends and family would be really beneficial. You could ask to facetime them more, or even just have a weekly phone call that happens at the same time every week, so you have something to look forward to.
I wish I could say this will be over next year, but unfortunately, no one knows when all of this will end and that can be really scary. I totally understand this worry you feel when thinking about the future, I feel the same some days and my anxiety can get the better of me. But remember that you aren’t alone in feeling this way and so many people feel this too. When you can sense yourself going into worry overdrive, try and distract yourself by doing something you enjoy. Whether that is painting, playing a game, reading a book, doing something you find joy in can really help you relax your mind and ease that worry. I also use the Calm app when I am feeling super anxious and worrying, they have amazing breathing techniques and quick meditations which calm you down.
Focus on the now and not the future, dwelling on the future is pointless because, in fact, you are just dwelling on an imaginary scenario because none of us knows what the future holds. Finding that peace with the present will make you feel much happier. We will be out of this one day and you have so many amazing adventures ahead of you, stay strong you’ve got this.
Hey Anon, I’m so sorry to hear you’re going through this, loneliness is such a horrible feeling but it’s so so important to remember that you are not alone right now. What’s happening in the world right now is awful and there are so many terrible knock-on effects other than the actual disease itself. I can’t promise you how long this is going to last for, I wish I could say everything will be back to normal before you know it but it’s just a massive unknown at this point. Start thinking about how you can enrich your life in its current state, don’t get hung up on ‘when this is all over’ as it could be a long time and who knows if it will ever be the same as it was. I’m not sure which country you are in so I don’t know what the restrictions are like and I’m sure they are constantly changing. Try your best to seek out connections and communities online, digital is a great course of action for finding and chatting with people for a human connection. Are there any communities where you live that you can use to meet up with people for a socially distanced walk or coffee? It’s time to get creative, stop dwelling on what you can’t do and focus on what you CAN do. You have a long happy life ahead of you so start living in the now!
I’m like you, Christmas is a time of year I look forward to so much and is surrounded by so many positive memories. It feels like such a huge, important day but if you strip it right back, it’s just 24 hours. The pressure to ensure the day is perfect can sometimes get a bit overwhelming, especially when it comes to family arrangements. I’m so sorry to hear that you have lost your Dad and it’s completely normal to want to choose what your heart wants in order to feel better. I spent Christmas with my family right up until my parents divorced when I was 21 which is where things started to get a bit more complicated and disjointed. Even as a 21-year-old, my first thought was “what will we do at Christmas?”. I always wanted to try and please everyone else by darting here, there and everywhere (one year I even drove 3 hours to visit both families) and then I realised that I wasn’t prioritising what I wanted. I decided from then that I would spend Christmas in Brighton with my partners family and create other days to visit my family back in Wiltshire over the festive season instead. It’s not always about who you see on the day itself, but about creating memories and sharing the festive cheer on any day around the Christmas holidays if and when you’re able to. Explain to your Mum that you’d like to spend Christmas Day with your partner and that you’re excited for something different but that you’d love to do something with her on another day? Maybe Boxing Day or Christmas Eve? Or even a Sunday before Christmas where you can have a faux Christmas Day? I do this with both my Mum and her side of the family and my Dad and his side (we also try and do this with our friends too). We eat festive food, exchange gifts and still get that quality time without the pressure of pleasing everybody on one day! Since you sound like you love Christmas Day as much as I do, it just means you get MULTIPLE festive days and that’s never a bad thing! Just remember to put yourself and your happiness first, you deserve it! MERRY CHRISTMAS <3 XX
This is such a tricky situation but from your email, I can tell how much of a kind and considerate daughter/partner you are so just straight off the bat I wanted to say you’re handling the situation really maturely. Christmas is always a really sensitive time when it comes to feeling like you need to please everyone, and I think this is probably heightened this year by social distancing and the many months of sadly not seeing loved ones. Despite that, however, the situation you’re in is far more complex in regards to dealing with the passing of your dad so I really empathise that you’ve been put in an impossible situation.
Ultimately, I think you’re well within your rights to put yourself first and take control in creating a happier and more comforting environment during what will no doubt be a difficult time, and I would hope your mum would understand that once she’s over the initial hurt. I know you mentioned that you find it difficult to say no to her, but if you’re able to express that the reason you’re feeling uncomfortable and anxious is primarily because of the grief following your dad’s death, I would hope that even she would understand she is being unreasonable by not letting you spend this time how you wish.
Perhaps if you find talking to her face to face difficult you could write her a letter or text explaining how you’re feeling. This might give her the chance to get the initial shock out of the way whilst you’re out and then come around to the idea when you then discuss it face to face. I think her immediate reaction will be a negative one, but hopefully, if you’re able to do this in a way that allows her to understand the reasons behind your decision she will know she cannot stand in the way of your happiness.
Emphasise that there are Christmas traditions you’re happy to carry on with her, perhaps a Christmas Eve film or Boxing Day walk, but stick to your guns and try not to let her get in the way of this healing process for you. Best of luck and I hope however you spend Christmas it will be a lovely one!
Hello anon, thanks for writing in. I’m sure this is going to be a very common dilemma as we’re fast approaching Christmas now and it’s one of those uncomfortable conversations most families will have to have at some point, so you’re not alone. The older you get, the more you’re going to have relationships and other relatives’ needs and wants to cater to over the holiday season – sometimes above your own – so why not put yourself first this Christmas! It’s all about compromise.
I’m so sorry you’re dealing with the loss of your dad, too. I think that’s even more reason to try and do something different from the norm this year. If the family dynamic is different now, it might be nice for you to take your mind off the sadness around this time of year and how things once were – time to make some new memories. I’m sure it’ll mean a lot to your partner to share Christmas with his family, too.
I think you can definitely soften the blow and suggest spending Boxing Day or another day with your mum over Christmas to make up for it, and to ensure she feels like she’s still getting to spend some time with you.
As long as you give her plenty of notice and really open up about how important it is for you to do this, I think she’ll be able to respect your boundaries (eventually!) and deal with it in her own way. Ultimately, as upset or disappointed as she is at first, she will have to respect your wishes. Just really drum it home that you’re not doing this to hurt her, you just really feel like this year, this is something you need to do. No time like the present, go and have a chat with her. Sending lots of love and hoping she can see your pov xx
I can feel the worry oozing out of this submission so I can only imagine how that feels with all of those buzzing around your head. 2020 has been a wild year that’s for sure, it was something no one could prepare for and now we all find ourselves trying to navigate this new normal. I can see this worry is really beginning to stress you out and we do not want that! I really recommend downloading something like Calm app which can help calm you when you are in a heightened state of worry. It has short meditations and breathing exercises which can help relieve anxiety.
I think firstly you should speak to your family and let them know that this year you won’t be doing presents, or only small gifts, due to you not having a job and being a student. I am sure they will understand and probably don’t even expect a big gift from you every year! Starting university this year must have been rather stressful and not the experience you had hoped for, doing all your lectures online must feel really strange and I really do sympathise with all university students. But remember that although it may not be the typical university experience, there is still so much you can get out of it.
In terms of your job, I think if the idea of applying will stress you out then I think take a step back from that for a bit. The job market isn’t the best at the moment so finding a part-time job might be trickier, but there’s also no harm spending even an hour a week applying to a few jobs if you are feeling up to it. As we are approaching Christmas too usually Christmas temp jobs come out in retail around this time of the year, so you could find something there!
Travelling and new experiences are still ahead of you, they just might happen a bit later then you had hoped. But try not to stress about the future too much, just know that one day you will go travelling and explore all these new places and the worry you feel now will be a distant memory. Also, when it comes to boyfriend worries, if it helps, I am 22 and have never had a boyfriend too! Honestly, I spent a while stressing about it as well, but we forget how young we actually are! We have our whole lives ahead of us and one day you will meet someone. But really just enjoy your 20’s and the freedoms that come along with being single.
Wishing you all the best! Darcey xxx
Hello love! Thanks so much for writing in, 2020 is a MESS so I feel you! It sounds like you’re doing a lot of worrying and I hope you don’t keep spiralling out of control, let’s a put a stop to as much of this worrying as possible! Immediately let your know brother and Dad know that you probably won’t be able to get them a physical expensive gift this year, take it off your plate. They love you and know your situation and your presence this Christmas is worth far more to them than material goods, I think a ton of people in your situation will be doing the exact same thing this year and that is more than OK! If you have the brain capacity to do so, keep applying for jobs to curb your money worries but also understand how competitive it is at the moment. Travelling will always be there whether you go next year or further down the line, if it’s important to you, you’ll make it happen one day! Boyfriend worries? Who doesn’t have em! Especially at 20, but believe me when I say it’ll happen. It’s pretty hard to put yourself out there right now so maybe try focusing on self-care, try and be the best possible you – a little exercise, maybe start cooking a bit more, find out what really makes you passionate. You can come out the other side more sure of yourself and your drive and I’m sure you’ll be attracting someone in no time at all. Those things will certainly help your motivation, it’s all about forming better habits and feeling good on the inside. Try and only worry about things you can control, as everything else is out of your hands! Good luck!