The "Feel Bad" Syndrome

>> Thursday, February 4, 2010

I am currently reading a book titled Pitch Like a Girl by Ronna Lichtenberg. It's all about how a woman can be herself at work and still succeed. There is one part where she discusses how we, as women, need to get beyond the beliefs that hold us back.

One of the scenarios that I read about yesterday was the "feel bad" syndrome. This is the calculation you do in advanced that if we do what we want, then it may cause a relationship rift. So instead of doing what we want to do, we do what someone else wants to do, and then we go home feeling like we've been cheated.

Um, hello. This is totally me. I feel cheated a lot - and it's my own fault because I don't speak up for me and what I want. I instinctively feel bad if I got something someone else didn't get (raise, assigned to work others were qualified for, car, house, job...) Instead of looking at something that should be considered a blessing or something that I should be proud of because I earned it - I feel bad and ashamed because I "did better" than someone else.

I was embarrassed that I was valedictorian in high school (still am a little). Who's embarrassed about that? I didn't want my friends to see my resume because I didn't want them to know what my GPA was because I was embarrassed by my success. I was shy and quiet when we bought the Altima because we were in a good financial position to buy a "new to us" car...

These are all ridiculous reasons for me to feel embarrassed or ashamed or shy. I shouldn't feel like this. I should feel good that I have earned all of these things through my hard work and dedication.

She also talked about the "energy vampire". And boy, who doesn't have an energy vampire?? What's an energy vampire? She suggests this: close your eyes, imagine you have caller ID on your phone and you just saw a name or number on the screen. How do you feel? If you feel like running away - that's your energy vampire. They just suck the life out of you.

We have to learn to nicely say "no" to these people. She says:

Sounds easy, right? So why don't you do it? You don't do it because of [the feel bad syndrome]. You would feel bad if they would feel bad, and they would feel bad because you weren't making their needs a priority. And if they feel bad, they won't like you. Which makes you feel bad. But if you do it, when you don't really want to, they won't feel bad but you will because you'll feel like you've been used, which, by the way you probably have. Got that?

I had an energy vampire in my life and when we talked it really did feel like she would just suck.me.dry. Like as she walked away, I would want to put my head down and just take a nap...and fire missiles...but mainly take a nap. One day, I guess I said something or didn't do something that made her feel bad, which, I suppose made her not like me. And then I felt bad for doing something that made her not like me. But I also felt extremely used and unappreciated when I cave and do the things she asked me to do for her. I never felt like she genuinely appreciated me, my friendship, or the things I did for her. I spent more time talking about how I felt used and what ridiculous stunt might come next instead of talking about all the fun I had with her... I realized that I had to be done. For my own sanity and well being, I had to be just done. I am done and have been for a while now. I feel so.much.better. It's like a breath of fresh air on the cool spring morning where you just feel like you have gotten your life back.

Do you have energy vampires in your life? Or do you suffer from "feel bad" syndrome?

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4 comments:

erin.patrice February 4, 2010 at 1:15 PM  

I feel bad about things like that all the time.... and I mean ALL the time. It's so bad that i've lied about things to make myself seem worse about them... stupid, but it's all about fitting in with girls, right?

Tiffany February 4, 2010 at 1:35 PM  

I have the "feel bad syndrome." I'm especially bad around family or friends that don't have as much as we do. I feel guilty about what I've earned just because they don't have it as well.

Nishant February 14, 2010 at 3:25 PM  

I'm always so embarrassed when other people's kids scream.

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