Penny in Boise writes:
Why am I so depressed? Why do I always feel like crap? Why do my two sons have no respect for me? I do everything for them but they still treat me like a piece of crap.
Well, you kind of answered your first question with your second. You feel like crap because you are depressed. You are depressed because you are not taking steps to change your circumstances, because you think you are doing everything “right.”
Here’s a new concept for your consideration. Doing what is “right” is very noble, but it should not stop with the people that surround you. There are times where you need to bite the bullet and allow yourself to do what is right for you.
I see that you work hard, do what is expected of you, tend to your boys and the daily things of your life. I also see there is nothing left to give to you, the person that is most in need. Every facet of your day seems to be about some kind of work, which has created an emotional and spiritual imbalance. This imbalance is the source of your depression.
Because you have some picturesque concept of what being a good parent and person is all about, your energy is going to upholding that concept. It’s as if you are striving for perfection. That’s a lot of work. It doesn’t leave time, strength or space to tend to your own needs, and leaves you wrung out and depressed.
Your boys love you, and in their own way actually do respect you. They just don’t know how to show it, because you don’t demand it. They “expect” from you. And, you step up and meet their expectations. This is a pattern and a cycle that has been long in creation, and now has a very firm grip in your life. You surrendered your power and control, and now you don’t know how to take it back.
Quit giving in to the demands and expectations of your boys, and a couple other people that surround you. Sometimes respect is earned not through the things that you do, but through the things that you refuse to do. Change the habits, and everything else follows. Learn how to say no. Learn what is important and needs your energy and attention, and what can be delegated or let fall by the wayside.
You have a lot of pent-up anger, pain, and self-pity inside of you. It’s time to work through those feelings. You don’t have to tell anyone, but I strongly advise you to find a therapist to work with. You need that release with the guidance of someone who won’t judge you. With a therapist you will have the support you are currently lacking, and someone who is able to provide you with techniques and modalities of how to take control and respect yourself without guilt. The experience will be quite educational for you.
It’s time to elevate your needs to the top of the priority list. When you truly respect yourself, there is very little opening for others to disrespect you.