One book I’ve read recently that helped put a lot of my self care issues into perspective is The Dance of Anger by Dr. Harriet Lerner. It’s an old book (about as old as I am) and I should have read it years ago.
But a major point in the book is that we get angry in situations where we perceive something to be unfair to us. The problem arises when we try to change someone else’s behavior to “Fix” the problem.
Usually people don’t change because WE have a problem. They change because THEY have a problem.
For example, when my kids were younger, my husband loooooved playing basketball with friends EVERY Saturday morning until early afternoon. I would be exhausted from working full time and doing the bulk of the evening parenting. So I asked him to switch off days or work with me to find a solution. To him, I was asking him to give up his only free time during the week so needless to say our conversations went nowhere.
Now I realize that he had no incentive to change. If it was between his self-care and my hurt feelings, he would choose his self-care.
So I needed to choose MY self-care. For the next few weeks, I would get up earlier than him on Saturday and head out without the kids. He’d miss the first hour of basketball but I wouldn’t be at home simmering with resentment. Or I would tell him earlier in the week that I had a Saturday brunch with friends so he needed to watch the kids.
Now the issue of “who gets to relax on Saturdays” became less of my problem and more of his. He then wanted to talk about splitting Saturdays equally. Ha!
My point is: sometimes folks will not care as much about our problems as we’d like. While it sucks, it shouldn’t stop us from figuring out what power we DO have in these situations to get to a solution that makes us feel good.