Making it all about you

“You’re making it all about you!” It’s an interesting accusation and one I’ve been on the wrong end of a few times in recent years. From my perspective, it tends to happen when I am unable to be a good resource for someone in the way that I have been. Now, most people if that happens, come back concerned about whatever’s knocked me about – because usually it means I’m ill. I hate letting people down, and I will push through as much as I can, but sometimes that’s not an option.

Sometimes I do indeed take the decision to make it all about me. Usually I do this when not doing so runs the risk of pushing me into serious dysfunction with either bodily health, or mental health. I do it to avoid burnout, to avoid spiralling towards suicidal thoughts, to deal with massive triggering experiences and suchlike. These are times when I think I should be entitled to make it all about me.

So usually when someone accuses me of making it all about me the answer is yes, that’s exactly what I’m doing and need to do. You might want more or better from me, but if I can’t afford it, I’m not giving it. If a person has ever claimed friendship, then I expect that to matter. It might be bloody inconvenient and they might have every reason to feel grumpy and let down, but friends do not ask friends to burn out for them. Of course sometimes it may be a failure to recognise that the situation is that serious and I may have done a bad job of explaining – because, you know… ill…

What’s the intended effect of saying ‘you are making it all about you?’ Is it to punish someone emotionally for not doing the things? Is it to try and get them to back down? I know in some circumstances this would have meant a grovelling apology was called for followed by jumping to do the things no matter what the cost. I don’t want to live like that, and I don’t want to deal with people who will not allow me to make it all about me now and then.

I have, in recent years, become a lot more suspicious of the people who get angry with me for being in difficulty. I’ve stopped assuming this is just because I am a terrible person and everyone is entitled to be cross with me. This is a consequence of spending most of my time with people who genuinely care about me, want me to be well, would be horrified if I broke myself running around after them, and who, if I express myself badly because I’m in trouble, will give me the space to come back and do a better job of that later. I’ve said no to friends a lot this year, and they’ve reminded me that they care, and that they hope I feel better soon, and to yell if there’s anything they can do. It’s not the highest set bar in the world.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

4 responses to “Making it all about you

  • neptunesdolphins

    It is called self-integrity. When dealing with people with no boundaries or people who rely on others for their happiness, saying no sets them off. But people have agency, they can choose their reaction. You can’t control what a person will do when you say no, but you can choose to say no for yourself.

    I have a brain injury. I have to say no to a lot of things and overly-helpful people. It is what you do to stay healthy.

  • Christopher Blackwell

    Amazing what the users do, then try to shift the blame to their victim. Literally, they are projecting their own ” it is all about them,” onto you.

  • eberis

    I remind you heroes specifically boast about their insecurity in ways that appear bold and calm and good about what heroics does is make an episode of what the modern equivalent Meta implied is the topic~reply of grifting hacking of the new database typing net and the suspects being terrorin are not alloted the equivalent of free money in online banking but allowed a kind of free will about the use of fun in philosophy . more or less instead of ranting and going off the handle a hero will defeat evildoers by offering a boast of proclaiming their own sense of helping others to be secure .

  • emberbear

    ‘Friends do not ask friends to burn out for them.’ That should be on a fridge magnet. It sounds like you have done a great job of sorting out the real friends from the psychic vampires.

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