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I wonder if anyone else ever feels this way?

Lately, I feel as if I’m losing myself, as if I’ve lost myself. I don’t feel like a person anymore, but the services I perform for my family. I’m a cook, housekeeper, a dishwasher, etc.

My husband works in a factory, I’m disabled so I’m at home. Even though I’m disabled, it’s become my responsibility to take care of everything at home. I cook, wash dishes, do laundry, all the housework, most of the yard work, take care of the pets, balance the checkbook and take care of finances. I literally serve my husband his dinner in his recliner nightly. On top of all of that I manage my son’s social services and now my husband wants me to get a part time job to help bring money into the house. I don’t feel like a person anymore, I feel like my only value, my only identity is what I can do for other people.

Living at home with my narcissistic mother, growing up, I was conditioned to believe that one’s value was determined by what they did for other people, what they could give. I was conditioned, groomed, to be a caregiver. My life has been about serving, taking care of others.

I felt then like nothing was ever going to be enough, there was nothing I could ever do that would satisfy the needs of the people around me. I’m starting to feel that way again. No matter how much I do, there’s always something more expected of me.

I’ve been experiencing a lot of depression, anxiety lately. Feeling inadequate and frankly, tired of trying so hard to take care of everything and everyone without falling to pieces, without declaring defeat.

My husband has recently begun making what he refers to as jokes, at my expense. He points out every mistake, everything forgotten, anything misspoken, etc. When I tell him these “jokes” are hurtful and more or less validate the negative feelings I’m having about myself, my value, he doesn’t change his behavior.

Today I started our lunch, went for a walk, came back and shoveled our sidewalk, came in and worked on four loads of laundry. He sat in his recliner the whole time. There’s no concern for all the exertion I’m putting forth, for the fact I just had injections in both knees because of the pain I’ve been experiencing. It’s as if this is just what I’m meant to do, as there seems to be no conscience, sitting with his feet up, being waited on, being warm, while I’m outside shoveling, while I’m up and down, back and forth, taking care of everything.

I’m just the things I can accomplish… not a person living with pain; not a person suffering with depression and anxiety; not a person with bone diseases, nerve damage, PTSD, bulging disks, etc.; not a person who needs a break or needs help taking care of everything. I’m not allowed to be a person with feelings.

I’m feeling that I really need to speak up for myself, create some boundaries, or I’m going to completely lose myself. I can’t keep making everyone but myself a priority.