Writings from Christine

The Curse of the Overly Responsible Exhausted Woman

by on April 1, 2013

Frustrated Woman at Computer With Stack of Paper

Many women struggle with feeling like they are the only responsible person at work and home. While there can be many unhealthy reasons for this, one of them stems from a normal healthy attachment. Their maternal instinct of caring for their children sometimes spills into the work environment. The result is an unhealthy desire to protect and care for co-workers.

Doing everyone else’s work is exhausting and often provokes them to anger. This frequently manifests at the most inappropriate times. Interestingly enough, many women secretly enjoy being the person who gets it all done. They like being admired for all of the extra work they do, thus feeding their maternal instinct.

The curse of being overly responsible is that without irresponsible people around, there would be no need for the overly responsible.  This unhealty outcome means strained relationships and misplaced instincts. So, what does it mean to be overly responsible?

It means taking on more responsibility for things or people to the point of excluding others from taking on their own responsibility. This exclusion of others sometimes comes if the form of criticism for how a task was accomplished. Instead of teaching someone how to do the task, it easier to “just to it myself so that it is done right”.  This is overly responsible behavior and drives everyone else crazy. So what can be done?

Stop taking on other’s tasks.  No matter how hard this is, they must stop doing things for other people just because it is “easier”, they won’t do it “right”, or just trying to “help”.  Pretending to “help” someone out by doing something for them when they are responsible for doing it is NOT helping either anyone. Instead, this creates an unnecessary and unhealthy dependency which ultimately only serves to feed their ego. Getting self-worth from being needed is not healthy.

Stop comparing to others.  At a much deeper level, when they take on other’s tasks, it translates into feelings of superiority. Being better or being more responsible than others sets them apart from the crowd. It also minimizes the other person’s journey by insisting that someone else should be at the same level. Sometimes, a person has to suffer the consequences of their own decision in order to make better decisions going forward.

Stop saving others.  By focusing on other’s issues, energy is stolen from self-care. This “sacrifice” becomes another manifestation of an unhealthy ego development. This is where anger appears. The other person does not appreciate the “help”, the overly responsible person become frustrated. Instead of the ego being fed, they feel misunderstood and taken advantage of. The solution is to not save others.

Each person is ultimately responsible for their own conduct receiving either rewards or consequences for behavior. Helping the overly responsible to see the error in their thinking will reduce stress, minimize exhaustion, and manage anger more effectively.

Posted under: Exhaustion Work Frustrations Writings from Christine

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