A Letter to My Family: Being a Good Person is Not Synonymous with Being a Door Mat

Dear Family:

I fully believe in being a good person. I have lived my entire life, all 31 years, by the philosophy of

do unto others as you would have them do unto you

In fact, I credit many of you for this approach to life, as many of you helped instil this attitude in me as I was a child.

As I hope many of you know, my life has consisted of doing anything for anyone when I’ve been asked. I have done this in my professional life and my personal life. In both, I have never once asked for any sort of praise or thank you for any of it.

Ultimately, I have always answered the call for help, no matter when or what the call was for. And more importantly, I have answered the call regardless of the consequences to my own life.

In order to put everyone else first, I have put myself last.

So, today, I am writing to say no-more.

Just because we are bound together as family does not mean I deserve to be treated poorly by you. Being family does not mean I have to tolerate being hurt, time and time again. In fact, if anything, I believe the fact that we are family is the very reason I deserve better from you!

While I do not want to be a person who is keeping score or the person who builds up walls, I feel the need to start protecting my heart from the seemingly never ending hurt. And so, from here on out, I am going to start trying to practice more self-care and find a new balance.

Starting today, I am demanding better of each member of my extended family. I will help you, when I can, but I will not help you at the cost of my happiness and my self-respect. I deserve to be part of an equal relationship, and if you cannot offer me an equal partnership, than I will no longer be at your every beckon call. Instead, I will be focusing on those who care for and respect me. I will be focusing on nurturing the existing positive relationships in my life.

If you want to be a meaningful part of my life, then it’s time for you to start acting like you want to be. I will continue to live my life in a positive manner. I will continue to love and live my life compassionately. I will continue to help those truly in need. But, for the first time ever, I will also demand the same from you because I’ve finally started to realize that being a good person is not synonymous with being a door mat.

I do not know what this means exactly. And I really don’t know how it will unfold in reality. I have no intentions of cutting anyone out of my life, but I do have full intentions of putting myself first for a little while to figure out what I need for myself and from you, and from there I will work to accept the limitations that exist within those needs. After everything we have been though in the last few years with our lost babies and so many moments lacking basic compassion, I know that right now I need to practice some better self-care and find a better balance in my life.

I promise, when you treat me fairly and with respect, I will be here and I will answer the call. But until then, I hope you can understand on some level that I will love you from a bit further away as to protect my heart from more hurt because right now, I simply cannot bear anymore.

Love,

Me (your daughter, sister, step-daughter, step-sister, sister-in-law, and daughter in law)

….

Maybe one day I’ll actually have the courage to share this with my family. But for today, this letter is more of a promise to myself and right now that matters more than anything else.

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49 Comments on “A Letter to My Family: Being a Good Person is Not Synonymous with Being a Door Mat

  1. This is awesome. You should be so proud of yourself. BTW you aren’t being selfish at all. You are being a strong person who deserves respect.

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    • Thank you so much Greg for your encouragement and incredibly kind words. I’m trying to accept that putting myself first doesn’t mean I’m selfish, but it’s such a foreign concept to me that it’s a struggle.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, this is so important and also so hard to do. But you have to remember that if they are not respecting you and thanking you for your aid and love, then they aren’t even noticing it – or worse, taking it for granted. You must take care of you first. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m proud of you for getting your feelings on paper. Sometimes this is one of the bigger challenges- sorting out exactly what emotions and what actions caused them, and how you need to proceed to move on from it. I hope that doing this, and sharing it with us has healed some part of the hurt. You know how much support there is for you and Mr. MPB.

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  4. Yes, yes and yes. Even if you are unable to share this with your family, I think it’s good to have written it down for yourself..and I love this, “being a good person is not synonymous with being a door mat” because it is SO true. I get ya. Hang in there…I’m here cheering you on…xoxo

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    • Maybe one day I’ll have the nerve to share it, but for now I’m going to work on actually doing it!
      Thank you so much for cheering me on – I am forever grateful and will always be cheering you on as well!

      Like

  5. Good for you! Sounds like they need to learn to live by the golden rule as well. It shoudn’t be a one way street – where they take, take, take from you and never give back.

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  6. As I was reading it I kept thinking, “Oh I HOPE this is a real letter, that got sent, and not just a blog post!” And part of me still wishes it were. But another part – I think the better part – recognizes that you really needed to write the letter to and for yourself. Having written it, start living the truth of it. Not sending it will spare you a whole lot of unnecessary drama. And if, as you change, you find some of them starting to ask why you’ve changed – either accusing or simply questioning … well, then, ask them if they really want to know. Ask them if they really and truly want to understand what’s happening inside your head and heart – do they really want to know YOU? And when that day comes, maybe it will be time to refer them to this letter, as it is, right here, inside this blog.

    I know you have a wall between this blog and your family that keeps you safe. But wouldn’t it be awesome if some of them were willing to climb the wall and get to know you? I don’t know how safe that would be … but one day, maybe?

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    • I do think one day I’ll take my blog public, but you are right, right now that wall is so important to keeping me safe and I need a safe space to sort through and process everything going on in our lives for the last few years. There are just so many emotions and so much complexity that right now I just need to focus on my needs. That said, I do love your perspective of wanting our family to know ME, which means all of this. One day…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I think one sentence needs to change: “Starting today, I am demanding better of each member of my extended family.” Starting today, you are demanding better of YOURSELF! Their actions impact your actions, but ultimately, it is all about your health, happiness and needs.

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  9. I think it is so important for us to set boundaries with family even if we are not in a place immediately to confide in them with any detail why we have done so, what those boundaries are and where they begin and end. Good for you for reclaiming space and energy for yourself on this journey. You need and will continue to need that as you face various adoption process challenges and continue to grieve your losses and the reality that has unfolded before you in the past few years. I wish you all the best as always and hope you know I am here whenever you may need to reach out. If I cannot do all I would like to do to support you in any given instance I will do my best to tell you so you are not left feeling abandoned or unheard or unseen yet again. I think that is one thing we can offer those we love – honest compassion in situ (whatever that situ may be). Love and peace to you and Mr. MPB.

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    • You are truly an amazing women, and I know I’ve said it before, but i’m going to say it again – I am so thankful I have you in my life. I am so thankful for our friendship, and just having the knowledge that we are there for each other makes the hard times a little bit easier.

      Liked by 1 person

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  24. This is amazing! Truly inspiring to me:) (even though it’s been over a year) I hope all is going well!!

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