Responsibility Resentment

One of the most common traits I see when working with burned out overachievers is over responsibility. They feel like they have to be responsible for everything or else it won’t get done. They take on more and more responsibility and ignore their own self care until they end up burned out and having health issues.

When we dig deep into this overly responsible story, five key things emerge.

???? A strong sense of guilt when things that are out of your control go wrong. Sentences such as “I should have known” are common even when it would have been impossible for you to know.

???? A strong need to avoid conflict drives you to take on responsibility to keep the peace.

???? You feel used and resentful and have an unending to do list. You feel overworked and underappreciated and your time is filled with demands from other people instead of your own priorities.

???? An inability to ask for and receive help. You feel that it is a weakness to rely on others.

???? Being overly responsible makes you feel competent and needed. You can even feel like the hero who swoops in to fix it all. This part makes it hard to change because it feels really good.

So how in the heck did this become your MO?

You learned it when you were a kid. Maybe you got blamed for creating your parent’s negative feelings, got blamed for something that was completely outside of your control (maybe your family financial situation), or you were required to take on adult responsibilities at a young age. You know what it was.

It’s possible to unlearn this pattern. I’ve done it and I know you can too.

Here are a couple of experiments to get you back to better boundaries around responsibility.

???? Start saying no. This was really challenging for me at first. I said yes on autopilot for the reasons listed above. Here’s what worked for me. I trained myself to say “Let me think about it and I’ll get back to you.”. This helped me pause long enough to really ask myself if I truly wanted to or if I was doing it out of conflict avoidance. You can start practicing at restaurants when the waitress asks if you would like more to drink. The more you practice, the easier this will become.

???? Start asking for help and accepting it when it’s offered. Instead of saying “no, no, no, I got this”, accept the help. Focus on being grateful for the help. Purposely start asking for help with small things to build your muscle in this area.

???? Use resentment as an indicator to get curious. Why are you resentful? What boundary has been violated? Do you have a stated boundary or were you assuming that other people should just know? 

I would love to hear your thoughts on over responsibility. How does it affect you?

PS. I help people stop overworking. I went from 80 hours a week to 30. I can help you do it too. It’s just a matter of reprogramming some inefficient work habits. Get to know me here.