It is such a huge burden when you are the only responsible person at work and home. Why can’t everyone around you just see how much work you do all day long? If only your co-worker would do what they promised, you spouse would finally clean out the garage and your kids would do their chores then everything would be fine. But no… You have to finish the project for your co-worker so the “team” does not get impacted; you have to clean out the garage so you can park your car in it; you have to finish the kid’s leftover chores because your in-laws are coming over for dinner. Why can’t everyone just do their fair share?
Doing everyone else’s work is exhausting and often provokes you to anger which manages to come out at the most inappropriate times. But secretly, when you are really honest with yourself, you actually enjoy being the person who gets it all done. After all, if your co-worker did their job, you husband helped out, and your kids participated in something other than video games then how can you be admired for all the extra work you do?
The curse of being overly responsible is that without irresponsible people around, how can you be overly responsible? This means that at some level you actually get satisfaction from being overly responsible or you would not keep doing it.
So, what does it mean to be overly responsible? It means that you take 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. For instance, say you were at a budget meeting where everyone was to analyze their own areas and then present suggestions at a meeting. You may not like the manner in which your co-worker chooses to complete the task claiming that it is insufficient. Instead of teaching them how to do the task, you find it easier to “just to it myself so that it is done right”. This is overly responsible behavior and you are driving everyone around you crazy. So what can you do?
Stop taking on other’s tasks. No matter how hard this is, you must stop doing things for other people just because it is “easier”, they won’t do it “right”, or you are 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 them or you. The only thing you accomplish by “helping” is creating an unnecessary and unhealthy dependency which ultimately only serves to feed your ego. Your ego likes to be “needed” because that is where you get your self-worth from but this is not healthy. A positive self-worth comes from understanding you not comparing yourself to another person.
Stop comparing yourself to others. At a much deeper level, when you take on another person’s tasks you are saying that you are better than them. Being better or being more responsible than others sets you apart from the crowd and allows you to stand out but this is not servant leadership, rather it is self-motivated leadership. Everyone has their own journey to follow, in their own time. By insisting that a person be at the same level as you, you are really saying that you know better where they should be rather than allowing them to follow their own journey. Sometimes, a person has to suffer the consequences of their own decision in order to make better decisions going forward.
Stop saving others. There is only one Savior, Jesus Christ, and you are not it. By focusing on other people’s issues, you steal energy away from caring for yourself and then begin to see this process as a sacrifice you make for them. The problem is that the sacrifice has already been made in Christ and He doesn’t need you to sacrifice yourself for others. Rather you need to offer your life as a living sacrifice to Him. Jesus will save them. You can pray, encourage, guide, teach, and love but you are NOT to save them. This is why you become angry when someone does not appreciate your “help” because you are really trying to “save” them and it isn’t working.
There is a small verse in Galatians 6:5, “For we are each responsible for our own conduct”. You are responsible for your conduct and you will receive the rewards or consequences of your behavior. Others are responsible for their conduct and they will receive the rewards or consequences of their behavior. Being overly responsible is not being godly; it is trying to take the place of God in the life of others and that is how you are cursed.
There is hope for your exhaustion. Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort. If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment. Or you can send me a quick email at firstname.lastname@example.org.