Being forgotten or left behind has always been an underlying fear of mine. Even when I was involved in a mentor-mentee program, as the mentee, I felt like I was being under appreciated; my mentor made next to know effort to get to know me, and she at most times, forgot about my existence. So when I became the mentor and had five mentees, initially, I chose them because I knew they would be low-maintenance and would not require as much of my attention. But somewhere down the line, I lost sight of that, and wanted to overcompensate for what I never got from my mentee. I tried to give them my full attention and love. And that was the worst idea possible. I became overbearing, nagging, insecure, and I basically brought several abusive relationships upon myself where I felt under appreciated by my mentees. It was that sort of insecurity and feeling unappreciated that drove me to wanting to kill myself.
Ever since I was young, I was either neglected, nagged at, or spoiled. My parents were always busy nagging at my sister when I was little, and they spoiled me by basically buying me anything I wanted to compensate for the lack of their attention. But then when they would give me their attention, it would be my mother nagging me incessantly and my father being her verbal guard dog; if I tried to speak up for myself to my mother, my dad would beat me. So naturally, I was distant from both of my parents. I did not want to be closely involved with people who would only try to use money to make me happy. Their words and actions all only served to push me away. Unfortunately, my only frame of reference on how to care for somebody is to nag them in an attempt to protect them, and financially bolster them. I know it’s not the right or best way to show you care about somebody, but it’s the only way I have ever really been taught to do that.
Feeling neglect comes subjectively to the individual. Most of my mentees knew that I was there for them without needing to physically be there. For me, I would have preferred somebody who can be there physically for me whenever I needed them. It was that basic difference in needs that caused a lot of miscommunicated feelings. They felt like I was smothering them, when I felt like I was doing the right thing. And when they would not put in the same amount of care or attention, I felt like I was not being valued, and it destroyed my self-esteem and perceived self-worth. For me, I felt this need to be more attentive, to overcompensate for years of being neglected, only for my intentions to be greatly misread.
What I am frustrated about is how it took two people, one being me, and the other being one of my mentees, being scarred for life for me to realize how many underlying issues I really had, and how they pushed me further away from being the person I wanted to be, and was happy being. I had that happy medium, of being able to provide and care, but not constantly and excessively. But then this need to be constantly there and always thinking about others, it consumed and overwhelmed me. I did not want to be the mentor I had. I did not want to be the parents I had either. I was hoping to end that cycle of negligence. But I only continued it, by pushing others away. I just need to understand that bottom line, there’s only one person who I should ever push all of this focus and attention onto. And that person is me. So long as you never neglect yourself, then you really aren’t being negligent. That’s the key to being feather-light.