Feel like you have to be the strong one?

Hey everyone,
So I know it’s different for every family, but do you ever feel like you have to be the strong one all the time? Despite having fibromyalgia I am constantly cast in the role of the care taker for my brothers. And they are older than me and pain free. I always am trying to be that emotional supporter and rock for all of my friends as well, and because so many of them come to me for help I feel like I would be a horrible person not too even though sometimes I feel as though I can’t handle one more issue. Does anybody relate to this? I am always telling others to take care of themselves first or else they will have nothing to give to others when they are up for it, but I seem to have trouble taking my own advice. I’m constantly drained in every way possible and don’t like feeling like I’m always running on empty. I guess I just don’t know how to say no when a friend or family member comes to me with a little emotional crisis. Thoughts? Can you relate?

Hi, I'm new to this site and this is the first time to participate in a chat. I feel the same way as you. You sound young. I'm 56 years old and was diagnosed with RA in 2003 and CFS, FMS in 2005. It seems that we are the "overachievers" people talk about. We help everyone but ourselves. I grew up in a dysfunctional family and wound up being the person who took care of my alcoholic parents and younger brother at the age of 12. My 2 older brothers left home when they could and my sister got married at 14 in order to get out. Well, I made it through High School and Jr. College with honors. Got a job quickly and wound up marrying at 20. It seems that I went from one caregiver situation to another. My husband expects me to be his mother not his wife (we've been married for 36 yrs.). Over the years, I've discovered that my husband and his parents are alcoholics and don't want to change. I believe that all of the stress in my life caused the RA, CFS and Fibro. I'm still taking on the burdens of others when I can't even think straight myself! Because of interactions between Cymbalta and Tramadol, my Rheumatologist has taken me off them "cold turkey" and I'm really in bad shape. This is probably why I'm saying all of this. I normally don't talk about myself. My advice is to try as hard as you possibly can to make time for yourself (even though people may think your selfish)!!! Help others after you've helped yourself.

Hey there, welcome to this site!
Thanks for your reply, I am sorry you have had it so hard and have truly had to be so strong.

I am only 21, I think I've had fibro though (without exaggeration) since I was about 8-years-old. Needless to say because of being so young I can only recall having energy and feeling well when I was about five doing gymnastics.

I agree with you that we need to take time for ourselves, I guess I let the blaming voices of others get into my head too much though because I do wonder if I'm being totally selfish to have some down time for myself.

I hope that things get easier for you and that the stress will let up an awful lot.

Prayer and blessings

P.S. you can feel free to vent to me anytime you like, sadly its kind of a comfort to know I'm not the only one bearing a whole lot

Hi Ahava,

Boy can I so relate!! But I am getting better as placing my needs first. There are ways to word it without say NO! Just simply say that your pain is really bad at the moment and as much as you would like to help unfortunately you have to rest. You get the idea! People will suck the energy right out of you if you let them. They are so used to you always being there for them and their needs. Wouldn't it be nice if they would do the same. It's okay to be selfish in this case to take care of you and don't allow them to have the little bit of energy you have left whether it's with your brothers or friends etc. And please don't feel guilty for doing so! Practice it will get easier because you too have taken on this role of care taker as you said so sometimes patterns are hard to break. Life isn't the same and you have to make adjustments. I hope some of this helps and that you will start to feel less drained very soon! If you need to talk more about it don't hesitate to add me and write a message! :) Good luck and best wishes...big gentle hug...Sue

I can so relate to this. Its hard being strong all the time I just want 1 day to be taken care of and to be able to not push myself to where the pain is major but thats impossible in my life.

Thank you so much DreamCatcher. That is exactly what I needed to hear. I need to practice my no skills more often!


I'm sorry to hear that you are having such a rough time. I think we all can relate, you can always vent here and please do try to take care of yourself.
I think people who suffer from all sorts of auto immune diseases especially need to be reminded of this. This life is draining enough without having everyone and their uncle constantly relying on you for responsibilities that aren't yours to carry.

Oh Ahava, seems as though we all tell the same stories over and over. I have come to call Fibromyalgia 'the over-doer's disease'! It fits better than anything I have heard so far!

If you have always been the strong one for everyone else, they don't know you in any other capacity, and possibly never will. Not seeing them or hearing from them is much worse than the relationship that you have as their rock, you know? I think you are the type of good hearted person that will always give all that you possibly can. It's not a bad quality to have, just don't forget YOU!

You may also want to practice asking some things from them, I know you're probably not too good at it, but practice a little, see how it goes! They may even surprise you, and respond beautifully!

Hang in there, girlfriend!