I am a strong, self-proclaimed “independent” woman who speaks her mind without apology…except when it comes to….puppies?
Yep you got it. Puppies. Those little fuckers will get me every time. Ok maybe that is an exaggeration – they have gotten me like, twice, maybe three times. Let me explain.
For as long as I can remember, I have been a strong, opinionated, confident woman. It is a trait I have been “known” for most of my life and usually it works in my favor (except for that one time I got hauled out of the piano bar by security…I’ll share that gem in another post). But, when it comes to disappointing or upsetting people I love, I become an insecure, people-pleasing martyr …which I’ve always thought was waaaaaay better than seeing someone I love upset…until now.
7 or 8 years ago, I convinced my now hubby, to get a puppy. I told him all the amazing things we would do with this puppy and how happy it would make us and then I went in for the kill – I took him to actually see said puppy. I knew full well that any human with a heart beating in their chest would not be able to say no once they actually saw and held that cute, roly-poly, wrinkly ball of stink and slobber in their hands. AND…I was right!! Presto! We had ourselves an 8 week old bulldog!!
It was going to be awesome – right??
It was awful. Puppies are awful. Why doesn’t anyone fucking tell you this??? These things are cute for a reason – so you don’t just leave your house and never come back. I gave birth to a HUMAN via emergency c-section and then brought him home and KEPT HIM ALIVE while being unable to move – that shit was way easier than taking care of the puppy.
To say I hated being a dog owner is an under-exaggeration. I LOATHED it. And my loathing continued even once he was fully grown and mature. I just never enjoyed having a dog. I complained all the time. And I felt horrible. Horrible that he was not with an owner who really loved him and horrible because I hated my life with him and horrible because my husband really loved him…horrible, horrible, horrible.
My poor, sweet husband gave me every opportunity to re-home him and every time I said no. The guilt and shame that came up for me when I thought of doing that to my husband was more than I was willing to take. I also believed that I committed to having the dog so come hell or high water, that’s what I was going to do. In other words, I chose to be miserable and, for all those years, I thought that was an admirable choice.
Fast forward 8 years and that same dog is still with us. AND I got “gotten” by another puppy just a few months ago. I know what you’re thinking…What!?!?? Yes. I know. I feel the same way.
One rainy afternoon we had this bright (aka fucking stupid) idea to take Rocky to pet stores to look at puppies. WTF were we thinking?? I knew how this story played out. And I let it happen….participated in the decision fully. But it was like I created another person, sperate from the one who hated being a dog owner, just so I could make my family happy.
And every time a thought came up like ” Don’t do this, you’ll regret it” or ” I know they are cute, but remember, you hate them”, my people pleasing self totally ignored them. Fuck. Instead I held onto these thoughts:
- “It will be so good for Rocky (our three year old son)”
- “It will be different this time because he is not as big, doesn’t shed, and will actually enjoy playing with Rocky” – unlike or 65lb bulldog who just sleeps under the bed all day where it is cool.
- “Think of how fun it will be to see Rocky play with a cute little puppy”
- “Every child should have a dog”
And on and on and on and on…
Needless to say, the puppy arrived and for the first few days it was AH-MAZING. He was an awesome dog – no barking, no whining, no accidents in the house! OMG could it be real??? Is there a chance that taking care of this puppy won’t be a fucking nightmare ???
There is not. It is not real. I hate this.
Ugh. The shame set in again. And the misery. Here I was, back in the same place. Hating being a dog owner, wondering what the fuck I had just done and realizing that this would be my life for the NEXT 15 YEARS…..
The conversations went similar to the ones we had 8 years ago. My husband told me to rehome him and I, not wanting to upset anyone, refused. Until today.
It suddenly hit me. Keeping this dog in order to please my hubby and son was making NOBODY happy. AND just because I made a mistake didn’t mean I had to pay for it for the next 15 years.
The dog deserved more. My kid and hubby deserved more. I DESERVED MORE.
SO I pulled up my big girl panties and did something I normally don’t do. FELT SHAME. AND GUILT. AND SADNESS.
And then did the unthinkable – disappointed my husband and 3 year old son and gave the puppy to a home that will love him and love having him.
I released myself of the burden of making everyone else happy and realized that it wasn’t actually making anyone happy if I was going to complain constantly and be miserable for a choice I could make but didn’t want to because I would what? Feel bad? Come on girl, you are stronger than that.
You are a strong, independent women who OWNS her own feelings and is capable of feeling bad shit. I am also capable of handling other people’s disappointment and sadness…I don’t have to fix it for them, I can just be there for them, loving them and holding space for all of their feelings, no matter how bad.
People pleasing may sound like a good idea because you think by doing it you are protecting others from negative feelings like disappointment or sadness. But, just a little reminder that you do not and cannot control what others feel. They do this by the thoughts they think.
AND people pleasing so others don’t feel bad usually ends up making YOU feel bad. Why? Because people pleasing is essentially considering other people’s feelings at the expense of your own. It results in resentment and anger, especially when others don’t return the favor.
So. Today I chose to love myself and have my own back. And I know that my son, hubby and that adorable little nightmare will also be so much happier because of it.
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