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How To Shift Out Of Being Trapped In A Cycle Of Exhaustion And Over-Giving

Karen McAllister November 2020

Money Kuel Category Expert: Karen McAllister

I hear a common cycle many times from women, particularly women business owners, who are passionate about their service and clients, but feel trapped in a cycle of exhaustion, over giving, undervaluing and not receiving enough revenue for their talents, skills and abilities. And COVID19 has created the conditions that feed the cycle more.

Does This Sound Familiar?

I will do anything you want me to do. I want to make you happy. I want to meet your every need. I will do anything not to upset you. I am really good at saying yes, even when I mean no. I can anticipate your every movement, your every need and I am really good at anticipating your unhappiness by your tone of voice or the slight grimacing of your mouth. I watch for the warning signs in the silence before your emotional tsunami appears. So much of my resources are tied up in keeping the environment safe and not letting too much in. So much of my being is focused on getting love by being of service to you in every way.

And I feel tired. Sick AGAIN. Feeling exhausted at a cellular level. I feel resentful. Always trying to manage my environment and the people around it to stay safe. Spending all my time keeping things out so I won’t get triggered into shame. I need to be perfect. I need to do things exactly right. Fatigue has caught up with me…….cannot walk, need to go to bed and rest.

The Cycle Repeats:

receiving revenue is an important part of self-care”

BACK. On top form, energetic, full of beans, ready to engage with the world as superwoman. Ready for the responsibilities of being a woman business owner, a partner, a mother, a daughter, a citizen and everything else.

All is good. Sure, I can do that for you. No problem. I am full of compassion. I will listen even though I might be tired. And yes, you don’t have to pay me for this session. (Inner quiet voice: You are not valuing yourself here).You are going through a hard time. It’s not about the money. (Inner quiet voice: receiving revenue is an important part of self-care). Oh, yes, right, I scheduled in spending time with my finances & having my daily walk but you need me now. I’ll skip my time on my big rocks because you need me.

(Quiet voice… I am feeling the exhaustion coming on. You need to stop now, have boundaries, walk away and nurture yourself)  But I am  needed. I can save this person. I am a good people reader. It feels good to be needed. (Quiet voice: a gentle reminder of this pattern of over mothering. Yes, you get a kind of nurturing from it, then feel over tasked and over stretched.)

Sick AGAIN. Feeling exhausted at a cellular level. I need to go to bed and rest……..

And, The Merry Go Round Continues:

Many women are aware of acting out the same old patterns. They know it is not serving them yet part of them are very committed to the old ways.

What is it that keeps them repeating this cycle is such a great question.

Family Of Origin:

“many of us had to surrender authenticity in order to maintain attachment as a child”

Dr. Gabor Maté talks about the tension between attachment and authenticity being very young. Many of us had to surrender authenticity in order to maintain attachment as a child with our mothers. According to Maté, attachment looks like this. You walk away from Mum to explore. You get scared. You check where Mum is. You run back. Mum holds you and is attuned to your needs and helps make the world feel like a safe place. This gives you confidence to take more and more risk, giving you the strength to choose authenticity over attachment. 

When Mum or Dad didn’t provide that holding container on a regular basis, then we can spend our lives playing it safe and small over authenticity. If I say no to undervaluing myself or undercharging, then clients may abandon or reject me. Putting yourself out there and standing in your power and not reducing your fees or giving your sessions away for free may mean losing clients.

Becoming Your Own Container:

Mark Epstein said Buddha was a traumatized child. He was only one week old when he lost his mother. Through meditation, he faces all his fears and demons by holding them all. In other words, he becomes his own container just as his mother would have if she had been alive.

If you have been choosing attachment over authenticity, you can learn to create a holding container for yourself and your business so you feel safe enough to start exploring and experimenting with different revenue models that honours your expertise and skills.

Attachment Versus Authenticity:

I worked with Meghan recently, a woman in her 50s who has a small marketing business. She is good at what she does, but could not run the family on her income alone. Her husband brings the money in. She started the money coaching core process and slowly in our sessions together, she unpacked her patterns around not valuing herself and started to learn to create a holding container for herself. This allowed her to start charging the right amount for the actual number of hours she worked.

Her pattern was to undercharge and give a lot away for free. Meghan is earning what she is worth now and is lighter and more confident in herself. And, life is never perfectly happy ever after. As Meghan began to set boundaries and say yes to valuing herself, some friends loved it and others felt abandoned by her. Some people didn’t like her for it. And, the interesting thing was that as her trust in her authenticity grew, so did a healthy disrespect for what other people thought.

Is This Your Pattern?

Where do you undercharge, undervalue and over give in your business or your personal life? If this resonates with you and you want to chat, email me at [email protected]

About the Author:

Karen has worked with over 100 clients, helping them untangle their money issues and to become more effective in their work because of it. To do this, Karen has studied financial issues extensively from both the practical, behavioral, and the emotional perspectives.

She has been certified by Deborah Price of the The Money Coaching Institute as a Certified Money Coach, a Couples Money Coach, and a Business Archetype Coach. She has studied with Lynne Twist from the Soul of Money Institute for two years on Mastering your Money and Transforming your Life, including studies in Lynne’s Fundraising from the Heart program. Checkout Karen’s site TheMindfulMoneyCoach. Or, you can email Karen directly at the TheMindfulMoneyCoach.