The 12th Invest in ME Research Conference June, 2017, Part 2
MEMum presents the second article in a series of three about the recent 12th Invest In ME International Conference (IIMEC12) in London.
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Other people's guilt about 'wearing me out'

Discussion in 'Lifestyle Management' started by lior, Apr 25, 2018.

  1. lior

    lior Senior Member

    Yesterday, two people apologised to me, separately, for using up my energy.

    My energy is my responsibility - I choose how to spend it. Sometimes I HAVE to do things that take me beyond my limits. It's not their fault that I crash from spending time with them.

    Why do people seem to take responsibility for me spending my energy with them?

    When I'm out of energy and I have to end a conversation, I say that I need to stop. Normally, I catch myself not being able to string a sentence together, say 'I'm at the end of my energy', and I'd better end the conversation/take a break. Is there a better way to say this, in a way to prevent people from feeling guilty?
    NilaJones and alkt like this.
  2. NilaJones

    NilaJones Senior Member

    Do you feel the way I do, that when at the end of your energy it's hard to navigate social complexity? If so, maybe you could stop a little earlier in order to have the energy for that, and/or plan ahead some phrases or sentences to say that will mollify them more.

    For example, instead of, 'I'm at the end of my energy,' maybe, 'I need to stop now so I won't be too tired tomorrow,' would go over better. Avoiding mentioning the fact that you are going to be tired tomorrow no matter what :).

    A friend of mine apologized to me yesterday for extending our conversation super long last week. I told her, 'I'm a grown up, I make my own choices.' But that didn't seem to be enough, so I said 'I didn't have any bad effects from it.'

    Which probably wasn't true at all from a normal person point of view (I had several days of PEM), but what I meant was that I was ok with it. And she seem very relieved and pleased by the comment.

    A lot of times I find it really hard to strike a balance between wanting to be honest about what is happening with me and let people in, and not wanting people to be upset and feel guilty. So, you are not alone with this!
  3. Judee

    Judee Senior Member

    I don't know. It seems nice they would say this. It seems to mean they are taking you seriously when you say you are affected by this disease and that it is a real disease. By contrast, I've had people in my past call me a hypochondriac (even very dear friends) or when I apologize for not being able to eat a certain food they are offering me, respond with, "I know. You're a mess." When they are really just implying all this is in my head.

    Maybe just thank them for being concerned and tell them it is very nice to have a friend like them.
  4. NilaJones

    NilaJones Senior Member

    As for why people feel guilty, I think it's because they feel like they are not that wonderful, or important, that you should spend your precious energy on them. But it might take a lot of energy for you to persuade them otherwise ;).

    Personally, I feel like social interaction is really important to my physical and mental health. So I would say that if it came up. But really I think people just want to hear that it's not an issue, it doesn't take energy from you.

    PS: I think @Judee has a really good point!
  5. RebeccaRe

    RebeccaRe Moose Enthusiast

    A couple of lines I've used on friends in the past are:
    "It's worth it to spend my energy on time with you!"
    "I'm always tired, so why not go out to lunch with you and give myself a good reason to be tired?"
    "Don't apologize--I chose to use my energy doing x with you, and I'm so glad I did!"

    As for ending a conversation, I've said:
    "I need to collapse now, let's finish this conversation later!"
    "I'm too tired to talk. Can I call you back tomorrow?"
    (for close friends only) "I can stay on the phone but only if you don't mind that I grunt instead of talking."
    CreativeB likes this.

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