I think we all have several different personalities. They each come out at different times, particularly when dealing with different types of people.
For example, my boyfriend and mother think I’m hard headed, stubborn, and ambitious. I argue with both of them over everything and make sure my opinion is heard and accepted. I frequently get flack from both of them for things being “my way or the highway.” I know what I want and I know how to get there.
With one group of friends, I’m more inquisitive and have deeper, more meaningful conversations. We have a TMI relationship. They know everything there is to know about my life, and I’m an open book. With another group of friends, I’m ridiculously private. I talk about things that are going on around me, but rarely about my life.
One of my many personalities is the bane of my existence. It makes my life harder than it ever should be. It sweeps my own needs and wants under the rug, while catering to more selfish people. This is the pushover side of me.
There are a few people—namely, people who have more “dominant” personalities than me, such as my brother, cousin, and a couple friends—who see only the spineless, sniveling pushover that I become when I’m around them.
When I’m around these friends and family members, while also with people like my boyfriend and mother, my personality is caught between the hard-headed Daisy and the pushover Daisy, two contrasting views on the same person. I experience a lot of stress. It causes fights with my boyfriend when we get home, because he doesn’t understand why I change in front of others. It causes fights with my mother, because I still treat her same as always—arguing with her when I see fault in her point of view—while I’m practically submitting to the other people in the room. She thinks I find fault in only everything she says, and not everyone else.
Because of this particular, spineless Daisy, my self image is confused and damaged. I’ve always thought of myself as smart and independent. I’ve always thought I’d stick up for what I believe in and voice my opinions no matter what. But this view of myself conflicts with what really happens when faced with a situation in front of certain people.
The spineless, pushover Daisy stems from wanting to avoid conflict. I’ve never loved conflict, mainly because I want to hold everything together. Even with friends that treat me terribly, I’ve always wanted to keep them as friends and not jeopardize my relationship with them because my views differ from theirs. This is probably crazy, since these people (especially those with more dominant personalities) probably butt heads quite frequently, and it’s unlikely to ruin their relationships. But I’ve always wanted to be liked, accepted, and remain a part of people’s lives without a hiccup.
Because of this, I let these people walk all over me.
The Last Straw
A friend of mine recently had a baby and asked me to watch the baby in the mornings before I went to work. She said she would give free haircuts (she’s a hair stylist) in exchange, because she couldn’t afford to pay me. I agreed. I found out a couple of months later, after hours and hours of taking care of her child and showing up at work disheveled because this baby is high-needs, that she must have had the money, because she hired a housekeeper. At $70 a week, no less.
So here I was, spending my gas money to get to her house, taking care of a baby that took a lot out of me and compromising my professionalism as a result, and sacrificing precious hours which a full-time student and full-time worker can’t really afford to sacrifice, and she couldn’t “afford” to pay me. Granted, maybe she thought she could afford the housekeeper because I was helping her out and only asking for a haircut in exchange—but I never even ended up getting my haircut, because she could only “find time” to do it while I was at work.
But it was my fault. I didn’t say anything to her. I agreed, knowing that it wasn’t going to work out. She knew I had no spine. She knew she could take advantage of me, to her gain and my loss. She’s not a bad person, but it’s human nature to take advantage when possible, and I made that possible for her.
I’ve decided that I quit. I quit letting people walk all over me. I quit being spineless, and I quit hiding from conflict just because it makes me uncomfortable.
I need to speak up to people if something is important to me. I need to stop establishing myself as somebody who can be taken advantage of. I need to start doing what is in my best interest. I need to start being the “me” that I see myself as—always.
Daisy is a Canadian blogger, student, and intern extraordinaire who runs the blog When Life Gives You Lemons, Add Vodka. When she’s not grappling for self-improvement on her blog and Twitter, she spends copious amounts of her not-so-free time perusing Pinterest and daydreaming. You can follow her on Twitter or contact her at email@example.com.
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