Wellness Wednesday: Over-responsibility

It is that time of the week where Therapy goes on FDS mode. Today we touch yet another territory that may affect ones mental health – being and/or feeling overly responsible and how to stop this feeling when it strikes.

“Owning what’s yours—mistakes and blunders included is a sign of maturity; but owning everybody else’s mistakes and blunders, not to mention tasks, duties, and emotions, is a sign of over-responsibility” – (source: scientific american.com)

It can also be a sign of OCD and can be a toxic trait if not addressed. It is also deeply rooted and may have been developed in childhood where ones family member was irresponsible and they felt the need to step up and overcompensate. This normally is a load that 1st born kids (aka deputy parents) usually carry, unaware, as they feel responsible to watch over and be role models to their siblings which then puts them in an overly responsible predicament where they see no reason expressing their needs to their parents as they feel that siblings have bigger needs or even that their parents have own problems/shortfalls and as a result they protect themselves from rejection by having “low maintenance” needs as a way of helping out.

A few signs that you may be overly responsible:

  • Atlas behaviour – carrying everyone’s problems on your shoulder while ignoring your own.
  • Overly committing yourself – struggle with saying no.
  • Giving in to others’ demands and expectations.
  • Always having to be the bigger person in your relationships (romantic, work, friendships, etc.).
  • Avoiding confronting people with the fear that you will not be liked.

How to STOP this feeling:

  • Set boundaries (can never preach this enough).
  • Decide what you are willing to put up with.
  • Never stress about someone’s negative response.
  • Learn to say no without flinching.
  • etc.


Have a mindful mid-week!