I have heard of this before, but I thought that it was a condition that people in the health care, particularly people that work with hospice, and Firemen, police and social workers get.
Apparently not. Moms, wives, husbands, compassionate people in general are at risk.
People that try to fix others. Make things better or easier. Think about others comfort and tend to others needs before their own can after time wear themselves down. If you are consistently taking care of others, then suddenly have some needs, your loved ones don't always have the ability to help you as they have always relied on you to be the fixer.
From, "Mom, wheres this?", "Mom, I need that asap". "Honey, I need you to take care of this & that". To employees and friends asking you to help out with extra duties because you are nice and just naturally step in and say how can I help?
There becomes a break down within yourself where you can not help yourself because there is nothing left of yourself to give even to yourself. You wear down and become exhausted.
There comes a point where you have to learn to say, "No. I can't right now." There also becomes a point where you need to learn to ask for help yourself.
My lovely counselor has brought this to my attention. Some concern that perhaps I am showing signs of Compassion Fatigue. Which is funny to me because I always feel so good when I help someone. But, I am looking into it and finding some interesting stuff about it online.
Two sites that have been helpful are:
www.compassion-fatigue.com and www.compassionfatigue.org
If you are like me, you might find them helpful.