Subjugation - "The push over"

Being walked all over in a relationship and what it means

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Ever been called a “Caretaker”? Or maybe you’re considered "The Rock" or “Go-to” person amongst friends and family. 

It makes sense. Looking after people comes naturally to you. It’s what you’re good at.

Whether it's a friend facing challenges or your boss needing someone to work late at the office, you're always the first to step in. 

Deep down you probably like being this person. It has become part of your identity - helping other people makes you feel good about yourself.

Now, being a reliable friend or partner is a beautiful trait. The world needs more kindness. But if you have the subjugation schema, you probably give much more than you receive. And all this giving comes at the expense of your own needs.

Have you ever felt drained or wondered why the same level of care isn't returned? It's understandable. Your inability to say “no” can leave you feeling disempowered and depleted.

Over time, this builds resentment in your relationships. Why don’t others ever seem to do the same for you…

How did this schema develop?

You’re probably an empathetic person by nature. But below the surface, there are likely to be other feelings driving this way of relating to the people around you.

Maybe, during your childhood, you took on a role you didn't ask for. Perhaps it was comforting a family member going through a rough patch or feeling the need to maintain peace in a chaotic environment. 

If you can relate to this, underneath your giving nature is a deep sense of obligation. Taking care of people feels like the right thing to do. In the rare instances that you don’t give and you choose yourself instead, you begin to feel guilty which drives you to give even more next time round.

Or you might have had a parent who was domineering, strict or volatile. Asserting yourself may have felt risky. Whenever you expressed what you wanted - or needed - you were shot down. And so, you learnt to follow instead.

Life is dictated by the people around you… It just happens to you. You’re left feeling powerless and burnt out. 

Signs you have this schema:

  • You struggle to assert yourself
  • You date people who have a very strong sense of self and who know exactly what they want in most situations
  • You date people who are a bit all over the place so you end up paying most of the bills, doing most of the chores around the house etc.
  • You go along with what your partner says even if you disagree because you fear a bad response
  • You run to people’s aid whenever anything goes wrong
  • You worry that you’ll be humiliated if you express what you think or feel
  • You let your partner do all the decision-making
  • You go out with people who are needy and dependent on you

The journey to better relationships starts with you.

Get on demand dating and relationship support.

Rooted in proven psychological principles.

Take a free relationship assessment to explore what’s holding you back.

Find out your Relationship Style