Take a young mum for example. She has to do everything for her new baby. But it is not necessary that she feels too put upon. Exhausted, sleep-deprived, maybe lonely if she has to spend everyday with a baby, but OK with it.
Roll forwards a few years and now she may find herself in the middle of a family where she is the only one who ever picks anything up off the floor, or washes anything, or hoovers, or cleans etc etc. She probably finds that she is starting to feel like a drudge!
Being taken for granted is that feeling when you have done something for someone and they do not even acknowledge it let alone thank you for it. And it sucks. And what's more, it can get worse. This person, or persons, now expect that you will continue to do this kind thing because that's your job!
There are different ways of dealing with a situation like this:
You can keep silently trudging on doing all the work and feeling like a martyr but become increasingly resentful of everything and everyone.
You could turn into a nag. As soon as you see anyone else, no matter what time of day it is, start moaning about how horrible life is and how annoying everyone is.
You could stop doing anything at all, in which case, probably the rest of the family would give each other funny looks, but just make small comments until you gave in and started doing it again.
So, How DO You Survive?
Now listen, it is all very well to be the boss in your kitchen and to be able to control everything that happens etc., etc., blah. blah and you can feel all angelic while helping everyone, but imagine it going on for the next ten years. Not feeling so good now right? So the fact is, that it needs to become more democratic and less controlled.
It might be that you simply do it all because you don't like telling people what to do and you don't like feeling like a dictator.
It could be that you think, you can see what needs doing, so why can't they see it without being told?
Or it might be that you simply don't like asking people to do things because they will not do it properly and ask you a million questions and you'll only have to do it again yourself anyway.
Whatever the reason, taking little steps towards releasing control will, in the long run, help everyone.
The worst thing to do is to walk into the room suddenly one day and explode. This can be very tempting, especially if feelings have been building up. The chances are that no-one will have noticed your subtle-as-an elephant hints about helping around the house more.
It is far better to ask one person to do one thing for you. Ask them to do it once. Then stop. DO NOT feel bad because you have asked someone else to do a thing. The more you do it, the easier it gets.
Do not use sarcasm to get your point across, and don't be too negative or general.
Walking in and saying 'Look at this tip! you never help around the house, what did your last slave die of?' does not convey the right message does it?
Rather, walk in and say 'Joe, can you go and hang your coat up?'
One simple, direct request is more likely to be followed.
Or after dinner, say 'Everyone can put their own plates away and we'll have dessert.' Or something like that.
Start small, stick to simple messages that can be done easily. Don't nag - teenagers have a special way of tuning out when the nagging starts. The little nag-avoidance mechanism switches on and they do not hear a word you say after that.
Don't be vague or general. Instead of 'Tidy your room.' it is easier to say 'Pick up all your clothes from the floor and I'll wash them for you.'
Start them young and keep it up. They will have a real sense of accomplishment and independence as they learn to do more around the house and you will find