When you’re the rock, it can feel like you don’t matter. Your feelings, your day, your circumstance don’t matter. Because they’re not the worst, they’re insignificant.
If you express frustration, don’t smile, or expect others to do the things they’re capable of doing, you’re unkind.
When you’re the rock, you’re the fixer. If things can’t be fixed, you feel like a failure. No one will reassure you that you’re not.
You’re expected to schedule, remember, communicate, manage, plan, organize, facilitate, and troubleshoot. It doesn’t matter how good or effective you are; one slip-up and it’s “oh, she must not care.” It also doesn’t matter how overwhelmed or ineffective you are; you’re the rock and so it goes.
When you’re the rock, your strength is interpreted as shoulders on which everyone else can pile their troubles and requests. On solid ground, this is doable; when in quick sand, this is a death sentence.
When you have young children, you’re already stretched thin. Even though this is a fact and not a complaint, some will assume you’re fishing for sympathy and remind you that “it’s your job” and “this is the life you chose.” They will smile in your face and talk behind your back and you will continue stretching.
When you’re the rock, your life is in a constant state of handle with care. That care is rarely reciprocated and sometimes, the resentment grows so thick it’s hard to breathe. Any attempt to abate these toxic feelings is met with the narcissistic hostility that has always existed just an inch overhead, but only drops when you can’t continue handling.
There are unspoken expectations. It’s unclear if you established them because you saw a need, or if someone else placed them on you because they had a need.
When you’re the rock, no one asks how you’re feeling, how you’re doing. It’s not for lack of caring; it’s because it’s never dawned on them that you’d be anything but together, capable, on it. For them, there is no such thing as dump out because the rock is everything, to everyone.
You are the keeper of all the hard, all the bad. You are the dumping ground, the landfill, the one wading around in other people’s shit because that is the expectation.
When you’re the rock, you are rarely a repository for joy or courage. But you must keep smiling, maintain enthusiasm. Be positive! Because that, too, is the expectation.
When you’re the rock, it’s as though you’re inhuman: do not react, do not take it personally, keep going.
And because you’re the rock, you keep going. The love and obligation see to it.