Addictions To Work?


Submitted by Maia Berens | Category: General Interest | Published on Feb 02, 2011
 
Abstract:
Looking back with adult, non-victimy eyes and from many years distance, I think that my mother's impact is the source of my incipient workaholism. Also, as a kid I think I absorbed the righteousness of working a lot.

Workaholic Who Loves Her Work?

Do good workaholics figure out how to love their work so they can still work a lot?

I think society defines a workaholic as someone who uses work as an addiction. And addictions are supposed to be about running away from feelings or dealing with feelings in an unhealthy manner.

So what I am asking is - am I still a workaholic even though now I love my work?

Many years ago I was a financial planner/financial salesperson. I worked at that job addictively. I think the feeling I was running away from with that job was guilt for not working enough and making enough money.  What a lose/lose proposition that my ego set up: if I overwork, I don't feel guilty for not working but in order to not feel guilty for not working, I had to work 70-80 hours a week. No matter I hated the job. No matter I had young kids and left them a lot. No matter that although I did make very good money, I didn't have the positive feelings of self worth or consciousness to be able to feel comfortable with it and so it magically disappeared all the time.  It was an addiction.

Today, I totally love what I do for a living. I coach people to move from one place in their life to another place they?d rather be. Usually I?m working with them closely as they grow as a person in all areas of their lives from relationships to work to writing or creating other ways and many other aspects of their lives they begin to look at through their new glasses or more self worth and a higher level of self acceptance. Since watching people grow is my favorite activity, I love every minute of it.

Also, my work allows me to teach. I get to watch my own process to see how I have grown or how I wish to grow. I watch my husband, my kids, my friends. I keep learning and teaching. And I get to write about all of this growth and my observations about it.

And yesterday I noticed something about myself. I have a little trouble just doing nothing. I'm fine if I have an activity scheduled over the weekend but just plain do-nothing time, feels uncomfortable.

Could a symptom of workaholism be feeling guilty if I'm not working - even on the weekend and even if I love my work?

Another question I have is - are negative aspects catchable from our partners? My husband usually appears to feel a little guilty when he isn?t working enough. I think I caught it guilt-for-not-working from him.

Or maybe it was the fact that my mother made a very big deal to my sister and I about how hard and how many hours my father worked to take care of us. This, I believe, was her attempt to control us and keep us from asking for too many material things so she wouldn?t feel guilty saying no. Additionally, to give it a double whammy, she bitched at my father without cease about his working all the time - how it was his way of running away from his family.

Looking back with adult, non-victimy eyes and from many years distance, I think that my mother?s impact is the source of my incipient workaholism. Also, as a kid I think I absorbed the righteousness of working a lot. In a certain way it sounded martyrish and even attractive to "sacrifice for your family". I think I thought if I worked and sacrificed, I'd be admired and appreciated.

Oh, what an awful muddle  the past's effects are on us!

 

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Name: Maia Berens
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