Life is not for the faint of heart. If you're a fan, you've heard this before. Not only do you have to deal with the bad and difficult things that happen to you as an individual, your social contract with others requires you to smile and do whatever is deemed necessary when the bad and difficult happens to them. Unfortunately, many do not keep up their end of that silent yet implied bargain. Even if you do. Without fail.
The interesting thing is, the better you are at keeping your social contracts, the more resentment you may feel from those who fall down on the job. In other words, you will be taken for granted, used. And when you fail to meet the exhorbitant expectations of the users in your life (for these people, low social input always equals high social expectations), you are scrutinized--even by the people who claim to love you. Even if you are nearly broken by the social burden you've consistently carried on their behalf.
Ultimately, the crux of this social issue is that you are not a victim. Even when victimized. You do what's necessary for youself and everyone else--that's your crime. Hardly something to be blamed for, but there it is. And if you happen to be female, the resentment goes even deeper.
Women are expected to be nurturing, to care about people big and small, young and old. All the time. With no rest, no breaks. Where do you think the role of nurses come from? Until the last thirty or so years, nurses were primarily female. As were teachers. And for the very same reason.
Regardless of gender, if you do not act like a victim, you will encounter those who treat you poorly for rising above your perceived human station. The problem is, being a victim is a very negative existence. And you should not have to apologize for having character, strength and courage. Again, it strikes me that if you are female, you will likely have to (apologize) throughout your lifetime. A nuance that is lost on about 49% of the population, unless blatantly pointed out. Apathy exists for a reason. And it exists regardless of anatomical parts and brain chemistry.
Squeezed. Breathless. Suffocating. Woman or man, you may be caught between two unrelenting people, or forces, or social groups, or any combination thereof. You may feel alone, scared, scarred, beaten up--and down. I wish I could tell you that the solution is as easy as removing yourself from the situation. But it's likely the people who most take you for granted, who most resent you for who you are, are those closest to you. Shame on you for making bad social choices? No, it doesn't work like that. And unless the world undergoes a major psycho-social evolution, you are likely a rarity among the masses. We cannot cloister ourselves. We must live, and live in the world where we are. But it does not mean we have to react to that negativity. Self-punishment is nothing more than self-sabotage. And that only leads to one place--a place most of us try to avoid.
Be proactive, even if you live with reactive people (and, even if those reactive souls drive you positively mad). Proactive living is self-responsible living. If bad or difficult things happen to you, you handle it--perhaps not alone, but you do not expect others to go beyond your delegation. When, of course, there are people actually willing to help. Because you are proactive, you do not wait for anyone but you to show up. You move forward, no matter what.
Even those of us who live a proactive life can still feel squeezed; and when you do, it is time to renew your social contract with yourself. Let other people pick up the social slack. You are one person. And if you are not appreciated, feel resented, or suffocated, it's time to focus on you. You cannot help anyone if you do not first help yourself. You may be called selfish by your social circle for doing so; ignore it, even if that emotional betrayal hurts. Because if the people who resent you and under-appreciate you also feel you are selfish, you are living with ingrates who are not worth your time, energy or effort. Move forward, with or without them. No matter what your various social contracts may be with the individuals in your world, you cannot allow yourself to be stunted by their lack of growth. If your social circle sees you take those crucial steps to a more positive, happy life, perhaps they, too, will have the courage to do the same. Perhaps not. Either way, you are the only person who can take the squeeze off your life. If you can't breathe, move yourself toward open air.
No one will do it for you.