Support for those who feel chronically burnt out, resentful and over-burdened

Helping chronic over-givers say "no" and take a break without losing the relationships that matter most

Welcome to my website

If you are reading this then you are starting to realise that you might be  a chronic over-giver.


On the surface, things are generally okay for you. Your life may even seem great with a lot to be grateful for, but you’re beginning to see that you've spent your life putting other people’s needs before your own and now you’re starting to see the cost.


If you’re not sure you over-give, take this short quiz and see how many of the points below you can say ‘yes’ to…

Do you often do things you don't want to do?

You are increasingly tired of the demands of others and working so hard but still you find yourself...

  • staying back late at work to please your boss

  • going along with things to keep the peace (e.g. letting others pay for meals, choose restaurants or outing destinations)

  • running errands for others when you really don’t want to

  • doing more than your fair share of chores around the house

  • promising to do things that you had no time to do / over-committing

  • changing your plans to suit others' times

  • paying for things you don't want to pay for eg, friends at a restaurant

  • volunteering to help on things you don’t really want to do (when no one even asked for your help)



Do you have a habit of avoiding doing certain things out of fear of losing approval?

You may be realising that you've also built your life in the confines of what others expected of you and what you needed to do to be accepted. If that’s true then you likely...


  • have a hard time saying ‘no’ and putting yourself first. You’ve gotten to a point where you’re realising you’re doing too much but you can’t seem to stop saying ‘yes’ when people ask you for help. You’re beginning to see the pattern but you can’t stop. 

  • are not calling others out on bad behaviour that affects you 

  • feel nervous when you think about having the ‘hard conversations’ in your relationships. 


Do you frequently feel trapped?

  • with an overly full schedule and you never finish your to-do list. Every minute seems accounted for and at the end of the day you still have so much left to do. 

  • secretly envying people who are less conscientious and less capable who don’t seem to care what others think about them or the state of the world. They're more at ease with life and don't worry anywhere near as much as you do. More than anything, you’re urgently craving freedom to be yourself. You secretly fantasise about jumping on a motorbike and riding off alone on a big road trip with no destination in mind or having your own Eat, Pray, Love adventure in Bali. 

  • wishing you didn’t drink (smoke / shop / check out with social media / eat or your own version of self-medicating behaviour) so much


Do you sometimes feel unsatisfied in key relationships?


You crave to have relationships where you feel connected, appreciated, valued and deeply seen but instead...

  • You feel lonely (and you have for years).

  • You find yourself being short, curt and unkind to people more than you wish you were. 

  • You’re noticing you feel hard done by, unappreciated and taken for granted for all you give. You fantasise about having done for you what you do for others, but you don’t think that will ever happen. You’re noticing that some people you are "good" to - friends, co-workers, your boss or your partners - don't actually care about you in the way you’d hoped they did or they take you for granted. You give but it never feels like enough. You’re realising that it might have been like this for years. 

  • You feel increasingly, secretly (at 3am when no one is around), heartbroken about this and hopeless that you will never have the friendships and relationships you crave. 


Over-giving may have left you feeling angry, empty, burned out, depleted and craving something better in your life. 


If that’s you, I might be able to help.


Hi there, my name is Bernadette.

For over a decade I’ve met and worked with hundreds of people who habitually and chronically over-give. 


They have told me they feel trapped by their life circumstances and limited in their options to do anything about that. Some of them have known they were dealt a bad hand and had their sights set on bigger things. Others were too afraid to dream big for fear of more disappointment and loss. But what they all knew was they simply couldn’t continue living life as they had been and needed something to change. 


The over-giving had left them utterly depleted. This was usually the time they’d come to me for support and guidance. 


If this is you, I can help.


I’ve helped many people understand their own motives for over-giving, develop compassion and kindness for themselves, stop giving more than feels right and find new ways of being that leave them feeling happy, at peace, connected and alive.


I know about this first hand because I grew up in a family, six years younger than the youngest of my four siblings, in which any bid for autonomy was severely punished and an expectation of unquestioning compliance was firmly in place. I found I could avoid punishment by complying, but being impressive was even better - I could stand out and be noticed. And I worked hard at it. At a school assembly as a seven year old child when accepting my prize for coming first in an academic competition (or something), I impressed my teachers, my Catholic parents and family alike by choosing a gold embossed bible over a beautiful doll almost my own size. Strangely, it wasn’t a difficult decision, I had no doubt it was the “right” thing to do. It was already ingrained in me to disregard my own needs to the point of not even knowing what they were, pre-empting others’ needs to make sure I met them. But as I grew and worked through the layers of the impact of my early life, I got to know the pain this pattern caused me. I got to feel myself angry. I got to feel myself resentful. I got to feel myself deeply sad and I realised that any punishment that would come my way through the disapproval of others was worth it because it meant freeing myself from the obligation of making sure everyone around me was okay at my own expense. And, it has been worth it. I get to live a life that’s an expression of who I am, rather than the one imposed on me. It doesn’t mean it’s easy. I still live with the over-giving part of me, but the more I develop my capacity to be with disapproval and to care for myself, the less it derails me - the more I get to be free.


We Could Be A Good Fit If You Can Say ‘Yes’ To A Good Chunk Of The Following:


  • You’re ready to address this pattern of over-giving and to learn more about what you need and how to care better for yourself.


  • You’re open to a wholistic approach to over-giving. I use a process of integrative counselling that has roots in the understanding that our bodies store information about us that, once accessed through mindful attention, can help us get major insights into why we over-give and how we can stop.


  • The approval isn’t enough anymore. Over-giving isn't giving you as much joy as it once did. You do right by others but you’re noticing that you’re no longer feeling nourished by the good deeds you do for others (and that sometimes you don't want to do those things). “I should feel fed by doing these things…” you think. In a way, you feel validated for meeting the demands of others but you’re doing the maths and realising it’s a net loss and it’s been a net loss for years but you feel ashamed at the thought of giving less. 


  • You’ve had a bad start and you may have fallen through the cracks but you've always known you were destined for bigger things. You’re a smart person who didn't get to fulfil on your potential because of circumstances (e.g. you didn’t get to go to university; you have mental health issues and don't get taken care of in the system; you’re a super creative person for whom the school system was too limiting or your needs got missed and you were imposed upon by your parents as children; you grew up in a violent family; you lost a parent), but now you’re ready to.


  • You’re fascinated with conversations about the human condition; and understanding the way things work and you enjoy listening to podcasts on human development; relationships; sexuality; technology; science (e.g. Therapist Uncensored - Ann Kelley & Sue Marriot, On Being - Krista Tippett, Where Shall We Begin - Esther Perel, Tangentially Speaking - Chris Ryan, Science Vs - ABC). You might also love to read books about alternate spirituality and healing like When the Body Says No - Gabor Mate, The Forgiving Self - Robert Karen or documentaries like What the Bleep. 


  • You’re doing your best to live a creative, connected and conscious life. You shop at organic markets and green cafes. You support local businesses when you can. You share a vision for healthier humans and a healthier planet through self care, cooperation and action.


  • You are engaged in initiatives that help marginalised people  or maybe advocacy in social justice, education and innovation. You are mostly progressive politically - socially aware and sensitive.  


  • You’re engaged in the world; you take risks; you’re a leader; an artist.


  • You’re kind; you respect boundaries (yours and mine); you’re responsible and accountable. 


  • You have a weird sense of humour; cheekiness, sharp wit; kindness; expansiveness; curiosity. You can see the humour in most situations, can laugh at your own misery and like to banter.


  • Reading this list made you feel inadequate,‘not good enough’ and think, “Christ I try to shop organic but sometimes Woollies is just right there. I could be doing more for the world than I do. Sometimes I just watch mindless TV.” 


If you’d like to learn a bit more about my perspective on all of this go here.


If you’d like to work with me, you can learn about the best options here.

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11 Hillcrest St, Tempe NSW 2044, Australia

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