Ok, so while I was writing up this novel quite a few good responses were posted. I'll post it anyway on the off chance it may help.
Sit down and get comfy... it's a long one
I don’t know if this will help, but I went through something similar. While I didn’t give for quite as long as you, nor to the same financial depth, I did give very deeply and in many ways.
I was also taken for granted and taken advantage of.
I got to a point, like you, of not wanting to give, but at the time I didn’t understand the depth of my emptiness. Nor did I know that the reason I couldn’t give not one more little thing was because my giver was broken.
After I was able to get through the low/worn out/emptiness I was able to look back and gain some perspective....
It is like a checkbook, (no pun intended) and you start out with XX certain amount of money, or givability.
So, as life is being lived you are writing checks. Emotional checks, mental checks, love checks, and of course monetary checks.
Life is good and you are doing what you believe is right. Someone needs something? Hey, no problem… you have it covered.
You keep cruising along because there is plenty in the balance for giving. Whatever is needed, you give.
People keep asking and you keep giving.
Then, one day a check bounces.
Huh? What happened??
You sit down to try and balance the book, and that’s when you realize that it is gone.
Well how could that be, you wonder.
So you dig further and that is when you see you gave it all away.
While you have been writing checks and giving wherever it has been needed, nothing has been coming in. Up until that moment you never thought it would run out.
You never thought you actually needed
deposits to keep going. I mean yeah, that’s the way a real bank account works, but this is about the heart, life, and being human. This about giving and doing the right thing. Right?
There have been no deposits.
All this time you have been writing those checks, and writing those checks, and giving and giving, but no deposits.
No one has been depositing into your life the way you have been depositing into theirs and the account ran dry, just like a real bank account.
You have $0.02 left. That’s all.
When I hit that point, I realized that I needed to hang on and guard that measly $0.02 because if I didn’t no one else would. That my life was worth more than just “How much can she give.”
Yes, people got ticked at me. They were definitely mad when suddenly I didn’t have what it took to fix their problems anymore. I mean how could I be so selfish as to not fix all their problems??
Uh huh, the one time I asked for something back, something as small as please don’t make me responsible for their life or have all the answers, and suddenly they didn’t know me or I wasn‘t worth their time.
I took some time, I reflected, and I worked on my deficits myself with God's help. I mean I‘m a pretty awesome person (now) and I was able to take some time, go do some things just for myself and with myself, and make the deposits I needed to fix my balance.
For me, it was traveling, reflecting, hiking, and seeing some places that humbled me and reminded me of the bigger picture.
I also learned that I was every bit as deserving of having deposits made into my life as the next person. And balance is important. I still believe in giving to my utmost, but I have to have deposits too for balance and I‘ve learned to recognize when I am low and how to re-fuel.
No, it wasn’t a time of “me, me, me” but a time to re-find the purpose in life and how I fit it. I don’t know if religion or beliefs factor in to this for you, but it did for me and it was another area I dug deeper into.
So if you read all that and are still awake, kudos for you!
You are empty (and I mean Empty!) right now, but please take heart that you will find the deposits that you need and that balance is out there to be found.