|Eh, according to me you have burnout. Cough-cough.|
I think it can start when people believe that their needs aren't important, especially when it interferes with the needs of others. Mainstream Christianity does have this vague message about being selfless that starkly contrasts with being selfish. Where being selfless switches into being selfish, however, is often not a clear place and I think that is where some people stumble into giving to the point of exhaustion.
Maybe you're someone that gets to the point where you are emotionally, mentally and spiritually totally exhausted with nothing left to give. Was one of your primary caregivers someone who was known for hospitality, looking after the less privileged or was in a helping profession? Did this model to you that other people's needs are more important than your own needs? I'm not saying your needs always have to come first, but do you even connect with your own needs - emotionally, spiritually and even physically? Some more questions:
- Did you learn from your primary caregivers that your needs are too "much"?
- Were you repeatedly told that you're too emotional or that you were selfish when you wanted attention?
- Were you expected to be very empathetic to your father/mother in order to be tolerated?
- Were you expected to parent your parent/s? Maybe you had a depressed parent or a parent that had a serious addiction to alcohol or drugs? You had to take care of them or your siblings because your parent couldn't.
Whatever your pattern, you can only break it if you take a moment and think about your needs. Again, it doesn't mean that your needs should always come first, but it does mean that your needs are important also. Do you know what you need or have you suppressed it so much that you don't even know what to ask for from your friends, your partner, your children...