There are things I know, and there are things I feel.
I know that my children’s behavior is oftentimes not an accurate barometer of my fitness as a parent. But I need to see them behave properly to feel like I’m doing my job.
I know that a task well done, to the best of my ability, should be its own reward. But I need to have it acknowledged to feel like it matters.
I know I shouldn’t be so affected by others. Yet I fall apart and readily doubt myself the moment it is suggested to me that I have failed to meet expectations. Even when I know that the person making the accusation is wrong.
What’s up with that?
When did I become this needy of others’ approval, this ready to blame myself?
The further in time I travel from that awful period in my history when 1) I reached my limit and walked away from my marriage amidst my husband’s protestations that I was 100% responsible and 2) I worked a job where I was paid next to nothing, treat like crap, and then fired, the more apparent it becomes to me that I have not yet regained my equilibrium.
Time is passing; I am supposed to be healing. Not ripping the scab off and watching it bleed, over and over.
When my competency is called into question, the part of my brain that knows becomes very angry. As often as I remind my kids that “life’s not fair,” you’d think I’d cope with it a bit better, myself. But, uh, no.
Then the part of my brain that feels crumples up in a heap in the corner.
And between the anger and the hurt, I stand there trying to organize information. The facts of what I did (or didn’t do). What has been perceived. What was then said/done. Whether I might have misinterpreted that. Whether I’m being oversensitive. Whether I should defend myself, or let it go. Whether I am right or wrong. Whether being right entitles me to anything.
All of which barely skims the rim of the gaping maw of neediness I have apparently become; incapable of judging any situation at face value when it relates to how someone else is (mis)treating me. Although I am quick to wound, I so doubt my ability to read others at this point that I will entertain the notion that “I just misunderstood” because–somehow–that is less painful than accepting that some people just aren’t going to treat me well.
This is where I either figure out how to affirm myself–independent of what’s going on around me–and conduct myself accordingly, or I shut down and close myself off from others (either literally or figuratively) for protection.
I don’t think I have enough band-aids for this.