Too Hard On Myself
Lately Iíve heard that a lot. Mostly from Dr H. But also from someone else, a good friend. Itís hard for me to admit, but they are both right.
I donít know why Iím always so hard on myself. Itís like I never give myself a break. I never allow myself anything I would allow for someone else. Like understanding, compassion, kindness.
I donít know why that is. Itís not that I donít care for myself. I think Iím just starting to really care about me, to give a damn about my own feelings and my self worth. Iím just starting to see myself as a valuable person, someone who has rights that should not be denied.
But thatís only been in the past 4 or 5 months.
I think I always believed what people said about me. When I was in school, being teased and picked on. It always ended up that no matter what the bullies said about me, somehow I always took what they said about me and turned it into a truth about myself.
When I was laughed at in school, no matter how much it hurt, I always figured I deserved it. That I had done or said something stupid, something that made it ok for the others to make fun of me. Something that gave them permission to treat me like that.
My father comes to mind. When I did anything that didnít meet my fatherís standards, whatever the heck they were, his response was whatís wrong with you.
I always let him down. In my mind, everything I did or said was wrong, because I didnít meet my fatherís approval. And that was important to me. In some ways it still is. As hard as I fight the feeling, I always feel that he just doesnít approve of me.
And then I turn that feeling into, thereís something wrong with me. Iím stupid. Iím an idiot. Iím not the pretty daughter he wanted. Iím not the doctor, or lawyer, or whatever he expected me to be. Iím a total disappointment, a failure.
His opinion shouldnít have that huge of an effect on me.
But then I go and do something ďstupidĒ, which only makes me feel worse about myself. When I feel that way, I am the hardest on myself. No one else is harder on me than me.
My fatherís birthday was 3 weeks ago. I bought him a card. I planned on calling him. I planned on going to my grandmotherís on Sunday, and giving it to him.
But I didnít.
I didnít call him on his birthday. So, then I thought I would call him the next day, and just apologize. But the next day came, and went. And so have the past 3 weeks. I even rehearsed in my mind what I would say.
ďI know Iím probably a disappointment to you, and I never meant to hurt you. Iím sorry I missed calling you on your birthday, but Iíve been thinking about you.Ē Then I think, how lame is that. I try to imagine his response, and figure there would be lots of dead air. Then I thought about trying to explain a little more to him.
I thought about telling him that Iíve been going through a lot. I would tell him about my marriage falling apart. I would tell him briefly that Iím in therapy, and explain that itís about something that happened when I was in the Navy. But that just sounds like an excuse, and I think thatís how he would see it.
And, of course, then he would really think there was something wrong with me. And then, for ever after, he would always believe there was something wrong with me. Like he had proof. The proof? Iím in therapy.
He was never comfortable with me being in therapy, or the time I spent in the hospital after trying suicide. I could tell when he visited me there, just by the way he sat and the way he looked around.
Because of that time in the hospital, there was always something wrong with me. He didnít even have to ask me what was wrong with me ever again. His belief was justified by my actions.
So, I look at myself as a failure. I see myself as stupid. I call myself an idiot. I tell myself I canít do anything right. That Iím ugly. That I couldnít get that college education because I am a dumb ass. Should I go on?
Dr H hates it when I talk about myself that way. She sees nothing that would make me out to be any of those things. She looks at all the things I call myself, and the way I blamed myself for being raped, as being way too hard on myself. She looks at them as me beating myself up.
And there is no reason for it. According to her, at least.
Last night I blogged on being more assertive. Mostly with my mother, which is mainly where I have the problem. I think my blog ran around and around the whole subject, without really coming to any solution. In a way, I think I was expecting that all of a sudden I would be able to stand up to her. That I should be able to. Just like that.
And thatís being way too hard on myself. Expecting too much of myself at the moment. But maybe being hard on myself is something Iím comfortable with.
Itís safe to put myself down. To focus on me, and call myself those names. To focus on what I canít do right, and on what I think I should be doing. Itís safe to put a huge amount of pressure on myself, and then put myself down for not meeting my own expectations.
That way, when I do that, I donít have to focus on realizing that maybe others are wrong. Having to face the fact that theyíre wrong about me. That what they expect or want from me is wrong. That I donít have to agree with their opinions. That I donít have to meet their expectations. For some reason the thought of seeing others that way gives me anxiety, because I would be standing up for myself.
Iím doing the best I can at this moment. Healing is hard work, and I know it would be easier for me if I just gave myself a break.
Itís hard work to change being so hard on myself. But changing is part of healing. And if I have to take baby steps to change, then thatís what Iíll do.