Another counselling session and a lot more to think about.

This week we discussed my reaction when husband provokes me into an argument; why I can’t stop myself from having my say, even though I know it’s pointless; why I can’t just walk away and ignore it.

We discussed how this has its roots in my childhood relationships.  I did something good: it might have been a drawing that I was really pleased with, or a test result (I was nearly always top of the class).  However, I never got any praise or validation and, although I wasn’t or haven’t been aware of it, my reaction was “It’s unfair.  I’ve done well.  I want acknowledgement.”.

Consequently, when husband accuses me of not doing anything for him, or being selfish, or causing problems in the relationship, the child in me screams “That’s unfair.  I cook your dinner everyday; I supported you during the difficult times you were experiencing; I only want a night out doing something I enjoy; I’ve tried to mend this relationship; don’t you appreciate my efforts; can’t you see my point of view; please understand how I’m feeling.  IT’S NOT FAIR!”

And the more he throws the blame at me, the more the child inside me has a tantrum.  I’m trying to right the wrongs of the past as well as the wrongs of the present.

Another by-product of the lack of praise as a child is that I have a lot of self-doubt and that’s why it’s difficult for me to make a decision.  I might know what I need to do, I might make plans, I might take steps, I might be determined.  But then the doubt creeps in: “What if I’ve got this all wrong?”  I’m paralysed into inaction.  It’s me as a child again, holding up my drawing, which I’m really proud of, or my test result of 95%, which seems so good to me.  When the praise or recognition doesn’t come, I look again at the picture with a sigh “Oh, I was wrong.  Perhaps it’s not so good after all.”  Or I focus on the missing 5% and think “Actually, that wasn’t so good.  I should have done better.”

Consequently, I doubt my own judgement.

I can see that these patterns have repeated themselves throughout my life in every aspect of my life.  Oh dear!

I should feel depressed about this.  All those missed opportunities to feel good about myself, to trust my own judgement when making decisions.

But I don’t.

Because now I know, I understand.

And I can start to put it right.

And the rest of my life will be better for it.

 

* Title of post comes from a Lily Allen song.

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