Friday, December 04, 2009

Thursday Therapy: The One Where I Ignore That I Didn’t Post Until Friday

A while ago in a Thursday Therapy post I wrote:

. . . I am coming around to understanding some of the dynamics of what I do and why. I am starting to see a little bit what purpose certain actions serve for me. That’s really an essential understanding if I am ever going to change because no matter how many times I try through sheer will power to avoid certain behaviors I fail. I fail because there are unmet needs within me and until I find out what those needs are and healthy ways of meeting those needs I don’t stand a chance of making long lasting changes. I can lump a lot of behaviors together in the category of Things TS Does to Try to Meet Needs She Can’t or Won’t Acknowledge. Overeating is right in there. So is lying. Oh, and here’s having sex with inappropriate people. Yes, there are a number of behaviors that I see more and more clearly have a common root. I haven’t quite just yet ferreted out those unmet needs and even once I do I’m sure it will take some time to come around to finding, accepting, and utilizing more healthy alternatives in order to meet those needs.

I’m fairly certain the need to be accepted as I am is one of those unmet needs, and I’m pretty sure that I am the one who is going to have to accept myself as I am before anyone else can be expected to do so.

Tuesday’s therapy session moved down the road a bit with this line of thought. We’re getting mighty close to a real breakthrough I think. A lot of what I’m going to say here is probably going to sound very much like a broken record. (For you youngins out there records were something we had before MP3 files, and they were relatively fragile. Once you had a scratch on a record it would often get stuck in a groove and not be able to continue spiraling towards the center thereby repeating on particular phrase over and over. Hence the phrase “sound like a broken record.” You’re welcome.) Feel free to move on to more interesting and entertaining blogs elsewhere if broken records aren’t your thing.

So anyway, needs that I can’t or won’t acknowledge. I have two needs that are in conflict with one another – the first need is to be seen as the “good girl” or, in other words, the one who is never in trouble and always does the right thing, the second one is to be accepted and appreciated for who I am including my flaws and errors. I have spent my life trying damned hard to meet that first need and to change who I am rather than to find a way to meet the second.

I hide behind the façade of the “good girl” the one who never gets in trouble. I don’t do anything openly that I think might damage the façade. Instead I hide my bad behaviors from the world. What I am not trying to do here is justify bad behaviors on my part. Bad is bad. However, what I’m trying to get at is that I have set expectations so high for myself that they are unattainable. I expect perfection from myself. I expect that I will come off as perfect to those around me. Naturally, perfection is unattainable by anyone (Well, except you of course; I know you’re perfect.  You're welcome.) so I need to cut myself some slack, but I don’t. Everything is so very black and white to me. There is perfect, and there is failure. There is no middle ground. I am hard on myself. I am very, very hard on myself. What this often leads to is me giving up for after all, if anything less than perfect is failure and I can’t be perfect then obviously I’m going to be a failure no matter how hard I try so why try at all?

And this is at the heart of so many things.  If I can't be supermodel thin then why watch my weight at all?  If I can't be the best at work then why put forth effort at all?  If I can't have a loving, supportive, mutually fulfilling relationship then why have any relationships at all other than those that fulfill a physical need?  If everything isn't just so, then why even try?  If the house can't be spotless, then why keep cleaning it?

Okay, so this is not working for me. Intellectually I understand the flaws in the logic. Intellectually I can tell myself how it ought to be and what I ought to do. Intellectually I get it. And that’s where we are. I am stuck at intellectually understanding and not yet at the place where I can figure out how to implement this understanding. I know what needs to change, but I don’t yet know how to make the change.

I think this is progress. I think. . .

1 comment:

Val said...

Ah progress... Slow, steady, sometimes seeming anything-but-forward progress!
I'm witcha on the broken-record thing... if I can ever stop falling into the same damn holes, now THAT will be real progress!