Monday, February 21, 2011

A realization...

A few days ago, I was soaking and relaxing in a nice, hot bath and thinking about a recent episode of "Teen Mom 2" that dh and I had watched a couple days prior to that. There is one mom in particular, Jenelle's mom, who stands out to me as she reminds me very much of my own NM. Basically, nothing Jenelle says or does is ever right. Her mom never has a nice thing to say and is always putting Jenelle down. Granted, Jenelle has made her fair share of mistakes and bad decisions - as do many 17 year old girls - but what strikes me the most about the situation is how her mom is always putting her down for not doing more with her life yet, at every single opportunity, does what she can to make sure Jenelle doesn't succeed.

As I thought of Jenelle and her situation with her mom, I realized that she and I share much in common, particularly with regard to our educational situations. I remember being about 18 or 19 and wanting to go to college. As I wasn't sure what direction I wanted to take at first, I thought I'd start by taking the basic required classes that were needed for pretty much any major and go from there.

NM and particularly NSJ were always totally insistent that I go to college. The problem is that any time I mentioned wanting to go and study a certain subject - first fashion/interior design, then later psychology - I was told by NSJ that he "wasn't wasting his money on a fuck up like me" and then told I needed to get a REAL job. His "advice" was to go to school to learn AutoCAD so that I could go work for his company. That was his definition of a "real" job.

On top of that, NM and NSJ made it difficult to go by bringing up their usual excuse of "We don't have the money." So I was expected to go to college but they weren't going to help me out or make it easy for me in any way. Great. Mind you, when NHS decided a few years later that she wanted to go to school to study nursing, they were ready to take out a second mortgage on their house but, that is another (very long) story so, I digress for now.

Very little thanks to them, I managed to get a Pell Grant which covered most of my expenses. Thankfully, NM and NSJ agreed to make up the rest which covered the cost of my books, though I paid for it by having to repeatedly hear about "all they did for me", even years after the fact. I enrolled in the local community college and began taking some basic classes.

Once I was in school, I signed up for a couple of Psychology classes to see what it was like. Turned out to be very interesting. Not only that but I was really, really good at it. Made A's in every Psych class I took. It was around this point that I decided I wanted to major in Psychology and eventually transfer over to the local university. NM and NSJ reluctantly went with me on the campus tour and I, against my better judgment, began to have hope that this was actually going to happen. Of course, after the tour, it was once again mentioned how they "didn't have the money" and how NSJ wasn't going to waste his money on a fuck up like me (at which point he again told me I should study AutoCAD and then get a "real" job with him at his company). This time, even NHS chimed in with her comments about my being a "flunkie". 

To this day, they all insist that I flunked out of community college. The TRUTH is that I went from a 2.7 GPA in high school to a 3.9 GPA in community college. I failed only ONE class, a college biology class, that I later retook with another teacher and made an A in. Aside from that, I withdrew from a college Algebra class because the teacher felt her only job was to read the material in class and it was then our jobs, as students, to go home and learn the material. Apparently my definition of "teacher" and hers differ. At any rate, the withdrawal did not count against me or my GPA. Yeah, some "flunkie" I am. *eyeroll*

At any rate, the point I'm trying to make here is that, from day one, I've been told what a fuck up I am, how I never succeed at everything, how I'm stupid/bad/wrong/etc. They've consistently gone out of their way - NHS, NSJ

If you take a small seed and don't give it the proper soil, water, light or nutrition that it needs to grow and be strong and healthy, do you fault the seed for not developing into what it was meant to be? Of course not. You'd fault the grower for not giving the seed what it needed and neglecting to care for the seed properly. I was much the same as that seed. I was not given what I needed to become all that I was meant to be, all that I could be, and because of their neglect, I am stunted in my growth in some ways.

True, now that I am an adult and I realize this, it's my job to find a way to overcome this legacy and change things about my life. Not that my life is bad the way it is, mind you. I'm a good person, a good wife and mother and I am happy if this is what and where I'm meant to be/do. But should I decide I want more out of life, then it is now my responsibility, as an adult, to overcome my issues caused by my toxic NFOO and do more with my life. 

With this realization comes a letting go of self-blame. Now when those thoughts and feelings about not being good enough or being a failure come up, I can say to myself, "NO! You are NOT bad or inherently flawed, you just weren't given all that you needed to succeed."

1 comment:

  1. Very beautifully said. Just saying:"Thank you for sharing", sounds trite:) I'm VERY grateful for your thoughts on such private things.

    Yes, you and I get that it's our responsibility to do what we can with what we've got. Sounds so light and breezy, but you know how much effort it takes for us adult children of narcissists to even have our own thoughts in the first place.

    At 51, I'm starting to take over more and more of my own "thought world" (I can't call it *reclaiming*, because my parents constantly invaded or discounted my thoughts, so this is all New Territory!). Sometimes, I feel like I spend the better part of the day just swatting away subconscious put-downs and general negativity that my selfish parents nonchalantly shoved into my head decades ago. I usually first think: "What a stupid thing to do!" or "What can you do right?" After hearing that in my head, I stop what I'm doing, remind myself that's my silly parents chattering lies in my head and tell myself I'm intelligent and kind. Very Sloooow progress, but I'm making some headway:)

    I must be doing *something* right. My 25 yo son just texted me: "Love ya." He does that frequently. We keep helping each other through the tough times:).

    I think becoming a mom myself opened my eyes the *most* to my own confusing, sad, lonely and scary childhood and led me to push fast and hard to repair what I could. At 40, I realized I didn't really exist as a separate person from my parents, so I embarked on discovering what I liked, felt and wanted for myself.

    Weird journey...lots of emotional shortcuts. My DH and my DS make it all worthwhile:) Sounds like you're traveling the same road I'm on:) Keep on truckin'!!