Tuesday, October 9, 2007

You'll Never Be Good Enough and Other Insightful Lessons From My Mother-In-Law

No joke that's what she said BUT it's not what you think. We were talking about our mothers and surprisingly we found out we have a lot in common in that department. She said one of the most painful and freeing thing to face was that she 'would never be good enough for her mom'. She said when that thought hit her is was so painful but it released her from trying to always get the pat on the head that would never come.

I thought about that one for quite awhile. If I'm not trying to win my Mom's approval then would I have a problem saying no? In the past if I stand up for myself it was always a bigger headache than what I thought it was worth. My MIL said that she went through the same thing with her mom. She said her therapist said that her mother had already had ground and didn't want to give it up.

Suddenly I had this picture in my head of Risk. The two countries were jockeying for position to see who was going to occupy the land. Sort of interesting but spooky all at the same time. Do I think my Mom sits up at night thinking new ways to see how she can irritate me? No, but I also see how she has dominated my domain in the hundred thousand little things. Anything from 'are you wearing your hair that way' - 'that doesn't look good on you' - to 'well I've raised you better' - the list is endless.

I also see how that has undermined my self-confidence in soooo many areas.

I was doing a study series awhile ago about taking back ground that satan has stolen and after talking with my MIL I have to chuckle that it's almost the same strategy. I listened while she told me all the little things her mom did to undermine her confidence and self-esteem. It was like someone turned on the light. While I don't think my Mom has set out to destroy me, I have decided I don't want to go through all that my MIL has gone through with her mom.

Golly gee, I think I'm starting to find that backbone my Mom was always telling me to grow!

Something tells me she will dread the day she made that suggestion - five hundred thousand, four hundred seventy-two times. They say repetition is good for a child, which when you think about that makes sense as to why I've had to tell her NO! 512 times. Looks like I've got a ways to go.

I think I'm still stinging from her comment about needing to hire a tutor for my son with his math as 'math wasn't my best subject'. Suddenly I'm not able to teach 3rd grade math for pete's sake? I taught the older two with no problem and they are doing 6th grade math thankyouverymuch with no problems. Let the record show that I can balance my check book which is something she was NEVER able to do. ahem. Also being told I'm not doing anything meaningful with my life was a bit of a blow.

That's it, I'm taking her off my Christmas card list! I think I'm going to have a shirt made for her that says 'Doesn't play well with others'. Actually I told her about it and she thought it was funny. I don't want to paint ONLY an ugly picture of her. She does have a sense of humor and is so talented in so many areas that has made me feel like a bump in a rug next to her. There are a lot of qualities that I truly do admire and wished I had, BUT the woman can be cold, cutting and down right mean at times. She taught me about prayer and how it changes things, I just don't get it sometimes as to what went wrong. Oh, I have my theories mind you but no actual facts.

I read Joyce Meyer's book about Approval Addiction. I've read it but it seems like I might need to re-read it. At least I'm now finally able to identify what in the world is going on - with me that is. Time to pull the plug! I'm realizing that I am actually good enough - for God, my husband, and my kids.