Conquering Fear.February 14, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Posted in Crazy Talk (aka: Therapy), My life | 15 Comments
A couple weeks ago, when O threw a massive fit in the morning right before we had to leave and I was nearly at my wit’s end, I climbed into the car, him sobbing in the backseat, and started crying myself.
And I remember saying out loud: I am so tired of being scared all the time.
I’m going to be honest.
I can’t say I’m thrilled with the amount of money I’m going to drop into my therapist’s lap this month.
Truth be told, it’s giving me palpitations. Anxiety.
The idea that I’ll have to do this for multiple months and still not get any better makes me nearly panicky.
And because I want to be better, I’m working hard at GETTING better.
Which honestly, isn’t as ridiculous as it sounds.
What it requires? The ability to take a step back and look at myself as a person, from an outsider’s viewpoint.
Here’s what I see.
I see a woman who seems to have it all – a good looking husband who is engaged in all things domestic and parenting, a gorgeous, smart, empathetic son who adores her, a full time job that affords her flexibility at a very good salary, a nice house in the suburbs with land and great neighbors. A woman who runs half marathons at a pretty decent pace in her spare time, who seems to take care of herself, who has a great family and friend support system.
Yet I’m plagued with fear. Every day.
And until this past week, I wasn’t certain what, exactly, it was that I was AFRAID of.
(And if I’m being honest, I’m not certain that I know for SURE why I’m afraid, either. This is about as close to it as I can get, though.)
I CAN’T have been the worst kid to raise. I was pretty thoughtless, and I wanted to do my own thing, and incredibly resistant to my mother’s control freakishness.
And though my parents’ criticism of me was because they were thoughtless, and young, and stressed… well, over the years I assimilated this view of myself.
I call her my Inner Critic. And she’s pretty damn mean.
I’m fat. I’m lazy. I’m no good. I don’t work hard enough. I’m not worthy of being loved.
Calling her my Inner Critic sort of gives it objectivity, like it’s something I can turn off at will.
You might call me an overachiever. Which is true. The overachiever in me finds some measure of happiness by getting BETTER at something, working hard and seeing results, knowing that if I put my mind to it, I am CAPABLE of doing amazing things.
It can be good.
But it’s NOT good right now.
Judy’s death reminded me that I haven’t spent enough time with my family. And since she’s gone I STILL haven’t talked to my uncle and cousin and made plans to go down and see them.
Infertility – well, yeah, it’s a big Fail. I can’t control it and we’re not getting pregnant. Somehow I’ve taken this to mean that the universe thinks I’m too fat, lazy, and no good to be a parent to a sibling for O.
Work – well, it’s not going great lately. I’m paranoid since they keep finding excuses to fire people in my department. And with the death of my aunt and the cycling and OHSS and obsessing over ART, as well as some other things outside my control with some external vendors this year, I’m not meeting the objectives I set for myself in the beginning of the year. Which means I’m average, not above average, when I’ve ALWAYS been rated above average. And I’m freaking out because average = fired to me.
My marriage is faltering because all of this makes me feel like I’m useless and no good and lazy, especially when J steps up the tasks list. So instead I work work work WORK WORK WORK even though I desperately need a break from our task list. And Fail in reconnecting with him because I’m too damn tired to yell at him for not understanding that WE NEED A BREAK.
And with O?
Well, I grew up afraid of both of my parents. I DO NOT want that for my son. So I bend over backwards to make sure I’m ALWAYS on call for him, patient, kind, dancing around the tantrums and trying to motivate him to do something he doesn’t want to do like put on his coat/get into clothes/change his diaper/go outside.
I’m so good to him because I’m afraid of making him fear ME.
Because at some level, I still think I’m no good.
I say all of this not because I want comments that say “Oh, Serenity, you’re amazing, I wish you could see it.”
I’m saying it because *I* want to see it.
I’m tired of living my life in fear, worrying about everything, working my ass off when nothing is good enough for me. Beating myself up over some decision I made years ago/yesterday/am going to make tomorrow.
I’m tired of it. I want to be HAPPY. Like really happy, the kind of person who CAN leave dishes in the sink and the living room a mess with toys and see past the dust in her car and not be ASHAMED of it.
I want to swim and run because I LIKE it, not because I want to go faster than I did last time. I want to look at other runners who are faster and fitter than me and be okay with the fact that I’m as fast as I’ll ever get.
I want to accept me for WHO I AM, instead of trying to be better and more responsible and supportive and patient and kind and [insert vision of some unattainable goal here].
I need to figure out how to BE me and let go of the idea that I SHOULD be something I’m not.
To that end, I borrowed this book from the library. Not only because it’s written by MY IF author – the one who helped me take my life back from infertility when we were trying the first time – but because it seems to have been written for me.
And my focus since I realized this has been to identify times where my Inner Critic starts berating me.
It happens a LOT.
I had no idea how pervasive it was.
I haven’t yet figured out how to talk myself out of the fear. It’s something that I’d like to discuss with my therapist and find tools for in Ali Domar’s book and figure out how to work around the fact I don’t feel worthy to feel happy.
But it’s a start.
And I have to say that, even now, I feel a lot less overwhelmed.
Right now, anyway.