“Get out of the way, Shitty Kitty.”
“Oh, Winston. You’re such a good doggie. Yes you are, my sweet boy.”
Every time I hear her dismiss the cat with verbal abuse and cuddle the dog with kisses, I have flashbacks to my childhood. It seemed to me like there always had to be a bad child.
I wasn’t the good daughter because I got straight A’s on my report card. That was expected of me and never rewarded. No, I was the good daughter because my brother smoked pot. I was good because he was a “Druggie” son.
And then if I screwed up, like getting drunk or having a hickey on my neck… Well, actually, my brother was gone by then. They sent him to sleep under the bushes on a golfcourse.
The second round of Good-Child-Bad-Child would be between me and my little sister, a step-sister (same mother, different father). Surely, I could never win that round as she had two parents and I didn’t. My mother always argues that she treats all of her children the same and that if there were any discrepancies, it was my step-father’s fault. My question is “Did she love us all and shower us with kisses and kindness?” Spoken like the true “ungrateful bitch” that I am.
Being raised in an environment of Black & White Thinking is directly responsible for some of my strongest faults (or strongest weaknesses?). I need to hear the words “Good girl.” I feel extreme emotional discomfort while waiting for the praise that should follow a job well done. I looked to my teachers for confirmation that I was a good girl. I looked to my bosses for confirmation that I was a good girl. I looked to my boyfriends for confirmation that I was a good girl. I am needy for praise.
I still feel like I am in competition with my classmates, my coworkers, and my friends because only one of us can be the good child. The rest have to settle for being dismissed, and no-one wants to feel like they don’t matter. Feeling unloved is the worst, even if it is an illusion.
Does my mommy love me? Hell ya! She just has unreasonable expectations and when I fall short, she doesn’t know how to express herself lovingly. She learned that from her father who learned it from his mother; and I learned it from her. It is a constant struggle for me to remember that every person is special and unique. I should not lay the burden of my perfectionist expectations on another person’s head. Laying my unreasonable expectations on my spouse, for example, made us both miserable as no-one alive can measure up to the oppressive standards that I place on myself. Sometimes I can’t even do it.
Black & White Thinking, good child versus bad child, unreasonable expectations, a need for overt praise… these are my family’s legacy to me. Well, I reject it because I think it’s crap! I am a good daughter and my brother is a good son, and we can both be good children simultaneously. I love him and he loves me. More importantly, we are unique and special, and good human beings. That should be enough.
“Abuse. Black & White Thinking.” is copyright © 2014 by Poorkitteh. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
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