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Old 11-04-2009, 10:09 AM
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I

... was "never good enough"

Since joining SR, one of the best things about my journey to date has been my new ability to look at things with honesty and a new clarity of vision.

I feel as if my life has been like a piece of wool and all the seperate fibres in the length of wool have unwound all the way back to my earliest memory. The fibres are now in the process of rewinding back up but in a different way and from a different perspective in the light of my new knowledge and understanding.

The thing that I am working through at the moment is that an ACOA, I was never good enough. There was no unconditional love, I had heavy expectations put on my shoulders from the get-go.

I was expected to go to university, I was expected to have status, I was expected to marry a man who would "provide for" me and my parents, allowing us to live a life of luxury. The unspoken message of my childhood was that "we were meant for better things" and that it was my job to make sure it happened.

As my brainwashing is passing, I find it strange to look back and see the reality of my parents and my childhood. It was nothing like the "ideal, high money, high status" life I was supposed to provide for everyone.

Both my parents came from working class families in inner city Glasgow. They were the first in their families who bought their own home. They bought this big detached bungalow that then proceeded to fall down around our ears because they couldn't afford the upkeep because my dad was drinking all the money. My mother had this bizarre notion that it wasn't her place to work because her best friend was the kept wife of an executive and that was what she "should be too". I grew up with stories of how my Dad had failed her because he hadn't provided her with a nice house, clothes, jewels and family holidays like her friend's husband had. The unspoken message was that I had better find a man who would do a better job than my Dad had and sort this "mess" out.

When I met my husband at university, my mother told me that he wasn't good enough for me because he came from a working class background and lived in an inner city council estate. My husband has never been good enough because he has never achieved a high status job and all the monetary perks that go with it such as a big detached house and a posh car.

My husband and I have always worked, never earnt loads of money but always worked. We live in a small, tatty terrace house, drive an old car and have no debt apart from our mortgage. No one has given us any financial help whatsoever but in her eyes we have no value, we are still not good enough. We do not live in a large house where she can come to live with us and be taken care of as a grandmother "should be".

Now my son has been diagnosed with high fundtioning autism - well that is just a disaster, how "awful" it is that she has a "disabled" grandson.

How did I get so lucky:
An alcoholic for a father and
A codependent, narcissistic, snob for a mother - ughhhhh

The purpose of this post...

Distancing myself from my codependent mother has allowed me to see her clearly for the first time in my life. I've been ten weeks no contact with her and my brother (apart from the one confrontational meeting I had with my mother). When I was enmeshed, my emotions were batted around like a ping-pong ball - I was always off-balance, I always knew that I was a disappointment to her, that I wasn't good enough and I was always looking for her love.

For me, distance is good. Distance brings clarity. The feeling of not being good enough has gone because I no longer give credence to her values and expectations. It has allowed me to look at my own life and define it in my own terms not in relation to her and my alcoholic family of origin.

And do you know what, my life is good. It is different to the unrealistic expectations imposed by my Mum and Dad. I am a full-time carer to my son, I am not a high-flying career woman and not a kept stay-at-home Stepford wife. I live with a good, hard-working man who does not drink and who believes in living within his means and not creating debt.

We have so much and I no longer have any need to try to meet her expectations to gain her love or to try to convince her that we are good enough just as we are or to report every little nuance and detail of our lives to her.

The relief and freedom is immense. I have detached further and let go even further and feel calm and at peace.

IWTHxxx
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Old 11-05-2009, 08:01 PM
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What a beautiful, heart-warming post IWTH Sounds to me like you're making a wonderful new life for yourself.

One of the little sayings we have over here is that "I'm good enough for God". And being good enough for my HP means I don't have to be good enough for anybody else, especially my toxic parents.

Thank you so much for sharing that. It's inspiring to me to see us all getting well.

Mike (((( hugs ))))
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Old 11-05-2009, 08:10 PM
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Sounds to me like you have good, solid values and appreciate the good qualities of your spouse and your life.

There are people in my family that are poison to me. I can't stay around them for very long. I used to feel guilty about this. I have learned that it is not my fault that they are wacko and I don't have to mess myself up by being with them. I love some of them but I don't have to be around them. As I get healthier, I can take a little more of them. There is nothing wrong with staying away to heal. If this takes a long time, its still ok.

Good luck.
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Old 11-06-2009, 05:00 PM
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What wonderful progress you've made!

I'm still in contact with my parents, but I have rejected their definition of "achievement" and "ambition." My father always wanted me to be ambitious. I am, but not by his definition. He wanted me to "go places" in life. He wanted me to "achieve great things." (note my signature line)

I am not a bigwig earning millions per year. I am a married woman, who has an absolutely wonderful husband (in my eyes).

My dad's definition of 'ambitious' is 'make lots of money at all costs to health and happiness'. My definition is 'set goals and work hard to achieve them.' I have set many goals for myself and have met quite a few of them. One of my goals is to make the world a better place - would YOU define that as 'ambitious'? I do. I can't change the whole world, but I can change my little sphere within it. I hope some day my sphere will be bigger than it is now, but if not - well, I'll do what I can with what I have and continue to try to make the world a better place. And I probably won't make any money at all in doing so - those who make the world better rarely do so at a profit

Have I achieved things? Well, based on the oral history of my family from various relatives, both sides of my family come from generations of toxic, mean, aggressive alcoholics. I am not mean. I am not toxic (at least not knowingly). I do not drink. I have broken away from the majority of the behaviors I learned from my parents and am still working on the few that remain. In my mind, if I never acheive more, then I have still "achieved great things."

My definition is different than his. Sometimes it's good to remind yourself of that. Sometimes I'll actually say to my parents "I reject your reality and substitute my own." (I was the joker in the family, the peacemaker, so they hear it as a joke and laugh. They have no idea just how genuinely I mean it.)

It's okay to reject your parents' reality. Actually, I highly recommend it YOUR reality is much more happy.
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