Wednesday, March 30, 2011


So, I had a big long talk with my therapist about all the stuff I posted on here yesterday, the stuff that you either read or did not read depending on how you responded to my disclaimer

It was an interesting conversation.  We tread a lot of ground.

One thing I realized talking to him is that it's not that my dad didn't/doesn't love me or approve of me, it is just that expressing that approval has always been hard for him.  One reason is because he held me to such high standards.  I'd come home from elementary school with a 93 on a test and the response wasn't, "I'm proud of you," but, "why didn't you get a 100?"  That kind of thing sticks with you.

My mom would do that, too, but where he was stern while demanding perfection, she was and is all overly emotional and stuff, while still holding the same standards.  What did I learn from all this?  Several things.

  1. If you want approval and acceptance and validation, go to women, not men.
  2. Everyone expects you to be perfect, and if you are just meeting expectations don't expect praise.
So, I go to women for validation and acceptance and ALWAYS find it hard to connect with other guys.  I just don't feel like they'll ever accept me as one of them.  And, second, I believe somewhere deep that everyone expects me to be perfect, and when I'm not, that I will not be accepted at all.

So, translate that into what I talked about yesterday.  I go to women for validation because, truth be told, guys scare me in the "they'll just make fun of me and run me off and will never let me join in any reindeer games."  But really in any group is just feel acceptance is out of reach because to get that I have to be perfect.

With girls, I've always been self-conscious, for instance, because of my height - or lack thereof.  Girls like talk guys and I'm not.  OK.  But I have a feeling I could be 6'1" and if a taller guy walked into the room then I would suddenly have no confidence again - because I'm not the best there is at that particular thing in that particular group.  And I'm not accepted if I'm not the best and perfect.

It's all pretty screwed up.  But at least now I have the resources to help deal.  Therapy is awesome.

1 comment:

  1. I've always cringed when I read the Bible verse about, "You shall be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect." . . .

    I still tell about the time I brought home a report card with 3 A's, 2 A+'s and and A-; better than a 4.0 average. And my dad said, "What's up with the A-?" I think he was mostly joking. Mostly. I think. But it registered - I still tell the story, 40 years later.

    I think it helped me a lot to play on sports teams - just to get a little socialized in 'guy stuff'. But my dad had to force me to join my first Little League team when I was 9; I didn't play when I was 8.

    In a perverse way, I think I also benefitted from my folks' divorce - my new step-sibs were much more social and popular than I ever dreamed of being. I was never really one of the 'cool kids', but they didn't scare me so much, when they'd come over to our house for my brother or sister. . .

    And it really did wonders for me when a girl or two took a liking to me, in spite of my, uh, lesser qualities. . .

    We did some counseling when our kids went haywire on us, and it helped us a lot.

    - Craig