This year, it’s time to take action. It’s time to pull our heads out of our asses and make some plans for world domination.
How? By telling the world, not what we want to do this year, but what we will.
So what will YOU do this year?
2019 is the year I will find my personal equilibrium, the balance between what I must do, what I should do, and what I want to do. It’s not going to be easy, as I have a horrific time saying no and even more horrific sense of guilt when I do.
Unless it’s before my first cup of coffee in the morning; then saying no is easy and guilt-free because I’m too tired to care.
When the balance between the must, should, and want is out of whack, I’m a mess. I’m impatient, resentful, irritable, downright cranky, and miserable to be around. Everything becomes a chore, even the things I like to do.
That’s not fair to me, to my kids, to my husband, to any poor soul who has the misfortune of being near me when I’m struggling to keep up with everything.
That’s why I’m making 2019 the year when I will stop that crazy self-imposed struggle and focus my energy on the musts and the wants. The should-get-dones will just have to wait.
I will focus my presence and talents where they can do the greatest good – my family, my volunteer work (that means YOU, Band!), my creative projects, my home, my friends.
I will say yes to projects that are a challenge and will help me to grow personally and professionally.
I will cut the clutter in all areas of my life: physically, mentally, virtually.
I will re-examine my limits, and respect those limits, for when I don’t, it’s not good for anyone.
I will say no to school activities and fundraisers that are nothing but money and time-suckers that prevent me from doing other, better things with my kids.
I will say no to family functions that cause my stress level to sky-rocket, even when I’m told over and over again, “it’s for the kids”. It won’t be for the kids when mommy is stroking out on the floor because the in-laws are being asshats again.
I will ask for help when I need it and not wait for someone to see that I’m struggling.
Perfection isn’t always attainable and the cost may be too high.
Talk to your loved ones:
My sister P has an unrelenting drive to pursue perfection.
In the 70′s, she started working as a file clerk. She worked and worked, harder and harder until she was Vice President of one of the biggest banks in the world. All without a college education. remember as a child, she’d get up at a ridiculous time every morning to iron her clothes so she was perfect for her day. On the weekends, she would wash and detail her car so it was perfect, too. She was meticulous about everything she was involved with.
When someone gave her a gift she liked or someone did something well she exclaimed in a high pitch voice, “PERFECT!!!” I gave up on her level of perfect a long time ago, knowing I was never as driven as either of my sisters to keep up appearances.
She was nicknamed, after Olive Oyl, the character in the Popeye cartoons who was tall and slim with dark hair just like hers. My sister and I always struggled with our weight as children and adults but not P. She vowed as a junior high school student she would never be fat and she never was.
When P discovered she had cancer she fought extremely hard. When she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma 20 years ago, the survival rate was much lower. Her treatments were hard but she kept her spirits up. After her bone marrow transplant she got out of the hospital faster than anyone else had before.
Year after year passed and P remained cancer-free against all odds.
Yesterday, my sister K and I drove 3.5 hours each way to see P. It was a tough visit. She’s not breathing on her own, has 5 tubes down her throat, has had a heart attack, and her kidneys are working at 25%. She is being kept alive on machines because of an infection anyone normally could get at home. Part of this is because she had a bone marrow transplant and will forever have a compromised immune system.
After talking to P’s doctors we also discovered she partially did this to herself.
P didn’t eat enough and when she did eat she didn’t eat healthy foods. I can remember for years now if she ate a normal meal she would be in the bathroom with diarrhea or throwing up.
We found out yesterday along with all the medical issues P is facing she is suffering from long-term malnutrition.
This is a woman who has money. She can afford to eat but she chose not to. We know now she didn’t eat enough for a long time. In her search for her version of perfection she is fighting for her life and on life support with an infection that you or I would be in bed with mildly inconvenienced .
She always had Cosmo or Glamor magazines in her home and strove never to be bigger than a size 6. She was forever losing just 8 more pounds.
I hope all the women I know read this and take it to heart.
P will always suffer the effects of her long-term malnutrition. It is not too late for your daughters, it is not too late for anyone reading this who struggles as P does with food. It sickens me that my sister who I love so dearly is malnourished.
Talk to your daughters. Talk to your friends. Before you skip that meal to fit into that new dress think of P and eat something healthy. Trying to be some unreal version of a woman can kill you.
I have no words for the anger I feel about this. I have always hated the unreal images of women and the shapes I will never be, but this event takes my anger to a whole new level. If women as a whole don’t buy into the magazine image of a woman then the image of the size 0 woman as perfection will have to change.
I learned about narcissistic parentification today. I’d been aware of narcissism and parentification as separate things prior to this, thanks to my son’s father, but I didn’t realize these two things often went together.
Yesterday my 6-year-old son attempted to stab himself in the eye with a pencil. This occurred after being asked not to throw paper.
He decided he needed to punish himself.
Thankfully, my husband caught the pencil and it never touched our son’s eye. Still, it was terrifying. This is not exactly new, although this is the most extreme self-punishment to date. Often when my son thinks he is in trouble for something, he will self-discipline by hitting himself or knocking his head against something. I’ve asked him why he does this, and he tells me that it’s so that he remembers what not to do.
We have an extreme perfectionist on our hands. This, too, I’ve known for a while. He has always been the kid who won’t try anything if he’s unsure he has it mastered. I had to get down on my hands and knees and physically SHOW HIM how to crawl when he was a baby! He wants to do everything perfectly the first time, and he will hide the fact he knows how to do something until he feels he can demonstrate the skill perfectly.
We’ve told him again and again how much we love him and don’t want him to hurt himself. We’ve told him it’s okay to make mistakes, that it’s expected and even necessary in order to learn and master new things. We’ve emphasized the fact that he isn’t in TROUBLE when things like this happen – that we are just reminding him to help him learn for next time. Yet, it doesn’t seem to register. He hurts himself anyway.
He is a 6-year-old self-injurer.
Lord knows he has plenty of reasons to behave this way. He is fighting cancer, has changed schools and residences in the last year, and is about to become a big brother.
And then, well, his dad is narcissistic…
Since my son’s self-injury has escalated even though the rest of our life has calmed down, I looked up the effects of narcissism on children today. And that led me to narcissistic parentification.
I learned that children of narcissistic parents are more prone to pediatric anxiety and depression. They can be self-destructive, have an irrational fear of failure, and either have difficulties in school or strive to be perfect.