Most of my life I’ve been closely surrounded by people with super powers to keenly see only the worst in me. My mother was the first on the list. While not offering any tips to succeed, she did tell me in exhausting detail and frequency about every single thing that was screwed up about me.
I was not humble. I was self-absorbed. Lazy. Never utilized my potential. Was cruel to people. Overweight. Not devoted to God. Snobby. Unappreciative. Loved nobody but myself. Was a know-it-all, a criminal, and a whore. Her list covers every imaginable category and continues growing to this very day!
Perhaps I made the most of it though, because I sift through those put-downs, take the kernels of truth, and then make strides to heal in those areas. In a way, I turned what she intended to destroy me into a survival tool. That’s one strange method of self-improvement.
Later, I was in a marriage with the same dynamic in play. My husband pointed a laser beam at my flaws. He would infrequently acknowledge some minor good in me, but mostly to note how heavily overshadowed it was by my grave shortcomings. Everything that went wrong, even my own dissatisfaction, was said to be a result of my problems.
These constant reminders provided me with a rich supply of work to do, and I tackled it all with fervor, rarely pointing fingers back at them, defending myself only when they spoke blatant lies. Instead I did my best to examine what I could do differently to become a better person. Progress was slow, but thankfully steady.
After years of listening to all their accusations, I took many to heart, including the idea that my ego would rise out of control without “help” to keep me grounded. Their negativity and criticism was draining, but I was willing to keep coming back for more if I’d end up stronger.
I later realized it can’t be healthy for any of us, but my convictions on the matter weren’t firmed up until just the other day when I went over something Jesus said which describes me as a chronic murder victim, and my family as serial killers. That’s it… Game over.
13 comments February 27th, 2007