Good morning fellow bloggers.
I’m up rather early this morning due to the fact that I fell asleep before the sun set last night. I drove 7 hours yesterday to pick up my boys from college. X bailed on the job he agreed to earlier this week citing he was too tired from starting a new contract job (yeah?). So I decided I wouldn’t try to kill myself driving to Boston and back in a day, rented an SUV and booked myself a hotel room for the night (using hotel points, of course). Woo Hoo! Yeah, me!! Of course, the boys have been too busy to see me as they are making the last minute rounds to say goodbye to their school friends for the summer. I try not to whine to myself that they should at least say hello to me … or answer my texts. You see, they’ve done this to me the last two times I’ve stopped in Boston and I’m starting to get a complex. Maybe this whole impending divorce thing is just too much for them. But hey, it’s not like they’ve been living it day to day like the girls and I have…
Where am I going with this you may ask? I am once again, at 4am, trying to ask myself if I expect too much. Do I deserve to be treated better? Am I making something that may be normal teenage behavior about me instead? And if I am, why do I do that?
I’ve gained 50lbs over the past year of separation and I was already overweight. Actually, I had been doing great and lost 40lbs prior to X walking out on me, and kept it off until right before the holidays when I returned to “feel sorry for me” mode. So now I’m at the most I’ve ever weighed. I talk to X from around corners or the top of the stairs. I don’t want him to see me…to judge me…especially when he’s been hanging with 20 year old hotties over the last year. And all of his Match.com women are at least half my size. Where am I going with this? Praise.
I try to figure out why a person like me that gets so much praise from others can eat her way into a numbing oblivion. My close friends are constantly telling me I’m strong, I’ll get through this, I am the best mother they know, I’m a good friend, a hard worker, so kind and caring. I’ll go through great lengths for my kids. My MIL (God bless her as she is kind) has been throwing praise my way for the last 23 years, reminding me what a fantastic job I’m doing raising my kids. Letting me know how thankful I should be for her son, my wonderful husband, and all that he can provide for us. How blessed we should feel that he works so hard so I can stay home with the kids (did I ever mention that what he can contractually charge in 1 hour is equivalent to what I would make working in a full week of work?). Throughout our separation I’ve gotten calls from my MIL, telling me how hard X is working to make things right with me (she doesn’t know half of whats going on and…whoah…where did she get the info that X was working on ANYTHING because I hadnt gotten that memo…) She tells me that he’s trying to get better and that he’s making every effort to get out of his job and move back to be closer to the kids (flash forwrd 6 months where he loses his job and gets forced out of his apartment and back home). What a wonderful man! What a wonderful Father! I’ve heard it all.
So I started to wonder if too much praise could be damaging. I googled it (thank God for google) and you know what popped up? Article upon article of how too much praise for children leads to narcissistic behavior. Now friends, I’m all for giving and receiving praise. But can too much in our youth shape us into self-centered a-holes?? I was not on the receiving end of too much praise growing up. I was the textbook middle child who had to do everything on her own, constantly trying to prove to the world she could stand on her own two feet…and I’m still very much that way. I’m quite self deprecating and almost shy away from praise. X, on the other hand, was and still is showered with love and praise by his mother. Don’t get me wrong, I revel in the glow of her showering of me also. It feels somewhat good…something I never had before. That said, my upbringing still causes me to take a step back and view praise with wonder and awe.
Could too much praise lead to self-centeredness?
Can lack of praise lead to the inability to accept praise?
Lord, we are a pair…X and I. We both have alot of work to do. The difference is that X doesn’t see that he has anything to work on. That’s narcissism. I, on the other hand, have got to get out of this victimization stage I keep wandering back into and stay on the path that I want for myself. It’s hard when X is right under my nose. But that’s not an excuse.
I’ve got to change my stars…