Copyright © Living with Confidence
Design by Dzignine
Friday, September 2, 2016
It is such a treat to blog in the early morning.  It is getting light later in the morning, these days, and we awoke to a dark sky.  It's 6:30am right now and it looks like the world is just waking up.  It empowers me...  Just looking out at the misty clouds over the mountain.

I also just noticed that we have more of my favorite black tea - Almond Biscotti.  It had fallen behind the tea container and there is a lot left. recovery!

Passage 1
When I did my Fourth Step, I was amazed to discover that my stealing a ten-cent comb at age seven was fairly inconsequential. I had carried guilt for this minor infraction for many years. I identified with the concept of an overdeveloped sense of responsibility, but I had no idea it was a shortcoming. I considered my omnipotent accountability a sterling asset. The results of my inventory suggested I consider otherwise.
As I sought this defect's true nature, I found an underlying pattern of perfectionism. I wondered why I felt the need to be perfect all the time, to the point that no one had to punish me for doing something wrong. I punished myself before they could get to it. It surprised me to discover that my perfectionism covered a deep fear of abandonment. When I had done something incorrectly as a child, my alcoholic father wouldn't speak to me for days. I can still remember feeling tense, sad, and alone until he resumed communicating with me; then everything would be okay again. I felt as if I were being abandoned over and over. I didn't know my father's alcoholic thinking and behavior had nothing to do with me.
Fear of abandonment is probably universal, but fear of abandonment is not abandonment itself. Only when I hold onto my childhood perception of the past do I think I can control the possibility of being abandoned. Working the program and trusting my Higher Power gives me a fresh view of myself and of my past, thus freeing me from its grip.
Thought for the Day
It's natural for a child to want to control. As an adult in recovery, however, I have healthier options.
"With a relationship with a God of my understanding . . . I no longer fear abandonment."
From Survival to Recovery, p. 83

*I have been seeking the cause of my perfectionism and wonder if it also stems from abandonment.  I don't know that it does.  I do believe it came from trying to control and a childish view of the world.  

I'm going to try to has this out a little right now...

My dad was not overly involved in my life, but he was always there, always loving.  And he had a lot of difficulties... I think my major weakness came in wanting to find someone like my dad and not realizing that my dad also struggled with anxiety, depression and addiction.  Also, probably, most importantly... he let himself be treated poorly by my mother.  He tried not to, but used only words, not actions.  I hold none of this against him at all.  I have no resentment towards my dad and my sister does not either.  Even though my parents separated and divorced, he attends every single Birthday party and every single holiday.  He continues to always be there for us.  He is human, but he is kind and loving and silly.  
My mom was always there for us too.  She was the class mom often, she advocated for us when needed and was fiercely loyal.  She put us in dance, chorus, musical theater, gymnastics - all the things we wanted.  There is a lot of resentment there, however, because she had a lot of unhealthy behaviors.  

Ok.... I'll unload some more.

My sister has sent me a lot of articles on Narcissism because she believes my mom is narcissistic.  I don't know if she is diagnoseable or just has some characteristics, but a lot of things do fit.  She is not an extreme narcissist, but one of the many things that fit is the golden child/scapegoat dynamic she created in our home.  One thing that is classic with Narcissistic mothers is that one child is the "Golden child" and one is the "Scapegoat." The Golden Child is the best and most wonderful child and is treated as an extension of the mother... the scapegoat is... well... the scapegoat.  The person whom the mother can project the ills of the family onto.  In our family, that was mostly my dad.  But, the scapegoat child can do no right.  
I was the scapegoat child for most of my life, although it is a little more nuanced.  My mom struggled with connecting and when things went wrong, she would lash out at me.  She tries to connect by being "helpful" or giving advise.  She was very proud of us and bragged a lot about our accomplishments.  I do think she saw my accomplishments as an extension of herself, as well (which is relatively common). I imagine that I developed an understanding that I could connect or get approval from my mom by doing things "right."  And if I didn't do things "right" maybe people wouldn't like me??  I still feel like I'm grasping at straws because it doesn't fit perfectly.  I've felt confident in my relationship with friends throughout the years, not feeling like I need to prove myself.  And my mom has shown understanding in my failures in recent years.

I may not know "why" right now.   And I'm going to choose to be ok with that.  My previous sponsor used to say, "focus on the HOW, not the Why."  Focus on living in an Honest. Open. and Willing way.  That is much more important than the why and if you are honest, open and willing, the why will likely be revealed in due time.  Love that perspective!  It's helpful to realize, though, that my perfectionism doesn't serve me anymore.  I don't want to hide behind it.  I want to be real.  I want to be me.  And I certainly don't want to worry about being perfect.  And I also know that people will love me more for my transparency, then my perfection.  Who can love a perfect person, anyways?  That person would be very difficult to relate to.  

On another note..... my mom is visiting today.  I am going to immerse myself in program before hand to prepare and be willing to take breaks to continue, if needed.  Hopefully, it will be a wonderful visit!


  1. I would have never guessed you were the scapegoat child! I'm sorry you experienced that. How brave and responsible you are for addressing that in healthy ways in order to heal and have a better relationship with your family.