The things that I can fix are my perception of own self-worth. This is hard, because I have a disconnect between the intellectual and the emotional. People can tell me I'm an amazing person all they want, but I won't believe them because I don't have evidence to understand why they say that.
For example, if someone tells me, "wow, you are so amazing and strong for doing what you did, moving out here, getting your degree, all of that," I am baffled by that statement. I don't get what is particularly amazing about not being a fuck up. Yeah, I made it out here on my own, but that was a matter of survival, I don't think I am particularly talented or gifted for that. It isn't like my music or my education where there is tangible proof of how good or not good I am. It's life...I managed to be able to pay my bills and survive without being a huge fuck up. That doesn't make me amazing. I've not saved the world. Hell, I can't manage to get people to want lasting relationships of any kind with me. Except for Patric, but I suspect he's a masochist.
Or he just really, really is bored....
And this leads to a key aspect that the therapist brought up. So much of my self-perception is made up of how others see me, but not really on how I see myself. And this is normal, I suppose, but also damaging. When there aren't others, or if you believe everyone sees you in a negative light, you get a negative image of yourself. This is what is happening to me. Now, it's easy to say, "well don't base your self perceptions on what others say." But try it for a day and see how far you get. We all do it naturally, and I happen to do it in spades. Even as a child I knew instinctively I was "different" from others, and somehow that made me less. So this defines how I am as a person. I succeed most where I can compete or "prove" my self worth, (thus my insane weirdness over my grades and my inability to take personal criticism). I fail horribly at making lasting friendships because of my shyness, which is born out of my fear of how other people perceive me. I really do believe you all look at me and see a horrible person. Why...I don't know. Perhaps something happened when I was a kid, perhaps I got teased one too many times over my red hair and freckles. The relentless teasing of my childhood turned inward as a teen into the assumption that I was an ugly, boring, pushy, not nice person.
And thus we see where my other traits come into play. I'm overly acommodating because I'm afraid that everyone really thinks I'm selfish, so if I prove to them I'm not, they will like me. I am self-effacing because I believe that no matter what nice things people have to say, they don't know the really, horrible person I am that they can't see. I am the caretaker in any relationship because I don't believe that anyone will stay in my life long enough to take care of me. I fear that they will figure it out and reject me, and thus leave me hanging. So if I take care of it, no one else can fail me and thus I can't be screwed.
This is so messed up...
And it's not use saying, "It's not true, Jenn, you are wonderful," because that doesn't compute in my brain. You have to tell me exactly what things I do that I can see and understand that make me a wonderful person. Patric of all people gets this, weirdly enough, and I don't know if this is a scary comment on how he gets my brain. But it really boiled down to an equation like this:
I'm an amazing person because I've survived all I've been through, (doesn't compute)=I am an amazing person because I developed the skills that allow me to succeed and prosper where other people would have just failed and fallen on their face, (does compute).
In other words it isn't the fact that I made it, which everyone is supposed to do unless they are an idiot, but the fact that I developed the skills to exceed expectations and to thrive. And THAT compliment makes sense to me, and I do take pride in that. And then I do see myself as an amazing, strong person. That's kind of cool, the fact I did that.
Now, if only I could get the rest of it to fall into place.
The truth of the matter is, I will always rely on outside perception, that's the way it is. But i need to start building an inside perception too, one that sees me as a wonderful person instead of a horrible person. I need to start understanding that I am a person people admire and like, even love, and understand exactly what those qualities are and how they work. And perhaps then I can start building myself up again.
How I do that...I don't know.
In other news, in group therapy, we figured out all our mothers suck. That's sort of how it goes. How we all lucked out with mothers who abandoned us in so many emotional ways I will never know. Perhaps it speaks to the mothers of our generation, and it will serve as an object lesson to me of how not to be in my marriage and with my children.
Anyway, therapy is trucking along, I think I made huge strides this week. Things are starting to fall into place a bit. We'll see how this works out.