Sunday, December 14, 2008

In a Nutshell

If you know me or had been reading my former blog, you know that I suffer from low self-esteem. I always have and I probably always will. I usually manage to compensate fairly well and get by in life without it being a huge issue, but like the strange alignment of the planets recently, things in my life have changed and I have been taking a beating.

First and foremost, my parents moved to town. This has been the worst thing in the world for my self-esteem. I am now within a stone's throw of their constant criticism and I get to experience it first hand at least once a week. And it comes from both parents, not just one. If E has a cold, or a bruise or bumps her head, my mom essentially calls me a bad parent for not rushing her to the ER. If I took E to the ER everytime my mom told me to, I would be suspected of child abuse or Munchausen's syndrome. Seriously! My dad watches every single bit of food that I put in my mouth. If I don't eat, he comments. If I do eat and it is not a leafy vegetable, he comments. And then they both make those comments. You know the kind. The veiled, trying to be supportive but really knocking you to the ground, kind of comments. "Well, you've been heavy all of your life, of course you can't lose weight."

Next my boss is hypercritical. I can't do anything right. Actually, it is not just me, it is everyone in her world. She corrects all of the other teachers and parents as well. It's just that I am the one who works day in and day out with her and it takes every ounce of energy I have to keep a civil tongue in my head when I am being constantly criticized. I am a good employee. I am a damn good employee. And yet, she constantly finds fault. That does not help my self-esteem issues. I have been trying to not complain but it has been chipping away at me, especially this past couple of weeks because...

Lately people have found it alright to raise their voice and yell at me. It's weird. I seem to be fair game for people to take some strange internal wrath out on. First it was the Santa incident at church. Then yesterday Hubby got irrationally frustrated with me that I bought the wrong Christmas lights and even E told him that his tone of voice was "very stern." Lastly, a woman in choir yelled at me for jumping a note during warm-up for our Christmas cantata. I made a mistake in practice. A mistake I had never made before, but she saw fit to raise her voice like a harridan and screech at me in front of all of the choir. I was flabbergasted and just not able to shake it off because of all of the other issues I am having. She hit me where it hurt. I am afraid to make mistakes, especially when it comes to my singing, and she called me out on it.

So all of this is coming to a head now at Christmas time because I hate Christmas. And I hate Christmas because, really, I make Christmas for so many other people. My friend the Assassin calls me the Arranger in our relationship. That's who I am in the world. I am the Arranger. My parents, husband and family rely on me to create the right Christmas magic, cook the perfect meal, bake the perfect goodies, sing the perfect song on Christmas Eve, buy the nicest gifts, wrap all the presents, and still find time to smile. I am the Christmas spirit provider in my house. Right now, and in this time in my life, it is just too much pressure. I am suffering in myself and not able to rise to the challenge. I am afraid I am going to fail and let everyone down. I never do, but this year I have all of these added things tugging away at my psyche making me feel crazy and I can't even stand to smell all those 72 sugar cookies I made yesterday, much less eat one to make myself feel better. But I am tired of all of this responsibility for other people. And I am tired of other people yelling at me unprovoked. And I am tired of not being able to accept that I am who I am and that should be good enough. I am tired of not feeling like I am good enough.

So there. Go ahead and order your cheese. I have provided the whine. But I just needed to get it out. So please. No more yelling at me.


Anonymous said...

Lazy Andie here...

I don't think you are whining at all!

I wish you could just "quit" for a month.. go away and let everyone else do everything for a while and see how much they miss you. It sound like in many ways, youar e being taken for granted. Big time.

I have no tolerence for the whole church thing. I respect that hubby does it but I hate the you have to be someone you are not because of the image you must project.

I also hate that people feel they can just yell at you for no good reason. One of these days, you are going to snap and show them what RAGE means...

I think your nature has been coopted for the welfare of other people. No wonder you're depressed!

coffeefrappe said...

Well, bless you heart!

I'm the one who crosses the t's and dots the i's around here, so I can certainly understand that sometimes it all gets to be too much.

Wishing you well and a moment of peace to get a bubble bath or a deep breath or something else relaxing!

Linda and Denny said...

"the Arranger". Yeah, been there, done that. This year? Despite a mother who is in declining health and young grandkids who were dying to see us, we made the decision to head south for the winter and therefore be alone on Christmas. No Christmas baking, shopping, wrapping, getting the whole fam-dam-ily together at my mother's for dinner and gift exchanging for the first time in umpteen years. And it's the most incredibly freeing feeling I've had in ages. As a matter of fact, DH asked if I wanted to drive the 800 miles back for Christmas if it was just too weird being away and my first thought was "Are you out of your mind???" And I'm okay with that.

Anonymous said...

Well, haven't read much of your blog but it seems that you are trying your best and that you are only human and like all humans, you make mistakes once in a while. As futile as this may sound, don't take things so personally and especially don't take shit from others. Next time you get yelled at, try this: stare at them with raised eyebrows without saying a single word. They will probably freak out a little bit but it works. Just remember to keep your mouth shut and continue to stare. It's the silence they can't handle, because they can't twist it against you, unlike words. This is advice from a deaf person who went to hearing schools all her life and had to put up with a whole slew of verbal, emotional, mental and physical abuse. This is the most effective form of self-defense I've ever used. Well, except maybe not against physical abuse but that's a whole different issue.

Green said...

Oh my goodness. Would you like to come be jewish this year? We have Hanukah, and all we do on Christmas is go see a movie and then eat Chinese food. Just to be clear, we do NOT cook the chinese food ourselves, but we get it at a restaurant.

I am a big fan of putting people in their places. I would smile sweetly at your parents and say "I'm so sorry you don't have confidence in your parenting. I'm sad for you that you don't think you raised me to become a good parent. Luckily, I have confidence in my parenting anyway, and if my kid needs a doctor, they'll get a doctor." And then sail away to do something else without waiting for a response from them. Or just look at them like they're batshit crazy every time they say something ridiculous like "We must go to the ER immediately for that paper cut."

Oh and hi found you through Wide Lawns.

KD said...

Well, would you like to come to my house and bake with me? I apparently stink at this big time and my sugar cookies turned out like frosted hockey pucks. No yelling or putting you down at my house! If you can make 72 sugar cookies you are a goddess! May you find the peace you long for...look inside as it's been there all your life. It is that way with us all.



cbrks12 said...

I am new to your blog and wanted to say this post touched me. I have also been the arranger for years and this year -- I quit. It freaked everyone out and they are scrambling now -- Yes, the week OF Christmas -- to get gathering plans together. So, although I am stuck seeing everyone when I thought I got out of it, at least it won't be at my house...But thanks for the post, it is nice to know that others get sick of it too.

BohoPoetGirl said...

Thank you for this. I have been feeling very much the same way lately - the people at the grocery store and my parents have been especially ugly- and this post helped me feel less alone.

ty-ping said...

I agree with Andie

I have low self esteem too and my parents, well just my dad is like yours.

Fortunetly I did "Quit" for the last two years by coming to Japan. And really it's something I reccomend to everyone once they get too tightly wound up.

Coming to Japan.

Or at least "Quitting" and going away for a time. Gives you a crazy perspective on your life, cus frankly it's short enough as is, why put up with crap you don't want to when somewhere else people will love you iregardless.