My sister flew in from NYC and we drove down this evening from Chicago to Peoria. During the trip we talked about our therapists. I didn’t know she was in analysis (I wish people used that term) and we compared notes. Turns out we have one similar issue.
Perfectionism. She and I are both super-critical of others. No shocker that we expect just a little bit better of ourselves at all times. What this has done is taught a self-shaming process where we are never quite happy with the way things are.
I’d like to break in to say that we’re both joyous, successful, and quite lovely people. Our lives are good.
Okay, now back to the truth. We will tear you down with mean-spirited vitriol if we catch you doing something idiotic. We make fun of you. We feel better than you.
As we talked we understood this is an inability to face our own imperfection, and since our shame is so powerful we must direct it at others. Yes, I’m looking your way. Your hair is stupid! Stupid!
We admitted that deep at heart we feel less than others. We’re the ones who are so flawed and imperfect. We’re angry at ourselves for not doing better. In short, we’re ashamed of who we are.
So, in the interest of the blog, I am about to share some of my shame.
Secrets are what bind to shame (hey, somebody grab that quote and attribute that to me!). Ahem.
I had to borrow money from my sister earlier this year.
I am totally ashamed of this. I was making a lot less money and for the first time in my life I was worried about paying the mortgage. Having to ask for money was awful because I had no compassion for my situation. I just thought of myself as a fuck-up. The truth is that I’m not, but having to admit that I didn’t save properly was painful.
So, I always pretended I was doing great financially. It was weird, too, because my mom passed down a family car (which is a luxury car) and that’s probably the only way I could have owned a car. So I now drive around in a car I could never afford.
I’m about to pay my sister back and I’m fine now, but I’m still really ashamed. I know in no way this story is unique, and plenty of people have struggled financially. That’s not what I’m talking about. I couldn’t pay my bills because I mismanaged my funds and hadn’t set a budget.
I’m so embarrassed as I feel this falls under the header of “should have known better.” And it does. BUT – I haven’t the ability to look at myself with compassion. I had a marriage end and not by my choice. I was laid off from a job where I was highly compensated and praised. I started a few unsuccessful businesses.
That’s a lot of heavy shit for a year.
But that’s my shame. I’ve never told anyone. Well, my girlfriend. And the dog. I told her too.
(Oh, and I pee in the kitchen sink. Like probably 10x a week. No joke.)