Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Dropping the Bag Now - It's MY Life!

In a recent phone chat with my mom, I was sharing some realizations I’d had about the perfection of the financial struggles I had gone through over the past few years. Mainly, I realized that if I hadn’t gone through that financial stress, I would have had no reason or motivation to learn many of the things that I have learned about business, about money, or, most importantly, about myself. She agreed with me and said that was one of the reasons she had wanted me to have the experience of fending for myself, if you will, in the real world, on my own financial steam. As soon as she said that, I felt this resistance come up within me, and I started to qualify what I’d already said and contradict her. When she asked how work was going and mentioned how glad she was that I was working and making money, I started to get negative about the work that I was doing (temping as a legal proofreader at a law firm), saying, “It is what it is,” and other vaguely downtrodden things.

When I got off the phone, I started to feel uncomfortable and sort of sad. It occurred to me that I was arguing with my mom and purposely resisting giving her the win. Over the past couple of months, I have upped the ante on my efforts to minimize negativity and complaints in my thoughts and speech. At the suggestion of the speaker at a Millionaire Mind Evening put on by T. Harv Eker’s company, Peak Potentials, I even recently decided to go a week without complaining. This was challenging but never was it more challenging than with my mother. Both times that I really broke down and fell into major complaint mode, I was on the phone with my mom.

So, what do I draw from this? Two things: One is that, like most human beings, I sometimes look to my mother for comfort and, to one degree or another, I probably always will even though I am an adult. And I might even unconsciously create more drama or upset in her presence in order to get attention from her. Hmmm. The other thing is that I often resist my mother’s motions to celebrate my financial success because there is a significant part of me that is still angry with her for decreasing her financial support after college without fully preparing me for the financial realities of the real world, sending mixed messages about money throughout my young adulthood, etc. And some of this anger is valid. Some of it is not. But who the hell cares, really? Does arguing with my mother and resenting her for her choices (which she made out of love for me more than anything else) get me any closer to my dreams? Absolutely not. Nor does arguing with her in a (mostly) subconscious attempt to prove my failure and weakness to her. It’s like there’s a part of me that believes that if I am a failure in my life, I can punish her (and my father, because God knows he’s neither entirely innocent nor safe from my resentment and anger) for letting me down, and I can prove to her that I needed her help more than she thought and there’s no way I could make it as an artist without her help. It’s like this insane self-fulfilling prophecy. And guess what? It’s old, and I’m done with it. Just in time for my birthday in a week!

I deserve success and I desire success. This is my life, not my mom’s or my dad’s or my sister’s. Ultimately I am the one that I will be answering to in the end, and if I don’t achieve my dreams, I will have no one to blame but myself. How amusingly masochistic it is of me to sabotage my own success in order to prove something to or punish my parents. And isn’t it funny that it’s always someone? For most people, it’s their parents. For some, it’s a spouse or a partner or a boss or a friend or the government, or whatever.

Let’s drop the bag. I’m dropping it now. Wanna join me?

If any of you have recognized similar patterns in yourself that you’d like to share or own up to, in order to help you move on, please feel free to post a comment. I’d love to hear!

4 comments:

Elizabeth's Workshops Secret Deals said...

Oh my gosh--I love this. Except now I am so busted--how hard is it to let your mom win? It's hard!

I think mine is so used to this, to me hedging & defending the second she agrees with me. And I think my negativity here doesn't even cross her vision, sort of like when the 12 year old gets that worst-of-the-worst teenage haircuts, but the mom just sees beauty.

Thanks for this post--eye-opening and a great reminder ---xxooElizabeth

Butterfly Goddess said...

Oh, I'm so glad you enjoyed it, and could relate to it! I'm honored to facilitate some eye-opening for you!

And I love the example of the haircut and the mom seeing beauty - so true! So poignant.

Thanks for your comment, darling.

xoxo

Glorious Gertrude the Fourth said...

Beautifully said BG!
I am dropping my bag as we speak!
love,
Glorious G the Fourth

Benjamin said...

To Ms. Butterfly Scribe,
From the other side of the "bag",
consider that parents are attempting to live vicariously. Advice, especially the unsolicited kind, is part of parents trying to salve the wounds of "empty nest".
Now, my mom just sits with me at the assisted living facility and she responds only if someone speaks to her. I cannot remember what advice she would give, but I am sure that I didn't accept it too graciously.
Do I regret not savoring the time with her when she still had her intellectual capacity? Good question. One day at a time has more to do with being in the present than about booze, food, love, money, or other compulsions.
I really am grateful the Ms. B. Scribe for reminding me about time with mom.
Buddy Caterpillar