I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while now, but kept putting it off. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of believing that once you’re “recovered” you are, for all intents and purposes, perfect. The pillar of healthy perfection. But unfortunately (or fortunately!), I still have a ton of flaws that keep me grounded and always remind me that I will probably never transcend the ties that still bind me to who I used to be. Nor will anyone else. Sure, I’ve changed. Big time. But there are still remnants of me left over from my years of bad relationships and low self-esteem that pop up every once in a while and flick me off my pedestal. Sure, I always talk about how I’ve changed, but here are a few habits that I still haven’t (yet) been able to kick.
1. I still have a poor self-image of my body. This could strictly be a woman thing. But I think I am chunky and “big” and awkward. Meanwhile, I am 5’4″, weigh 124 pounds, and wear a size 4 dress. I only eat extremely healthy foods (OK, I occasionally I eat junk), but I exercise 3-4 times a week and have no real discernible body fat. And yet, I see myself as a horse. Go figure. Definitely gotta work on this.
2. I sometimes still compare myself to others…and always come up short. D’s ex wife, for example. On the outside, she’s absolutely beautiful. Beautiful, skinny bod, gorgeous face, long flowy hair, great smile. When I compare myself to her, I simply feel like an ogre. In order to combat this, I tell myself that on the inside, she’s has nothing compared to me, which is true!. But I need to stop comparing myself to her and others. When you make comparisons like this, you ALWAYS see your flaws, not theirs. And the grass is always greener. What helps is to put myself in their shoes and try to see the world as others might see it. When I do that, I am always able to recognize that no one is perfect and that what I’ve got ain’t so bad after all.
3. I still talk about old boyfriends. I really hate that I do this. D and I will be out driving around and we’ll pass a familiar site. And I’ll say, “Oh, that’s the spot where S and I used to go out to dinner,” or “G took me there all the time. ” I’ll mention things that happened, sad stories, funny stories, etc. And although D keeps in good humor, I can’t help but think that it’s just the wrong thing to do. If, for example, D talked about his exs all the time, I’d go nuts. Trouble is, that was my whole life. Men! So, while he’ll talk about sporting events with friends, or rallies, or political events he attended, or trips he took alone, I’ll talk about old boyfriends and dating. I think I need to give this up! It’s an ugly trait of mine.
4. I still procrastinate. I believe procrastination is a HUGE part of a Love Addict‘s make-up. We use love and relationship as a way to avoid our responsibilities and our pain, and the truth is, we procrastinate for the same reason. And while my habit of putting things off isn’t nearly as bad as it used to be, I could improve in this department.
5. I have a difficult time accepting undesirable traits in others. My mother overlooks everything. She loves and enjoys people for who they are inherently and she’s extremely patient with people and forgiving. Although I am forgiving, I am by no means patient or understanding. D is as perfect as it gets to being a great guy, but when he allows his daughter to eat one pea as a means of earning a huge 4-cookie dessert, I am exasperated. What is he thinking??? People’s faults are hard to overcome. And I believe it comes from my own unforgiving nature with myself. I should not be making any mistakes. And yet, I make so many! But this is one of those things that I am working very hard on. I have found that the less caffeine I drink, the less likely I am to be impatient and agitated.
6. It’s very difficult for me to change, or be in a new situation. I have a hard time adapting to new circumstances. This may not be a unique trait. I think many people have a difficult time adapting to new circumstances. And yet, I feel as though I should adapt quickly. Maybe the true imperfection here is my inability to give myself a break and be more patient with my ability to change.
7. I tend to micromanage my life. I can even be a bit of a control freak. The thing that I tend to be most controlling about is, believe it or not, food. But rationally, I have no choice. I have to control what foods I eat because my system is so easily influenced by the smallest amount of sugar, caffeine, or alcohol. And if I want to maintain a state of equilibrium, I need to watch the amount of these things I consume. But, I can also be a little controlling over my environment too. Not that I tell people what to do, (well, sometimes I’ll hover over D in the kitchen and tell him he needs to add more salt to the stew, or I’ll try to get his kids to eat their veggies) but I control what I do to the point where everyone around me needs to be aware. I need to sit in my own chair at the dinner table. I need quiet when I am reading. I need space and privacy in my room at a certain time of night (when I get too tired) and I need to have my morning routine undisturbed lest I not wake up properly. Other than those instances of control over my world, I am rather adaptable in most other circumstances.
8. I still do not put forth enough effort to achieve my dreams. I want to write a book. I want to record music. I want to go back to grad school. I want to do this. And I want to do that. I end up only going so far before bailing out. The biggest issue is with my writing. I give up on getting my work published. Come on, Lovely! What’s holding you back?!
9. I still occasionally lose track of the bigger picture. Sometimes I can bemoan the little stuff. And it takes days to calm down, step back and say, is it really worth it arguing about this tiny point, when there’s more important things to worry about? But I think this kind of nitpicking comes during that time of the month. I am still a victim of my hormones!
10. I still occasionally obsess. I don’t obsess about D, or my family or my loved ones (you never obsess over that which is yours). But I find that I will obsess over my kids and sometimes work. In the case of my kids, it’s been a little difficult for me letting go of that control I always had over them. They are 11 and 13 now and want freedom out the wazoo and quite frankly, I think I am giving it to them, and yet, I still want to hold on. Being a mother of teenagers (and tweenagers) is definitely a hard task to a quasi control-freak like me. I need to learn to let go. And yet, I also need to hold on tight.
If I were completely able to manage these 10 issues would that make me perfect? Nope. I’m sure something else would crop up. And I’m not so sure having these issues means I am imperfect. These are my idiosyncrasies and I have learned that despite all the recovery work in the world, these traits are probably going no where. They are part of the landscape. And while I will still try for the rest of my life to work on improving myself, I am definitely going to try to be accepting of who I am and the baggage I come with. It’s the only way to survive and be relatively happy!