It started out as regular guilt. That I hurt someone's feelings, didn't turn in an assignment on time, gained some extra weight, didn't keep my room clean...
And I might be a wee bit of a perfectionist too. There's no guilt in that right?! Everyone feels guilty when they make a mistake, don't they?! Just because something isn't perfect doesn't mean I will feel guilty about it, right?! Right??!!
Then I got married and there was more guilt.
Hubby is stressed, what can I do to make him feel better?! (This is of course my responsibility because I love him). I know!! I need to focus more on our relationship/ communication/ solving all his problems.... This is why the book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus almost ruined our marriage. I thought it was my job to chase after him when he went "into his cave" and try to make him feel better, and I was excellent at it. The book told me that men need their cave time, time to be alone with their problems and think them through on their own (Women are supposed to talk through their problems). So when he went into his cave, I let him go - proud of my restraint and ability to let him work things through on his own. Problem was, Hubby was used to me chasing after him, so when I didn't... well he thought it was because I didn't love him anymore (guess I'm not the only one with abandonment issues).
Speaking of abandonment issues. There was a lot of guilt there too. I had major issues with men because of my childhood. I still can't believe Hubby hung in there and wouldn't let me push him away. Did I mention that took years?!
I never work out. I weigh too much cause I love sweets and eat too much. I don't get enough sleep, and stay up until all hours of the night because I can't make myself go to sleep. I don't know why/if my husband finds me attractive. I potentially have cancer in the nodes growing in my throat, but don't have enough money to find out.
My faith is not strong.
Then of course there was work guilt. I chose social work as a profession so of course I felt obligated to "rescue" every one. When I burned out on social work after only a year (no guilt there! *ironic smirk*). I had feelings of inadequacy chasing me everywhere I went, because this wasn't the job I got my degree in, so I obviously couldn't do it perfectly. So I strove harder. Staying late, working harder, always trying to do a better job... but deep down knowing I wasn't.
Now of course I'm the boss. I feel guilty because they are doing all the work and I couldn't if I wanted to (I'm not a designer or engineer), I feel guilty because I "should be" working harder to market the company and bring in new clients. Now I feel guilty because we can't afford to pay our staff and had to lay off many of them.
I'm boring any readers with my whining and lack of consistent posting.
And then the biggest guilt of all! Mommy guilt.
We won't even go into the fact that I gained 70lbs with both of my pregnancies. Every problem my children had was my fault.
My daughter (Bob)'s "spirited" tendencies (aggression, tantrums, biting, refusing to comply...), all my fault. Maybe it was all those years of my mom saying (cursing me with), "Someday you'll have a child just like you!"
Or maybe it was all my fault because I raised her wrong - not only could she push my buttons faster than anyone, she mostly acted that way with me. Still does actually. A conversation between Bob and I escalates faster then you can say, "stubborn." I read every discipline book known to man (123 Magic, Parenting the Strong Willed Child, Parenting with Love and Logic, Raising Your Spirited Child...), attended seminars and trainings, searched online, bugged my mom and friends for advice... and tried them all too . While a lot of them gave me greater insight, none of them "worked" for longer than 6 weeks. Either she figured out how to get around it, or it was too much work (star charts, keeping track of how many warnings she'd gotten, removing toys or priviliges...).
My son's medical problems were of course my fault too:
- "Nicked" during his circumscision requiring repair surgery - my fault because I should have known to have it done with the "ring" or taken him to a pediatric urologist to have it done.
- Allergies to wheat and barley causing constant ear infections which led to surgery and asthma requiring breathing treatments - I "should have" figured it out sooner.
Working Mom Guilt.
It's a family joke that even when I was a Stay at Home Mom I was never home. I was at friend's houses redecorating and painting their homes, forming playgroups, thrift store shopping...
Adoptive Mom Guilt.
I always feel like I should be reading more books and forums, and learning more about how to help my kids. I should always be a therapeutic parent and be doing everything I've read about (Reiki, tapping, strong sitting...), always calm and cool but loving and fun....
I have to make sure the biokids feel safe and loved, while at the same time dealing with the jealousy and issues of the adoptive kids.
So all of those different types of guilt add up to feeling inadequate and overwhelmed. My response to all of this is to shut down... just sit around playing Spider Solitaire and watch trash TV. Then I feel more guilty for not getting everything done. And play more solitaire and stay up later. And feel guilty because I know Hubby is a little resentful about having to pick up the slack.
The truth is I know it's not possible to be Superwoman. When I try to cut back and let things slide then most of the time Hubby picks it up. He is Atlas bearing the weight of the world on his shoulders. It's a no win situation. So I end up still overwhelmed and guilty.
And on that note I'm going to bed.
Are you Superwoman? Here's a quiz and a book review to find out.