The father taught me “good” work ethic. You’d think it would be a good lesson to learn, but when that “good” work ethic is being taught by a perfectionist, narcissistic sociopath, the “good” is quickly removed and a recipe for disaster is created.
I don’t know a lot about the father’s past, but I do know he was abused, and I know his father was an alcoholic. Although his father was an alcoholic, he never missed a day of work. In the father’s eyes, that’s the one good thing he took/learned from his dad. From his mother he learned to garden, that’s the “good” thing he took from her.
Now take these two lessons, and mix them with the “not good enough” message, add in a cup of OCD, a litre of rage, a gallon of denial; Gently pour in a litre of narcissism, sociopath and perfectionist equally, with a heaping tbsp. of rage and control , and fold together. Turn on the oven to 450 allow to cook for many years.
Once well done, remove from oven, and pour over wife and kids while still hot.
I don’t recommend this recipe.
It meant that the father worked us hard, and no matter how much we did, it was never enough, and never good enough. Gardening is a bone of contention with me, because the father forced it on us constantly. It never ended. It’s where the father’s addiction/OCD is most evident. He to this day, cannot stop gardening. To him his gardens are never good enough, they need to be changed every year, and every year we would hear him say, that he was going to make them easier to look after. He would (And still does) spend thousands of dollars on them, whilst telling us he has no money. (Enter here the poverty mindset, he had money, at least he wasn’t poor).
You’d think after all the years of gardening, I’d have learned something about it, but I hated it so much that I refused to take it in. I think in part, it was my passive aggressive way of getting back at him, and in part I zoned out.
He would even work us into the dark with his gardens, and not let us go to bed.
Cleaning was a big deal in our family where a lot of the father’s rage came out. The house always had to look perfect, but no matter how perfect it looked, it was never…you got it “good enough” in the fathers eyes. (I’m sure the father felt dirty and chaos inside himself). This creates one of two things…Perfectionisim, or the opposite.
I have a bit of both. I hate cleaning, but once I start, I go nuts with it. I can let my house go somewhat, because I hate cleaning, but then it will eventually get to me and when it does, let the cleaning frenzie begin. I’ll see dirt that others would never notice. It’s usually before we have company that this is the worst.
I hear the father’s voice in my mind, pointing out things and telling me I missed a spot, the cupboard doors need wiping down, the bathroom’s not cleaned well enough…You get the idea.
Also when I’m working be it housework or otherwise (Aka blogging) I have a hard time stopping. I struggle to find balance. I hate to admit this out loud but, I’m a perfectionist. It probably goes without saying, that I never feel good enough. It’s so sad how these things are passed from generation to generation.
Having said that, we have a choice, and I know many of us on here, have chosen to break the cycle, which means doing whatever it takes to do so. Despite our pasts, we’re choosing a different path. It takes a lot of courage to look at ourselves but we do because we have not become them. That my friends is…
What patterns have you learned that you’re trying to break?
There is hope!