Thursday, May 21, 2015
Self Improvement and Achievement Queens and Kings
One question every ACON asks themselves and a popular ACON book is even named this, is "Will I Ever Be Good Enough?"
Out in the world the answer to that may be "No".
The world is being taken over by Self Improvement and Achievement Queens and Kings.
Ableism, classism and elitism can impact some of us.
So what does one do when they are never good enough and never measure up enough? Walk away. If someone makes you feel like you are not enough, then it is not a good deal. Sadly we have some trends in society now where everything is about clamoring up to the mountain top.
One thing about American society is that you always have to be improving, or healing or progressing to be deemed acceptable. Those who do not progress or "solve all their problems" or "pull themselves up by their bootstraps" are deemed less persons deserving no love. In a land where competition and status rules, those who don't climb the ladder or even who fell off it are considered human "throwaways". Life is all about moving on, status and competition. If you are not "moving on, you are considered "stagnant" and a "bad person." Anyone who has been poor or deemed the "family loser" by narcs knows what this feels like.
This has been happening to me lately. I will explain further.....but
I am going to lay down a new boundary, that people have to accept me as I am presently, warts and all, or just walk on. I can't be hurt anymore being told that I am "not good" enough and that I must "change my life". I spent most of my life being told what is wrong with me by my family and needs folks around me who will tell me what is right. One thing that can happen to a person like me is you can hook up with people who want to FIX you.
But where is the acceptance in that?
And if you end up in that position, you are a "complainer" while they can vent freely. You don't mind them telling you about their problems, in fact to you it is normal sharing. They don't offend you when they do it, so why isn't it mutual? But the emphasis is on "fixing" you and if time has gone by and they don't see progress they expect, well then things go badly.
I am questioning why this happens to me. Some of me wonders if this was born in the crucible of never feeling good enough and my own constant scurrying to be accepted and "liked" by people. This was formed in the fire pit of narcissistic parenting. Also if one is disabled or otherwise "low status" in society one can fall in this group. It's like we fell into this trap where it's like we have to justify our existence on planet earth. I don't even know how to explain how being the weight I have all these years impacts how I am viewed.
Perhaps on my end I do overshare or complain too much and need to work on my acceptance of my circumstances but is that enough condemn someone? I write about many topics and think about them too, and these are not all happy perky topics, obesity is not fun and games and neither is being a survivor of a narcissistic family. Why do I have to worry about being perky to begin with?
Neurotypicals [maybe not all?] seem offended by any complaints, while for us Aspies, we can talk about things freely and not censor everything about it being "negative or positive". While too much ruminating may annoy people, it's something Aspies do. I never called anyone up at 3:00 in the morning or crossed boundaries though. Us Aspies can show each other pictures of volcanoes at sea or go see antiques and then on the end complain about how much everything hurts or if something sucks, say so. There isn't this bullcrap I see in the worsening narcissistic world where one has to weigh and measure each word by status and if they are being a successful human being.
Sometimes it scares me that with some of these sorts, I already have been trying to rapidly smooth down the rough edges and still ended up failing. Here within is a major problem, once you have to start walking on eggshells and worrying about what you say, trouble is afoot. Some are nice to me and I don't even realize I have pissed them off just being who I am. This is something I have to change in me, where I no longer seek the approval of others and be careful about who I expose vulnerabilities to. Sadly some of these people I have cared about, but it gets scary when you realize you have failed their expectations. I don't want to be fixed or anyone attempting to fix me anymore. It just hurts.
Here is the facts about my life unless God wills a miracle for me, chances are I am not going to have some incredible cure. I have stayed alive far longer then doctors even estimated. I was almost 700lbs at one point in my life and I am one of the few who stepped away from this.
Many people with Lipedema at my stage have trained themselves for years to hide pain to function. This means inside I can be screaming from my legs hurting or even my neck, and say nothing to you with a smile on my face. There is a reason I can be in bed half the day and it's not laziness, it's called pain management. If someone wants to deem me "selfish" for focusing on health problems too often, sorry I can't help it. Some of us had to become "selfish" to even survive. If they think I go on about my health too much or define myself by it, I write a blog about health problems of course I am going to talk about it. I live in this body. There is still some fun to be had with taking pictures of butterflies or watching a movie but this is my reality. No one should expect me to hide my health problems to love or accept me. Already I hide a lot people do not know about.
My nurses and doctors have already told me what lies in the future. I wouldn't want my worse enemy to face what I have with these problems and deterioration. The sad thing is too often those who face huge health problems and sickness realize that our culture today says there should be easy fixes. All prayers are good and we all love people praying for us, but no one should have their self worth fixed to the "health" wagon and whether we "recover" [mental or physical].
I was in this self help group for 5 years. It was for many years a very positive and good experience. I did lectures while there and made cards for volunteer projects. However I noticed a strain of thought in the last year, that deeply concerned me, many people went to this group to have friends to talk to and shared their problems but some people within this group, kept talking about how people were just coming to talk about "their problems" and were not progressing. Some people were using the group for friendship, what is wrong with that? Here they were influenced too by the self improvement and achievement focus of our culture that is growing worse and I think has been mandated by narcissists who have turned everything into life into a giant check-list of measuring up and "success".
They would say things like this group is meant for people to "move on" and "heal" they were angry people were not solving their problems. I noticed unless someone had their life steadily improve that there was judgments to be had. It can really bother a person who is down and out to realize some around you are getting angry that you have not fixed your life. That is disturbing on some levels. Here we have the New Age and fantasy delusion beliefs impacting things here where you see more and more that people think bad things happen to people because they are "bad" or that their lives are "bad" because they are. This ties into the hatred of "victims". Many things lied outside of some people's control like money and health problems. In my opinion, it was wrong to shame people for not "recovering" or "changing" their lives in the way that some judged them on.
I thought to myself maybe some people just wanted a safe place to come to and share some of their tribulations. The group for some time was a good place to be. They helped me learn about boundaries and overcoming abuse, and in many ways this group was the catalyst in me growing stronger and giving me the ability to break away from my abusive family. The earlier facilitators were kind people as I stated early.
While my depression waxed and waned at different times, I knew it was something I would have to maintain the rest of my life and did in the years before, and they were helpful with this. So I do not regret my time in the group.
This message of recover or else made me sad though, why was everything about people jumping through hoops and why were some so judgmental? Everyone differs even in the mental health world. Some will be able to recover and heal and more power to them while some may have to struggle their whole life and just maintain. I am no longer in this group anymore, but sat and thought about some of these issues. I disagree and LOATHE this mentality that everyone must be progressing and setting goals and succeeding to be a worthwhile human being to be a valued and loved and acceptable human being. Some of the people who are advancing this stuff, truly WANT to help another person but they can hurt them with this mentality.
Not everyone is going to have easy fixes. Not everything in this world is SOLVABLE. These are some facts that the achievement set ignore. Disabled people know this all too well, that we almost have to overcompensate for our disabilities and appear like we are always brave, smiling and cheerful. Disabled people are seen as "different" and not fitting in. In a world where you are told to "comform" on an endless basis, what does it do? Too many categories of people today are deemed "inferiors". I am not the first disabled person to be told I am too "negative", or "toxic".
I think the system now being formed in our society is expanding the categories of people who are deemed "inferiors" and "throw-aways", the people who have jumped on the self improvement and achievement wagons have a certain level of health and well-being. You need it especially in this world. Strong social and family support is important too. This is one way society is doing the divide and conquer game, especially here in America, where the social classes are becoming more polarized, racial relations set back by 50 years, and people are divided according to "success" or "non-success". I live in a very affluent community even as a poor person and sometimes it can be very hard. I don't agree with these values. The bankers and 1% are laughing as they make more money and social cohesion breaks up and everyone is running to "keep up with the Jones's" though today it's not just the station wagon in the driveway or the rancher home to keep up with but the personal "achievements" and carrots on the stick as well. In some places, everyone has forgotten how to relax and just "be". Everything is about getting ahead and self improvement. Sorry, but us ACONs are tired of proving ourselves to people. We had enough of that with condemning parents.
What is sad is with many of the measuring sticks today, a great deal of the populace is doomed for failure and the system is designed that way. The achievement people are caught up in this whirlwind, following advertisments--constant ladder climbing brings profit as people buy products that will "enhance" their lives or themselves, media, and oppressive messages and sadly they can not be happy with those who fall off the ladder or even those who threw the ladder on the ground and walked away.
I see this stuff as growing narcissism in our society, where community life is sacrificed on the altar of competition and "proving" yourself. Empathy is affected adversely when one is told achievement is the most important. People who do not heal from a myriad of chronic physical or mental conditions are told they have "failed" and feel even more oppressed and sad. One question to be asked is who are we trying to impress? Must we live life always on the hamster wheel? What is even more disturbing is when you feel like you have to be someone else to please others. Sorry as Popeye said, "I yam what I yam."