Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Why I am so Demanding

Hi everyone, I know it's been awhile since I've written a post, and its because there's been so much going on. I've been really busy at work, and we went on vacation, and I will be getting my posts about that out soon.

I did want to make another personal post, and I wanted to touch on a personality quirk that I have, that isn't a positive one. That being that I am a very demanding person, and I've stopped to consider why.

As you probably know, I grew up an only child, and for me and my experience, that probably has some to do with it. My parents were strict, not extremely strict, but they were pretty strict with me, to a point where many times in my childhood, I felt stifled. We also didn't have very much money, and I think that was a contributing factor as well, as it put my parents under a lot of stress, which was then passed on to me, and became my burden, as I've mentioned before.

Teaching your kids to have empathy, and to think of others, and having consideration of others' feelings is a very important lesson to be taught, but I believe that children should also know that they matter, and are an important part of the family, and that their wants should be acknowledged and considered. They need to also have a "voice."

Growing up, I never once felt that I had a "voice." I felt that I did not matter, and had no control over any aspect of my childhood life, or even teen aged or young adult life. From my earliest memories, and long after, everything was planned out for me...meals, even if my parents knew it was a food I didn't like, or what I was going to wear. We lived in the deep south where the weather was very warm most of the year, but I wasn't allowed to wear shorts until the temps were in the high 80s for example. I was not allowed to choose my own school outfits until I was in the later part of middle school, around 13 years old. I felt that I was never given a choice, or was free to have an opinion to be considered.

Other things, like wanting to go out on the weekend, or do an activity, maybe go into town, or going on an outing was met with resistance. When we did go on vacations, which we did sometimes, I was never once asked where I would like to go, even when I was old enough to make suggestions. If I did protest, or want to have a conversation or reason with my parents about something, I was quickly shot down with "We're not doing that," "We can't do that," or even just a simple conversation ending "No. And that's final." Fine, but I wanted an explanation as to why not, or maybe to open it up for a discussion or compromise, but I was shot down pretty much every time I asked for anything. I also heard the phrase "Have consideration for other people," a lot with regards to requests after getting a firm no. In fact, it was a phrase I heard on almost a daily basis. Things like this made me feel like I just didn't matter, and my opinions didn't matter. I began very early to have a lot of rage build up inside of me, to a point where my parents noticed. We argued a lot. Usually on a daily basis, and a lot of arguments escalated to yelling and very harsh words.

I realize that part of the reason we never went on too many outings or tried to find fun things to do out of the house was because of our lack of money, but my parents were also homebody's, and just liked to stay inside and not really do much out of their comfort zone. I get that, but I would have liked to have a little bit of give and take with that. I'm the complete opposite, and I love getting out of the house and doing things, and having experiences as much as possible. For example, a few day trips around the Savannah area where we lived at the time, or a few weekend trips to destinations inside the state, like the mountains could have been doable, but were never considered or discussed. I feel like just a few times that I wish that my ideas would have had consideration, but I felt completely torn down, always, and my self esteem suffered.

And other things, like I mentioned before, like not being able to pick out my own clothes for school when I was clearly old enough to do so, or not having the choice of what to eat, and other things, for which there are too many to list, really wore me down, and made me feel worthless and out of control.

Another thing which really got to me, was that many times, and still even happens now, when I spoke to my parents, I was never acknowledged. They acted as if they hadn't heard me, or that I hadn't said anything at all, so I would often repeat myself, sometimes several times, until I was acknowledged. This drove me crazy, and my thinking was, fine, maybe you don't want to talk about something, or don't really have an answer, but at least acknowledge that you heard me. When I would repeat myself, my parents, usually my mom, would turn to me and yell, "OK! I HEARD YOU THE FIRST TIME!" To me this was rude on her part, and like I said, I would have liked the courtesy of being acknowledged the first time. My mom also attributed me repeating myself and my growing anger and pushiness as a mental illness, as she often told me, "You have an illness. Why do you do this!?" "You have to stop this!"

I think if she said those words to me again today, I'd answer because I never feel like I'm heard, or validated, or matter. Just every now and then, I wanted someone to have some consideration for me. And I'm looking at this post, and I realize that it could be construed as petty and sniveling, but this issue is very complex for me, and this is part of my story that I want to tell from my point of view. I feel like if I'd had siblings, maybe I would have been not been so sensitive about the issue, or perhaps I would have had an ally, and someone to vent to. But just my personal feelings were that in my family, I did not deserve, for whatever reason, to have a voice or to be heard.

Which brings me to my current issues of having a demanding and controlling personality. I think because I spent so much time in childhood and early adulthood not feeling like I had control of anything, now I can finally take the reins. If I plan something like an outing, or a trip, or whatever, I want it to go pretty much how I planned it. For example, a few years ago, just after my husband and I started dating, I wanted to go into town to a Fourth of July fireworks display. He really wasn't feeling it, but I didn't want to miss out on some time together, so I goaded him into going. We got into a bit of an argument, but he went anyway. It wasn't a fun evening as I wanted it to be because it was doing something that only I wanted to do. And things like this have happened before, both with him and others. And it still happens now. I know its because for so long, what I wanted to do took a back seat, but now I'm finally driving the car. I try to back off when I'm like this, and release some of the control, but it's really, really difficult.

I also tend to repeat my self a lot, and this is because I never felt like I was heard while speaking for so long. I know it can be annoying, and it's another thing I try to check when I become aware of it.

I don't want Sara growing up feeling like she never has a choice, and everything she does and everywhere she goes is planned out for her. I want to give her control when the time comes, and let her know that her voice matters, and will be heard.

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