Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Double Bind

I find it amazing how old, deep seated, thought patterns can rear their ugly heads.

One of my early memories is my dad yelling at me to get out of his site because I can't do anything right. I was about seven years old when this happened. You would think that I would be able to look back at this situation and realize that it has a whole lot to do with my dad and nothing to do with me. But, alas, it is still there, still ready to rear its ugly head. And rear its ugly head it does.

The main way it shows up is in the form of doubt.

I strive for perfection. I can't make perfection. I get frustrated. I begin to blame things that go wrong on my inability for perfection. I look at every job and assume that because I cannot do them perfectly, that I should not even try to do the job. It also takes the form of wanting perfection from those who are around me. I can be a cruel taskmaster.

I get so frustrated because I know that anything I do I will screw up. It is actually this thought pattern that kept me from going to med school. It is also this thought process that tends to prevent from doing more things with stained glass. I can't do it perfectly. I see other peoples' projects that have better cuts and better soldier lines. I look upon my own and see flaws.

But, back to the whole perfection thing. Quite often I get into a whole funk about never getting hired. I look at my lack of perfection and the thought that would come out is "I would never hire me."

Then I see situations such as work and find myself in a double bind: I want to do my best at my job but am surrounded by people who could care less. I do my job and my coworkers are more than willing to let me do everything. But if I let things go, then I hear my dad say, "you can't do anything right." Then I worry if I am being too demanding about my job. I do the job right and I incur the wrath of my coworkers. I do it half-assed and I feel like I am stealing from my employer.

I am not asking for encouragement or anything like that. I know what I am feeling is illogical. But welcome to my world. I hope getting this out may help to me to move beyond the need for perfection. But I doubt it. If I can't perfectly be nonperfect, I am not going to do it!


Anonymous said...

Ben, you are not so alone as you think. Your comment about your Dad yelling at you brought back memories of my own father and one of my uncles doing a very similar thing. Their words echo in my soul.

Anonymous said...

nothing is life has any business being perfect.