today’s guest post is from a fellow blogger and very dear friend, meet Ann.
I am afraid of being seen as weak, inadequate and incompetent.
I haven’t always been afraid of this because I wasn’t aware that I could be inadequate or incompetent until well into my teenage years. Achieving at school was never a problem and my family was very encouraging of these achievements. It wasn’t until I failed to achieve that I realized the depth these feelings could have!
At school I found I didn’t have to work too hard to stay ahead, or at least abreast of the field. But when it comes down to it, you just don’t achieve anything with out SOME effort going into it. At 16 yrs I had passed all my ‘O’ grades with no problem, but when it came to Higher Grades I had discovered that teenagers could have a social life and just didn’t put in the work.
The results were a dramatic removal from my previous form and huge shock for me (and my parents and teachers)! What must have been maddening for my parents was that I went on to duplicate those results the following year! But I simply couldn’t force myself to do what needed to be done.
I had no excuse. There WAS no excuse! Suddenly as it was time for me to step into the world outside of the institution I was desperate to leave, here I was sabotaging myself.
It’s not really true that I fully understand what it is in me, but I know self-destructive behaviour can be caused by the inability to handle stress stemming from a lack of self-confidence. For example, faced with pressing schoolwork, someone may choose to sabotage their work rather than cope with the stress of what the results might be.
I was powerless to change my behaviour. Even in later years, when finishing higher qualifications, the amount of effort I felt I had to apply simply to complete the tasks seemed enormous.
I went onto a career in Social Work that demanded I face this issue too regularly, regular tight deadlines with a constant burden of legal responsibility. Over the years I learned to put systems in place to prevent me from running to the wire with my work. I had a sickening feeling whenever I was nearing a deadline and felt I wasn’t going to be able to force myself to finish!
I became very, very good at avoiding the paralysis by appearing over responsible (when I was just extremely organised), and found myself in positions where I had responsibility to manage the whole team’s deadlines. What a learning curve!
My team laughed that I had to put everything in a box – yes all my minutes had (have) ‘SMART’ outcomes and timescales – because if I were not in control of that, the paralysis would take control of me! So now I’m an organized, systems freak and find that if I don’t have all the bases covered to prevent me heading towards the ‘abyss of paralysis’ I get shaky about that!
The biggest laugh is that my husband thinks I don’t worry enough about timing. And that’s true in a social sense, I’ve always been laid back thinking, well no one’s going to die if we’re 5 minutes late for dinner… Apologies if I offend those with ‘time’ issues out there!
I also never look like I’m panicking; when crises roll up I become calmer and deal with the flack at the time. But what people won’t see is the melt down when I go home!
So when things get pressured I feel like I’m about to be found out as the inadequate, incompetent fraud I am (and ultimately rejected and shunned).
There’s a shame in never having gotten this secret weakness sorted out. It lies below the surface of what anyone else sees, so I get away with it a lot, but carry it with me all the time! I know I can manage it, given the opportunity to plan… And I’m calm in a crisis because I’ll have a bigger crisis of not meeting my deadlines or responsibilities if I’m not calm enough to plan!
This is the first time I’ve every admitted to this. God and me dealt with it privately for years and my ultimate need remains: for him to carry me, as always!
There is a whisper hidden in the truth, which as it resonates can build to shattering power – like a singer breaking a glass with only their voice. No sooner had I written this down in black and white than my methods of self-protection were under the glare of God’s spotlight.
This lie had been operating so far under the radar for so long in my life that I had no idea the power it actually had over me until it was openly challenged and the meltdown began! Stating the truth, publically confessing this issue, started a small crack in my defences that quickly became a landslide. Thankfully God chooses his moments to leave us undone: perfect timing, perfect place, and His perfect grace.
Contrary to what was my last line above, God is not content to carry me! His is a more perfect plan than that. He brings things up so we can deal with them. So here goes, yet another healing process has begun!
click here for Ann’s blog ‘a little heart sharing’