Note from Darlene: My last post was about The Progression of Mental Health and how I (falsely) learned from a young age that my value was sexual. My husband, Jimmy B. started to comment (because I had asked him to in the comment section) and he ended up writing a wonderful comment on how he came to understand his value. He writes about how he was conditioned by his upbringing as a farm boy in Rural Alberta Canada. I decided to publish his comment as a post all on its own because it is such a great illustration of how we come to understand our value; not our true value but the value assigned to us by others. ~ Darlene Ouimet
Valued for my Ability to Work Hard ~ By Jimmy B.
It started as early as age three or four. I loved to eat and still love to eat but that is another coping method for a whole other blog post. I loved pie; any kind of pie. I always wanted a big slice like the adults got but my mom said when I could work as hard as the men I could have a bigger slice; a man size slice. I learned to work hard; real hard. By the time I was ten I could work as hard as any man and by the time I was twelve, I could out work two men. This was rewarded sometimes with pie and other goodies. This was also one of the first ways my Dad got me under his thumb. I was told how big and strong I was. I was praised for how hard I could work. I was told how valuable I was because I could work so hard. I liked the approval.
Because I tried so hard, I was also told I was needy and that I needed more attention than my siblings. I was reminded that I constantly wanted recognition for my accomplishments and I was a pain in the ass. “Just go out and do something” was a common phrase I heard.
This was quite a conundrum. Along with all these phrases and put downs and work came requests from neighbours and extended family. ”Hey Jimmy, want to come and make a little cash his weekend” or “come and give me a hand for an hour” were common offers. This usually made my Dad make me work harder so he didn’t lose me to someone else. I liked the praise but as a kid I also wanted my parent’s approval.
All this work got in the way of my school work, which suffered, therefore I was told I was stupid and I would never be able to run my own business or work for myself. Another thing that suffered was my exhaustion tolerance. When I got tired I was told I was lazy. I thought I was lazy because I was always tired and when puberty hit man I had to push myself to prove I was good enough, worthy enough and valuable enough to be loved.
This way of working and thinking caught up with me and caused most of my problems in the rest of my life. My relationships suffered. My health suffered.
I did not know what was right or wrong because my Parents kept me in a spin all the time depending what their motives were. I felt I was never good enough and I was a big disappointment to them. My dad always had a better way for me to do things; HIS WAY. All my abusers had their own ways of how I should be doing things. My way was never right. Of course abusers tell you these things. They change rules and lie and make up things to keep you oppressed and keep you in the spin so you can’t see really how pathetic they are. Stay in the spin so you can’t see their down falls and short comings. They keep us oppressed, mentally, sexually and physically, so we can never see that we are valuable because they are afraid that maybe we are better than they are; maybe we are better business men and women then they will ever dream about being. Maybe we can work harder and we are smarter than them. They have to keep us thinking down and depressed, they have to squish us down so that we really don’t see who they really are; vile, pathetic, controlling, sick, stupid, lonely people.
In summary I want to add that I was an honour student; I bought a million dollar business when I was 19 and became very successful, but due to the conditioning of my father, and my whole family, I never acknowledged my own success; it was never enough and I became a workaholic. I was driven to prove myself, but since I had never been recognized prior to adulthood, I never felt like anything was enough until I found help and like Darlene always says; got to the bottom of the lies, exposed them, got rid of them and replaced them with the truth.