Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thick Skin

I think as a step-mother to two teenage boys I'm going to need to develop a thicker skin. Yesterday, I got my feelings hurt because they told me they didn't like to go shopping with me. I hope I'm pmsing or something to have that kind of reaction. What teenage boy likes to shop with his mother? Why am I letting this bother me?

A long time ago (when the world was very young...), a friend introduced me to this book called Emotional Alchemy. In this book, the author talks about different "schemas" that we all have that effect how we interact with others, especially friends and loved ones. I read it to try to help my quickly failing first marriage. My ex-husband clearly had the abandonment schema which meant that he assumed everybody was going to abandon him at some point so why not hurry them on their path. Kind of like tearing the bandaid off quickly - you know it's going to hurt so might as well get it over with. My schemas were exclusion and rejection. I assumed I'd never be part of the group so sub-consciously did things (body language, what I said, etc) that put me outside the group. And I assumed nobody would like me and I would be rejected as the unwanted friend so would hesitate to make friends in the first place. What was the point? Interesting insight.

And here it comes back. As a step-mother, hearing the boys say they don't want to shop with me, I quickly fall back into the mode of "nobody likes me, everybody hates me, might as well go eat worms." And then I mope and whine and feel like I'll never fit into the family the boys and my husband formed before I came to be part of the picture. You see? Rejection and exclusion. You would think I would get it by now.

When I was in third grade I would listen to this song every day. It was on a Tubby the Tuba record. I wish I still had it but my parents got rid of it and I haven't been able to find a recording. Here are the lyrics I found on-line. They don't seem quite right - but close enough.

Be yourself, you can't be anybody else,
Be yourself is my advice to you,
Or else you'll always be a nobody,
So be yourself, or else.
A hippopotamus
Would look very curious
Flying like a butterfly;
A fierce and hungry lion
Would look silly tryin'
To bake an apple pie.
I think you'd get a laugh
If you saw a tall giraffe
Swinging by his tail from a tree;
I think an octopus
Would look quite ridiculous
Knitting sweaters at the bottom of the sea.
So be yourself, and do the things that you know best,
Be yourself, I think that you'd be happiest
By being no one else but you

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