I recently came to realize that I have a, ‘it’s me/us against them’ mentality. I’m not exactly sure what brought me to this realization, but it happened and I’ve sat on the thought for a while before wrapping my head around sharing it. I know where it comes from, now I just have to do the work to recondition myself.
This mentality stems from my childhood. All I ever heard was ‘me/us against them’ references from my parents. They were always comparing how hoity-toity and stuck up their siblings were compared to how great they were. My parents were always comparing the ways their siblings lived compared to our lives. They always compared the earning level compared to ‘poor me, they need to take care of us’. It was always our family against everybody else.
I grew up hearing how awful my aunts and uncles were because they lived in better houses, traveled, drove better cars, blah, blah, blah. I also frequently heard about how selfish they were not to take care of our family since my parents couldn’t make enough money. I grew up thinking that all of our extended family were assholes and hated us.
Us against them.
I still struggle, even today, with feeling less than my aunts, uncles, and cousins because of what I heard growing up. I never feel like I’m enough or will ever be enough to be loved by them. No matter how much internal work I do, or how much I hear love come out of their mouths, I still struggle with this mindset. I’m happy my ‘me against them’ mindset is different than my parents, but it still isn’t good.
I have brought the ‘me/us against them’ mentality into everything that I do and every relationship that I have. I see it in my interactions and reactions with Eddie’s family, with our friends, and even at work. It is almost first nature to feel this way with people.
When this mentality takes over, which it does so quickly in almost any situation, I make myself small. I’m going to say that again. I. Make. Myself. Small.
I do it.
They don’t. This mentality is what is fucking up my relationships. This mentality is what makes me make myself small.
If I can learn to identify when I’m feeling the ‘me against them’ mentality and starting to feel small, I can remind myself that I’m doing this to myself. Nobody has that kind of power over me.
I don’t know how I’m going to overcome this mentality, but I will. And I will share the progress and process with you. This is big. This is something that I wish I would have realized years ago. It would have saved me so much heartache and embarrassment. It’s okay. Now is better than never.
Side note: When I hit the seventh paragraph, I didn’t know where I was going with the post. That paragraph hit me like a ton of bricks. That realization that I’m the one who makes myself small literally only happened while typing this post. I am physically in a new place of realization and hope, eagerness to find a new way to combat the mentality and how I react. Eager to stop making myself feel small and blaming it on others.