False compliments

29 Dec

I have a very hard time accepting compliments. I usually don’t fully trust or believe them.

Blame my childhood for that. But I’m working on it and I’m getting  a bit better.

Except for compliments from my mother. When she compliments me, I immediately have a reaction of disbelief. Thankfully, not outwardly, so she doesn’t really know I don’t believe her. (Can’t imagine how that disbelief would be another example of a bad daughter in her world.)

I think in my childhood, especially elementary school, I had examples of people being mean, talking about me behind my back while being nice to my face, and falsely building me up to knock me down later. That has all stayed with me in huge ways, and I work very hard to not let those memories and feelings impact me now. Sometimes I’m not real successful in that.

I had an epiphany today. I also get some of this from my mother’s compliments. When I was a kid, she complimented us all the time. I think they became meaningless because no matter what we did, we got a compliment.

This morning, she told me my hair and my look was especially pretty today. Now, I have the day off work, and I don’t have to be anywhere until 5:00pm today. Plus I knew I was going to spend most of the day making earrings with beadweaving. So I did shower today, but I barely dried my hair so it has some weird waves in it. I didn’t flat-iron it so it’s kinda big on the bottom. I have my glasses on and no makeup. I’m in my Sunday jeans, which are a pair of jeans that very comfortable but about 3 sizes too big right now, and I’m wearing one of my ex-husband’s long sleeve t-shirts that he didn’t want when we divorced. In short, I’m a bit of a mess and can’t really go out in public right now. There is no way my hair or my look is pretty, let alone especially pretty. NO WAY. I don’t know a lot about fashion (ask AL and RM about that), but trust me, there is no way.

When she complimented me, it immediately took me back to being a kid and not believing her compliments. I think the one today was proof to me that her compliments aren’t based on reality; they’re just words she says to try and make me feel better. I know this isn’t an entirely rationale reaction, but there it is. Couple that with my childhood experiences in school, and it’s very hard for me now to believe compliments.

Add to that the issue of when my dance teacher compliments me. I don’t believe his compliments because of everything I just described above, and part of me feels like it’s his job to make me feel good about my dancing so of course he’ll compliment me. Rationally, I know that’s not true and he doesn’t compliment unless he means it. Emotionally, though, really hard for me to believe.

Sooo…it would appear I have yet another area to work on. I need to start trusting that when people compliment me, they really mean it. Of course there are times when we compliment each other to make the other person feel better, even if we don’t totally mean it. But for the most part, people generally mean it when they compliment someone. So I need to work on trusting that.

And I need to remember that even if my mother’s compliments are not based on any sort of reality, she’s just trying to do something nice.

And I should trust people more that they’re not going to hurt me the way I was hurt in elementary school and junior high, and they’re not being false.

And I shouldn’t get down about having another area to work to improve myself. At least I’m aware of these areas, right? That’s half the battle, I think. At least I hope so.

Because I think this area is going to be a tough one to overcome.

One Response to “False compliments”


  1. Weekly roundup « The Reinvented Lass - January 3, 2012

    […] that my family history adds to my inability to trust compliments and that I don’t know how to ask for help when […]

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