Showing posts from September, 2018

Shaking Free from the ‘Shoulds'

I don’t know exactly where they come from, these negative, dictating thoughts. The uniform they all wear is “Should,” and they consider themselves experts on any and every nuanced area of my life. Sometimes our relationship feels like an awkward dance, in which I dread being their partner but cannot drum up the courage to exit the dance floor. I twirl stiffly from one to another, barely touching but getting close enough to see the pursed-lip disapproval on each face. There are some who dominate the room, Should-Be-A-Better-Mother perhaps the most formidable. The marks of our unhealthy dynamic are obvious. My disdain and desire for distance coexist with a compulsion to please. But the anonymity of my own head and heart keep any interventions from appearing necessary. Well-meaning questions, advice gingerly given, and referrals to great counselors are all easily avoided in this invisible, abusive relationship.  I hate that I typically notice the Shoulds most after I bend to them in some …