This morning for some reason I was feeling like whatever I tried to accomplish, no matter how good my intentions were – was not going to be accomplished!  I actually went to bed at a decent hour last night and got up ready to go this morning. I was on track and was going to stay on track and TaDa!  I suddenly didn’t know what to do next and I wondered what all my goals were about and…I… uh oh! I recognized an old syndrome.

Doing all the things necessary to achieve success in a chosen area and then not getting the results that all my hard work should have earned – is a syndrome that began for me when I was a very young girl.

I’m thankful that I now know this syndrome exists in me and that I’m beginning to recognize it more quickly each time it starts up. Recognizing it is helping me on my path to conquering it. Each time I recognize that this is what’s at play, I began breathing again and things begin falling into place. I find David Friedman’s method of recognizing my body sensations at the time they’re occurring and letting them be, is useful.  I now begin to cheer them on with “Hi old pals!”

I’m not a psychoanalyst and I don’t pretend to be, but I do feel that I’m blessed to have come to realize that this syndrome all started with my Daddy’s joking.  My Daddy loved his family more than life.  I have zero doubts about that.  He never would have scarred me on purpose. But whether he meant to or not the “silly” joke affected me for decades.

I’d set myself up to quit things too early, as soon as things weren’t going the way I wanted them to, because I feared that no matter what I’d do or how much intelligent work I put into reaching the particular goal – I wouldn’t get the results I’d earned, because I wouldn’t have totally thought out my path to success.  I would have thought I’d thought it out – but I would have missed something.  I now realize that the ”little girl” in me didn’t want to make my Daddy wrong.

So – what was the joke?  Daddy was the one who walked me to school every morning during my early school years. Then he walked to the subway to go to his office in Manhattan, so my mom wouldn’t have to run out early.  He was an extremely generous and loving man.  He also had a huge and sophisticated sense of humor.

On many mornings he’d hand me a list of things I should do that day and he asked me to agree to do them. Of course, being a People Pleaser as early as 5 years old, I always said, “Yes, Daddy!” Each day, in addition to going to school and then in the First Grade adding Hebrew School to my duties, I scurried to complete the items on the list my Daddy gave me.  When we sat down at the dinner table he would ask me if I’d accomplished the tasks on the list. I would bounce up and down and cheerfully announce that I’d accomplished all the items and explain what I did to accomplish each.

Then came the rub!  He would ask me if I’d accomplished doing another task- one that was not on the list! I’d look at the whole list and then look to him and say “Daddy it’s not on the list!”  He would then look at time and say – “but you should have known to do that!” I’d feel terrible and go to bed feeling like a failure because I should have known to do it.  I actually took his word as “for real” and felt that I should have known what to do.  I felt forlorn and like a failure.  I didn’t “get” that he was playing a joke on me!

It wasn’t till my mid 60s that I realized my Daddy had been joking.  So many happenings in my life reflected that list and how the 5 year old didn’t have the maturity to realize that Daddy was kidding around.

Take a look at patterns that have evolved in your life. Check to see if you aren’t repeating an old action that you developed to please someone who loved you, but who felt the need to joke with you or play “wise man/woman” about a serious topic or …  Now take a deep breath, forgive them for not explaining themselves more clearly to the little child you were, have a good laugh and forgive yourself for “not having gotten the joke” (or whatever) when you were a tiny tot. How couldn’t have.  Now you can begin again, smile at the past and start getting the results you’re going after.  I’m sure that some of you know “it ain’t easy being a “perfect parent!” Sometimes parents inadvertently do silly things that can hurt the tiny tots they love.