I have been you to quite an extent. I understand this more than you might think. I am 58.
It has taken me my whole adult life to find that spot where I can tell myself it doesn’t matter what others think. Most of the time it works, sometimes not as well as I would like it to. Were you raised in a home where appearances to others was important? I was and it was unacceptable to not hit the mark. My guardian/aunt was awful.
If you can get into counseling again, please do. Don’t give up.
My achilles hill in all of this is my father in law. We hosted family Christmas this year in our new home. We worked our whole lives to have a nice home and we do. I can’t decorate my way out of a paper sack, but the house is there.
Anyhoo, I have a sister in law (BIL’s wife) who is the nicest, kindest person you could ever meet. Everything she does is perfect. Everything. Her home is so well decorated and ALWAYS freaking spotless, she entertains like no other. Yet, she is kind, humble, and unpretentious. I so want to be like her so my father in law will see me in better eyes. WHY DO I EVEN CARE??? My husband is the black sheep of the family and he let that roll off his back years ago. Me, not so much so I am always trying to find that magic thing that will put me in a good light in FIL’s eyes. WHY?
Well, for Family Christmas, DH’s 6 siblings, their families, and his dad were coming. I spent days preparing, cleaning, cooking (and I did one heck of a job). I was a wreck before they got there.
My older daughters have talked to me, my husband has talked to me and they don’t understand what goes on in my head. Know what happened? My 23 yo son came up and said “Mom, really, why do you care? What difference does it make? Grandpa is who he is and he isn’t going to change (much like Mrs. Smith). Stop caring about what others think. If Grandpa gives you any s&%^, I’ll take him to the basement and give him something with a high alcohol content.”
Why did my 23 yo son have the magic that no one else did? I don’t know but I was proud of him for having an attitude of not worrying about what others thought about him.
Man that was long and drawn out. Sorry.
I will share with you the very best piece of advice I have ever received in my life. It was regarding my horrid aunt/guardian whom I could never please. It goes like this: “Stop going to a dry well looking for water. You will always be thirsty.”
The Smith’s are a very dry well.
If you have your mother’s support can’t she start distancing the Smiths from the family events?