Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Miss Smarty Pants

When I was around 9 years old, my parents divorced. As an adult I can see how this divorce was inevitable and necessary. Children, however, do not have adult logic and coping skills. Children believe things that are not true and sometimes believe things that are downright magical or fanciful. Children also tend to believe that the world revolves around them, thus other people's choices must be because of something the child has done. My child reasoning came up with the bright idea that my Dad left because I was not special in any way. Some children might have blamed themselves in various other ways, telling themselves, "I'm not a good girl, so Dad left," or "I argued with Dad last week, so he left," etc., etc. For me, I just felt PLAIN and therefore unlovable. I remember when school let out that spring, at the completion of fourth grade, I made the decision that one thing I had going for me was that I was pretty smart. I didn't consider myself particularly pretty, social, or talented in any way, but darn it, I could learn anything! So, I resolved to become the SMARTEST and this is what would make me special. My parents had ordered a set of encyclopedia books for me, and that summer I set out to begin reading and committing to memory the entire set. Oh, Dear...

Thus began my lifelong agenda of becoming a real know-it-all. In retrospect, I know I was a pretty smart kid, but so were alot of my friends. There was nothing really all that special about my good grades, but I had convinced myself it was the one thing that kept me special and therefore forever safe from abandonment.

The reason I'm sharing all of this with you is because I am realizng this is the wound that is being triggered by Mr. A, referenced in my last post. As the universe would have it, I have been put into a relationship with another know-it-all just like me. Great! (insert sarcasm here) There is only room for one know-it-all per office, home, or school, etc. When two know-it-alls disagree, uh-oh, someone has to back off and admit, I don't know everything, you do. That is just not happening! It's really almost laughable but the wound is very real, because here is the problem: if you take away my smart status, then my wound says you just took away the one thing that makes me special, and now I am vulnerable to abandonment.

I am very grateful to have this wound and the lie of it exposed. I am actually becoming grateful for every instance when Mr. A tells me something I already know and I'm tempted to say, "Yes, I already know that." When I walk away from this triggering instance, I have truth on my side, and the truth can be applied like a healing balm. These are the sweet and wonderful truths that I know:
1. I am not the smartest person around, nor do I need to be. God uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise!
2. I am special and unique regardless of my IQ or book smarts. There is no one else on this planet exactly like me.
3. I can never be abandoned ever again, because I am an adult now. Adults can't be abandoned, because adults are self-sufficient (in the survival sense). Only children can truly be abandoned.
4. I am powerless over other people and trying to control other people only makes my own life unmanageable. I have a Higher Power who can restore me to sanity and daily meet my needs, as long as I daily turn the care of myself over to Him.

I share this personal story with great humility and with the hope that someone reads a part of themselves here. May the truth set us free!

Photo above found at:


  1. Mr. Know-It-All #4982556 here.

    Might be a bit off topic.

    >I am special and unique regardless of my IQ or book smarts. There is no one else on this planet exactly like me.<

    So it follows...?

    I'm pretty ignorant of people, but doesn't this seem to be the cry of one who wants to be loved as herself?

    "I love you," she heard him say to her, "let me take you from here."

    Clutching her poor-fitting garments to herself on the freezing, wind-swept desert, she looked passed his eyes -- willing, yet unwilling, to face the truth of his love and still the cold, shrieking loneliness in the barrenness of her heart.

    "Am I special? Am I unique?" she asked him.

    Moving slightly so that he could look deeply into her eyes, he said simply, "I love you."

    "But why? What can I give you?" she asked, her eyes constantly flickering away and back to his.

    "Nothing. Nothing except what you are withholding."

    Her eyes darted again from his. "What am I withholding?"

    "Trust in my love for you."

  2. "3. I can never be abandoned ever again, because I am an adult now. Adults can't be abandoned, because adults are self-sufficient (in the survival sense). Only children can truly be abandoned."

    So you are saying that little Melissa thought she had to survive by herself? I was thinking you were saying (inwardly: "I just felt PLAIN") that she was trying to attract her daddy back, or, at the very least (and what you actually wrote in at least two places), she was trying to keep from being abandoned again.

    Either way, #3 doesn't seem to fit, nor is it even true -- ask that Japanese man recently washed out into the sea for two days before rescued by a helicopter with the aggregate social net of millions of people behind it.

    A father is a very special man, and a girl feeling abandoned by the father would feel Very Plain. (AHA! Now I know why my wife...)

    I told some kids we adopted that we were all adopted by a Father who loves us more than their earthly dad. There were questions and then a visible relaxation on the faces of the two oldest when they realized that there was one who would not abandon them, even if they goof.

    Anyway, you may wish to rethink or rephrase #3.

    Oh, BTW, I won't abandon you because you do or don't do that. I WILL abandon you because...I'm human.

    Rest in Christ.

  3. Melissa, appreciate you sharing your struggle here. After getting past the divorce part of your reading, I could focus more. Appreciate your words of wisdom on abandonment. Blessings to you dear one as you go through your own journey. Amen, may the truth indeed set us free!!!

  4. When I speak of abandonment, I mean it in the sense of how it is often used in the field of psychology, which I'll try to explain. Certainly, we could say that the man left to die in the middle of the ocean, while people stood about watching, was abandoned. I'm talking about the kind of abandonment fear that is primal in a child-- the part of us that knows, even as an infant, I am completely dependent upon you, my caregiver. If you were to ever leave me, I could not survive on my own, and I will die. This is instinctual and born into all children. It creates the strong primal drive for attachment to a caregiver, and this is why children who did not develop a secure attachment are often riddled with anxiety. Sometimes, when emotionally wounded as children, we carry this primal fear of being abandoned within the context of a relationship, and thus dying as a result of the fact that this particular person does not want a relationship with me. As a child, I certainly would have died had an adult not provided proper care for me. As an adult, I don't need the physical care from another in order to keep me alive. Yes, I need intimacy and relationships, but I don't need someone to feed me, protect me, house me, and meet my basic needs. I can now do those things for myself. If my husband leaves me, I won't die. I would be very wounded, but I won't die. My needs within relationships have moved beyond the basic physical needs of survival to the more evolved needs of emotional security, validation, companionship, etc.