Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Just Once

I did my best
But I guess my best wasn't good enough
'Cause here we are back where we were before.

— Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil (as performed by James Ingram and produced by Quincy Jones)
After being in radio for a while, everything reminds you of a song and tonight is no different.  There are two aspects to this song though that I want to talk about.  The first is perfectionism.

There is a tendency for adult children of alcoholics to be perfectionists.  But not just the usual idea of working something until is is completely without flaw.  There is another, more debilitating side to perfectionism, which is giving up if something is not perfect.

A woman I know was not a very good housekeeper.  And for me to call you "not a very good housekeeper" says something.  She has health problems and so has a reason for needing help cleaning her house.  She has enough money coming in that she could hire a cleaning person.  The problem is that she wants the house to be clean enough to let a cleaning person clean it and she cannot get it there.

And the reason she cannot get it there is that she won't let anyone else help her enough to get it there.  The logic of it is mind bending to me.  It doesn't matter if she knows the person from Adam, she refuses to let anyone help her get her house clean enough to clean or heaven forfend let them actually clean it.

This, although it may not seem it at first, is perfectionism paralyzing her.  Her house has been cleaned (by me actually) enough to the point where someone could have been hired to really clean it.  But while I did my best, I guess my best wasn't good enough, because she let it deteriorate instead of hiring someone.

And yes, she's an adult child of an alcoholic too.

The other piece of this song on my mind is reflective of my current despair about my track record in relationships.  Just once I'd like to figure out what I am doing wrong and really, really fix it.

And I'm working on it.

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