Remember that saying:
"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me"? What a crock!! I think at times I would prefer a stone to harsh words. And words are hardly forgotten.
I remember once as I was struggling at the age of 23 what I wanted to do with my life, I was having an intense discussion with my father in which I felt he was bossing me around. His frustration level was rising and he just blurted, "Why can't you be more like your mother?" A few things about my mom. She is the strongest woman I know. She has reservoirs of strength that rival the oil deposits in Alaska! She is the most determined woman I know, smart, pretty and loyal. When my dad said those words, all fight went out of me and I felt like I just wasn't measuring up to anyones expectations. I grew up with my grandmother always telling me to 'help your mother, she works so hard' and 'your mother is such a terrific person'. Things I never and will never dispute, but....
My mom is great, but I felt like people were not looking at ME! I wasn't my mom!! I never had her drive, and I never really wanted it either. I loved my mom, but felt like people were always wanting me to be like her. She was an apple, and I was an orange!! I never pick up an orange and say "I am so disappointed that you aren't an apple" or "why can't you be more like an apple?" I know that my father wasn't trying to hurt me, and he later apologized, but those words hurt. And since then, I have a deep fear of being compared to everyone else. And as I look back upon my life, I feel like I have missed out on a lot of opportunities because of that fear. I wasn't a wallflower by any means, but I always had that little niggling in the back of my brain.
And I still do. But with age comes wisdom, and also a 'who gives a crap' attitude. And it's that attitude I am trying to cultivate. I am who I am!! So go suck it!!!
PS- my relationship with my mother has since become the one I most treasure. As I have gotten older, she has become my best friend. I love her tons!! I'm still not "like" her, but I have worked thru that!