Original post from The Mighty:
3. "I'm an overachiever."
My sister's post:
Anything less than an A was shameful. Perfection was a must, unless I wanted to be punished. Funnily enough, it was a bonus when I became a medical transcriptionist. My work needed to be perfect because patients' lives depended on it. It was the only thing in which perfectionism was a pro instead of a con.
The weird part was that my perfectionism spurred arrogance even as I felt worthless. All the contradictions was wearing for one simple reason: My perspective was built on lies.
I remember my counselor asking me about how I perceived myself. He'd run me through a series of activities in an effort to teach me I was a good person and that I was a capable person. I vividly remember visualizing myself, as I thought I should be, and realizing I didn't like her. She was successful, beautiful, self-assured; she was also self-righteous, arrogant, pious, and a miserable person to be around. She was the perfect person I had been expected to be in order to please those who would make my life miserable if I didn't measure up.
Overachieving wasn't about being successful. It was about pleasing to the point of deflecting attention from myself and shining the light on the things I'd done. If I did enough right, then it would tip the balance in my favor from all the bad things I'd done.
It all changed when I finally believed that God loved me no matter what. I wanted to be good not to avoid punishment from being bad but because I wanted to make God smile because I chose rightly, because I chose His way. Yes, I spent a lot of years, most of life, working to avoid punishment. What a joy to discover the peace and wonder of choosing right for right's sake. Bad things still happen, but I know it isn't punishment. Life happens. Evil exists. Jesus overcame the world, so I need not fear.
I don't want to give a false sense of everything's wonderful. I still struggle. I still make mistakes. However, my focus has changed. Instead of avoiding/pleasing/fawning my abuser, making them the center of my world, God is now the center. Oddly enough, He's easier to please. He doesn't change the rules in the middle. He doesn't change His expectations. He doesn't lie.