The catch with compensation

Sometimes, I really think I’m mad… crazy… bonkers… insane!

As a child, I battled with the feeling of inadequacy, an issue which made me thrive on being an overachiever to feel useful, loved and good enough.

I grew up, married and life happened. However, just a year into the marriage, uncertainties and problems started. The whirlwind romance culminated in divorce, less than three years later.

This may seem like nothing that can cause a major change in a person’s life but to the young adult me, the end of the marriage was a reflection of what a failure I was.

Depression… Coping [defense] mechanisms… Compensation is only one of them.

I accepted that I was a failure in my personal life so I had to find other areas in my life where I could find successes. I found that I could have a successful career and I did… well, for me anyway, and it made up for the failed marriage. After all, my ex-husband said that I was a career woman, not a wife and mother.

The success – which is, in fact, subjective – gave me some of the material stuff that represent success in modern life, some feeling of self-fulfillment, friends and most importantly, a reason to not pay attention to what I was terrible at.

More disposable income meant independence from men for financial support and fewer restrictions on what I could do to erase from view the depression that was hanging around like a cloud over my head.

And for many years, life had been perfect… well, almost… on the surface.

My own home, cars, travel, parties, clothes, shoes…  Shoes! I have a love affair with shoes. They make me over-the-moon happy.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So, what on earth is the problem? My problem, maybe?

Unlike peace and joy which do not fade no matter what happens to us in our lives since both are within us, happiness is dependent on us achieving some external goals or acquiring some wants and desires.

Compensation accomplishes happiness and thus temporary, I believe… from my experience, at least. I think that’s what’s wrong with compensation… and, in fact, other defense mechanisms.

None of the tricks that are meant to erase the negative feelings seem to have the power to resolve my inadequacy issue permanently.

Not on its own…

No matter how good I may look on the outside, or so I think… such as when I’m made up because I’m one of my cousin’s bridesmaids, and I’ve used filters on the photographs…

No matter how wide a smile I have across my face…


Or grin…

Or laugh…

Because, hell, I worry! What if? I fear I’m going to lose what I have. I’m not scared of death but I sure am frightened of losing what I have especially when I want to have more.

Am I just being a privileged, much older, spoiled brat? Damn it! I should really get over this… or myself! Already!


I’ll buy shoes and feel better.



One thought on “The catch with compensation

  1. Anne, this is an amazing post. You’ve done such by revealing the vulnerable aspects of your thinking, while at the same time connecting your personal experience with our common experiences, feeling uncertain or unconfident, trying to make up for it with external success, etc. Lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s