I can't think of one self-inflicted prison more demoralizing and emotionally destructive than seeking the approval of a person who can't be pleased. It's like throwing yourself off a cliff repeatedly until you're so broken you can't drag yourself to the peak anymore.
You see one of the things that I am most ashamed of is that I have no family. I am, for all intents and purposes, an orphan. I try with my father but as he ages it is becoming more and more difficult to have him berate me, or worse, this week he vented to my 16 year old daughter and told her how ashamed of me he is. That isn't fair to her and he should never have done it, but he did.
So in the next few weeks I'm going to figure out how to have a really hard conversation with each of my parents. My life is in transition and you can't fight winter (though some sort of warning sign would have been helpful). You can only wear warm jackets (love that is truly given), a pair of mittens (those who journey beside me, lifting me up) and not travel in the worst elements (timing IS king).
I know that the backlash will hurt, but pain and recriminations are worth it to me, to journey through this winter and into a new spring. And soon I'll be able to say....
And the most important part will be that I will know, that not only have I slain a dragon, but also that I've given birth to new, stronger, better, much SMARTER dragons.