With my strong reaction to the “there’s nothing wrong with you” Facebook posts, I knew that I had some thinking to do. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with my strong reactions per se, it’s just that when the intensity of my emotional reaction to things surprises me, it is often because I’ve hit a sore spot.

I have come a long way in accepting my imperfections. I am mostly okay with myself as an individual. I am aware that despite my faults and mistakes, I am a very good mother.

To be perfectly frank, I have complained a great deal in my life about my husband’s sensitivity to criticism. Although my complaints are not entirely unfounded, something else is also true. When my husband complains to me or criticizes me, it hits a very tender part of my heart. The part of my heart that wants to be a perfect wife. I’ve long thought that I am a good wife, maybe even a very good wife. But it is the role in my life in which I fall down the most frequently.

I am actually pretty good at taking critical feedback, in general. I had music teachers that poke and prodded and talked me through every note. I had writing teachers that had me change every single word. I’ve had patients and their family get quite mad at me. In my friendships, I would much rather be told that I am doing something that concerns or bothers another person than to just be left guessing. A former boss of mine actually told me that responding appropriately to specific negative feedback was one of my strengths as an employee. That was a truly horrible work situation, during which I experienced the onset of my first of two depressive episodes.

I haven’t gotten depressed in over a decade and I am a happy person. But part of me feels like my heart is about to be shot whenever my husband criticizes me. It doesn’t happen every time, or even the majority of the time, but it happens enough so that it is a problem. My perfectionism is gets in the way of solutions and communication, two things that build a healthy and close marriage. I put a lot of stress on myself to be the “better person” in a relationship, to function better, to need less, and to give more. That’s appropriate for a mother. It’s also appropriate for a psychologist. My parental and professional relationships are not supposed to be reciprocal. But my husband is my a partner and a peer. Being the “better person” is not an equal relationship, nor is being dependent.

This is a work in progress, people. I am a work in progress.