I AM Enough
It's hard to believe how often our past makes its way into our relationships, but you only need to listen to couples seeking help to find out how much our childhood determines our conflict-style and dynamics.
One of the most significant ways our past creeps into our relationships is via that feeling that "I am enough" or "I'm not ____ enough."
This can play-out in a few ways in our relationships, and I hear versions of this all the time in session. The most common way the idea of "being enough" plays-out is when one person has never been "________ enough" for their parents. For example, "I was never pretty enough for my Mom." Or, "I was never smart enough for my Dad."
If you hear it enough, you can start to believe that you're just not _____ enough at all.
This can be a familiar pattern that starts to show itself in relationships. The partner who has never felt good enough might fall for someone who repeats the pattern. "If I never felt ______ enough for my parents, then I might seek-out someone who makes me feel the same way."
When times get rough, the person who doesn't feel ______ enough can start to criticize his/her partner and repeat the childhood pattern in the relationship. He/she might tell his/her partner, "you're not ______ enough" often or insinuate that his/her partner isn't good enough.
Either way, teaching your children they are, indeed, ENOUGH just because they are who they are is a good way to prevent the feelings of inadequacy altogether. It may be tough, especially if you never felt quite "enough," but it will help break the cycle.