Monday, June 13, 2016

Q&A - Troublemaker

What did you get into trouble for the most when you were a kid?
Okay sure... I wasn't the perfect little monster, but for the most part I feel I was a good kid. But having the mother that I had - especially post divorce and being a single mother of two - she had the tendency to be a little paranoid, overprotective, and unrealistic.

Now don't get me wrong. I LOVE my mother, but usually in a parent-child relationship, isn't it usually the child being unreasonable?

Let me give you an example.

When I was young - maybe just before my teens - my mother had made the comment that I could start dating when I turned 16. This news didn't make me all squirrely or anything because in all honesty - I didn't really care. I was - still am - a tomboy. I was "one of the guys," but since I was a girl, boys felt comfortable enough to talk to me to try and get insider info or something. Back then I was more jealous - if anything - of the attention other girls were getting. I had no desire to date anyone since no one really rocked my world then.

I think my mother was having some conversation with my brother and the dating age thing came up again, but this time my mother said 18. Again, still didn't care, but I corrected my mom politely in passing (I think I was doing my homework at the table at the time), and told her she had said 16. At that point my mom got all "Oh! Eager to date boys, are we?" Um, no. I'm just reminding you of what you said. Needless to say my mom beat the dating thing like a dead horse to the point where I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs out of frustration.

My mother is the kind of person that on occasion had the answer to the question she was going to ask you so even if you swore on a stack of bibles, she would accuse you of blaspheming to GOD because you're a LIAR.

I could even have video proof, signed eye witness statements, have GOD ALMIGHTY back me up to my mom, and she'd still think I was a liar. Hell, she's think GOD was telling the truth, and I was still lying - and we'd be saying THE SAME THING.

Also I'm not one to take the blame for something I didn't do. So if my mother accused me of something, I would tell her I didn't do it. Now yes, my mother and I have yelled at each other. (I have tried my best to remain calm over the years while she yells at me - taking the higher road and all that - but I always end up yelling, and when I raise my voice, her eyes get big and she yells at me not to talk to her like that. Then when I point out to her that's how she's talking to me, she either would say that she wasn't or that it was okay for some reason since she was the mom.)

Side Note: Just because you're the parent doesn't give you the right to immediately yell at your kid for every little thing. Communication is a two-way street, y'all. Just like you have to earn respect, you don't speak to people in a certain way - child or not - and expect that person to not respond (possibly or eventually) in kind.

I swear to you - once on the phone with my mother she was yelling at me. I was doing my best to remain calm, but nope, she kept on yelling. And the moment when I yelled back?

Mom: Don't yell at me!
Me: Why not? You're yelling at me!

For real?

Some of my mother's mom-isms I've had to deal with over the years...

  • If I share sleeping space with someone of the opposite sex, we're going to have sex.
  • If a woman hits on me, I'm a lesbian.
  • If I have one beer, I'm an alcoholic.
  • I live three hours away because I hate her and/or don't love her.
  • Doesn't understand how I can read. (like for leisure)
  • Assumes that anything I'm reading that has vampires, werewolves, etc in it is evil.
  • Has worried for my well-being since I'm going to a friend's house that lives in a different city than mine (even though in reality is only 5-10min away from me.
  • When I mentioned I was meeting up at a friend's house who she knew to be a lesbian, was worried that if we were alone, she'd try to attack me.
  • When she found out a friend of mine came out to me as bi-sexual, suddenly remembered we'd had sleepovers, and wanted to know where I slept when I was staying at her house. When I told her we shared her bed, she asked if she had done anything to me. I said no. She said "How would you know? You were asleep."
  • If my period didn't happen when she randomly thought it should happen, I was obviously pregnant. (Please refer to the whole dating thing from earlier.)
  • If she sees me getting a salad first at a buffet, she complains that I'm anemic and need to eat some meat since I know I'm anemic and have low iron - but when I eat meat first, she complains I don't eat enough vegetables.
  • Once while visiting, at dinner she asked if I wanted some salad, and I asked what dressing they had. She scoffed at me wondering why I would ask such a thing.
  • Once while visiting, her husband was making coffee and asked I'd like some. Before I could answer, she said that I didn't drink coffee, instead I drank "lattes" - and she said it in a very mocking tone.
  • Has started drinking a can of soda and then whines to me to help her finish it. When I tell her I don't want any, she guilts me into drinking the rest. Then when I do, she chastises me for consuming too much/many sweets.
  • Once came to visit me with my brother and his family and made fat jokes about/to me the entire visit, and it wasn't until they were all driving away that I found out she told everyone how thin I looked and wondered how much weight I lost. (Apparently my brother blew up at her then.)
  • Alternately will tell me I'm either too fat or too skinny. 
  • One year wanted to get me clothes for Christmas and asked what my pants size was. When I told her, she was shocked and said, "Oh my gawd! Are you proud?"
  • Is a believer of most commercial gimmicks, and when trying to convince me I should try something, her words often quote the commercial (and I don't think she's aware she's doing it).
  • Is not an animal person by any means and always made off-color jokes about my cat which I would tell her I didn't think were funny, that they hurt my feelings as well as upset me, and I would greatly appreciate it if she stopped making them. She would say okay... and then five minutes later or the next time we spoke make another joke. (This is a staple theme of our relationship-dynamic.)
  • Waits up for me occasionally - not so much now but A LOT or ALL THE TIME back in the day - when I visit when I'm out with my brother and his family or some friends complaining it's late and asks where I've been. (Mind you, I'm in my 30's.)
  • Is extremely impatient and once grabbed my camera when I was video taping her to look at the screen at was upset that she didn't see herself. (I told her the video was still going, but she was still irritated.)
  • We went to see Disney's Tarzan and were sitting in my theatre sweet spot of dead center. When other people started coming in, she started bugging me about finding other seats. When I asked why, she commented on why there were so many kids. I looked at her dumbfounded and said, "It's a Disney movie."
  • Has the tendency to talk during movies, asking me all sorts of questions, leaving me to miss something important so when I can't answer her, she gets upset. Later I point out to her the whole "Silence is Golden" theatre motto, and she said, "But what I forget my question?" THEN IT WASN'T IMPORTANT TO BEGIN WITH!!! (She seems to be good with musicals though.)
  • More often than not randomly brings up sad/negative things from the past and is surprised when I either don't want to talk about them or get upset when she brings them up.
  • Once locked the window controls of the car when I was accompanying her on errands. It was cool out, and I wanted natural air. She told me to use the A/C, and when I asked why, she commented how she heard about gangs nearby, and wanted us protected if they shot at us. I then informed her that the glass was "shatter" proof, not "bullet" proof.
These are just many examples of what I have to deal with. 

I've been told that I should just let it go with her. That she's going to be like this forever and always, and I should just accept it, but I can't just treat her like an improv class and do the "yes AND..." thing. I kind of feel like it's that whole lying thing where you shouldn't lie since you're going to eventually forget the lie you told and then get all kinds of frakked up. My thing is - yes - I love her, but dammit if I'm going to cater to the crazy or take the blame about some shit that's not my fault - and it's not always minor stuff with her. 

I have commented to my mother many a time about what she said was wrong or if it hurt my feelings, and she doesn't seem to want to confront serious conversations - even though she wants me to confide in her. Instead she tries to shrug it off with an "okay okay," and I politely press saying, "okay mom, what are you sorry for?" Then she repeats that she's sorry. And I ask again, "Tell me why you're sorry." Then she gets all weird and says, "Fine, I'm a bad mother." And I tell her, "No one ever said that." She accuses me of saying it, and I remind her of what I said which is something silly like "No, I said I like chocolate, not vanilla." 

I will continue to follow the rule of being polite as I possibly can, but I'm a frakkin nuclear percolator, and I will eventually POP MY TOP! I hold out some hope that some of the things I (and others) have said to her sink in, and - regardless of age, etc - that she gets better with her social interactions, but damn it's not likely.

So yeah - I can be an asshole or bitch or whatever label you want to use, and yes - most of the time it's better to take the high road, but sometimes that's not really possible. 

When I was a kid? I got in trouble sure.

What did I get in trouble for? The typical things kids get in trouble for, but mostly for "talking back" - aka not confessing to something I didn't do, not agreeing with something I didn't agree with, or overall having a difference of opinion.

And I'll leave it at that.

Later my lovelies.

Have Goodness!

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