Today I experienced an issue I’ve had with my mom for several years, basically since I can remember. My mom…is a mom! It can be a problem.
A lot of people cannot understand the complexities of the relationship dynamic between a mother and daughter.
Even I can’t sometimes! When I took a communication theory course in college this type of relationship become way more comprehensible.
Relational dialectics is a communication theory defined in A First Look at Communication Theory by Em Griffin as:
“A dynamic knot of contradiction in personal relationships; an unceasing interplay between contrary or opposing tendencies.”
It’s like the “tug-of-war” type of relationship we have with people close to us. I won’t get any more into Comm Theory and nerd out (at least not any more in this post!).
Don’t get me wrong, my mom is one of my best friends. She is my #1 fan and the most supportive of my writing pursuits.
Today, though, I had to explain to let her know that she was being very critical.
She made 7 different critical statements about me within 20 minutes (or less).
“You’re not going to be able to keep your credit in tact if you don’t keep your stuff in an organized way.”
“That’s an “interesting” belt” *makes a face* (it was orange, in case you were wondering).
“Your guitars have some dust on them. You don’t take care of anything.”
This is the type of negative talk that perpetuates within someone, what makes people more insecure than they would ever be on their own.
Fortunately, as a teen I developed my own coping mechanisms for this type of behavior. In fact, if it were not for these pointed statements I wouldn’t have such tough skin.
It also worked out well in situations with “mean girls” (which, if you haven’t seen the 2004 Mean Girls movie you should look into it on a rainy day). Whatever stupid nonsense anyone could ever try to dish at me could not be worse than what I’d already heard at home — which is funny in a sad way.
I’m sharing this story because I’ve learned that a lot of women and girls I know have had similar experiences with their mother, no doubt my own mom would agree.
And that’s OK. It’s tough to be human and tough to forget about past pain, but when it comes down to it we need to forgive and recognize our own faults too.
I can so easily lash out with biting words, especially because I have the gift of remembering what people say practically verbatim; I’m a pro at using others’ words against them. That may or may not have been my old way of dealing with criticism.
Mentally I may still think that way, like in a case like today, but verbally I’ve found myself more capable of standing up for myself when facing an uncomfortable, unkindly situation.
TELL IT LIKE IT IS.
It’s tough when someone you love, a parent or a friend, hurts you. The reason it hurts so badly is because you trust them & love them so much! In certain situations it may be feasible to try to tell yourself that you cannot give others the power to hurt you, but more often than not you will hopefully have the opportunity to make it clear that you have been wronged and/or let them know they are not treating you well.
Sometimes, like today, it will not be taken well BUT I feel better knowing that I opened up my mouth to share how I felt as opposed to letting the hurt fester and/or trying to ignore the situation altogether.
At the end of the day, my mom is still my mom and I love her! Despite our occasional disputes I know she’s got my back and has my best interests at heart.
Plus, we later split some green tea ice cream ❤
Does anyone out there have a similar experience? Perhaps you disagree? Any guys out there who kind of know what I mean? Just curious!