Question:

Hello,

First off, I want to say I love your site and appreciate your clear-mindedness, which is why I'm writing. I'm very frustrated about a personal matter in my life and I don't know how to feel about it. I always try to be patient and reasonable, but lately it's gotten the best of me. Anyway, it's in regards to my mother. Since I was young I believe she's never really stood on my side or defended me as her child. Of course, I expected to be corrected when I was behaving badly, but this is not what I'm referring to. I'm not going to go into detail about all the incidents, but basically, she never really defended me from others, even my own father who was often cruel and beat me with a heavy hand as a child. Sometimes I wonder if perhaps she isn't just a lonely woman. My father is a cold, unsociable man who doesn't know how to carry on a normal conversation. She often attempts to speak to him with no luck. It seems almost as if she is quick to side with anyone who might give her attention. Not that she's a crazy attention-starved woman, but it's what I've noticed. She also interrupts when I am speaking to someone. For example, at church and will stand in front of me, as if to block me from view. I have confronted her about this and she says she doesn't realize she's doing it. As another example, on my birthday last year, she asked me if many people had really called me to congratulate me and I said no (it's not a big deal to me), and she seemed pleased about it. There was actually a satisfied smirk on her face. She also seems pleased to hear if a relationship with a friend doesn't last for whatever reason. These are just a tiny sample of behaviors that both puzzle and frustrate me.

Anyway, I've gone over this repeatedly in mind, looking at it from all perspectives, hers and mine, but I'm still very frustrated. If anyone should be there for you it's your family, but I often feel hostile toward my parents. I don't want to feel angry, but I do. I've prayed and tried to reason this away, but it's hurtful to feel that even your own family lacks loyalty toward you. I am no angel, but neither am I some vile miscreant. I just don't understand this woman or her motivations. I am sorry to write such a long letter. If you could offer me some insight, I would really appreciate it.


Answer:

Just because two people create a child between them, it doesn't make them into good parents or even good people. Giving birth to a child doesn't change a person's moral status or abilities. What does change are a child's view of his own parents.

When you are a child, your parents are wonderful because that is all you know. But generally by the teenage years we come to realize that our parents are flawed individuals -- just like us. It can be very disappointing. The real problem is that the expectations are not sound.

You've come to realize that your parents are not the greatest in the world. So? They did manage in their bumbling to produce a pretty good daughter. There is no rule that parents are always loyal to their children. It is what often happens, but it has never been a guarantee.

The hostility comes because you want to push them into being something they have chosen to become. You don't have that control and so anger arises. Instead of focusing your energies on what you cannot change, you have the chance not to repeat the same mistakes your parents made. You can raise a family in a good environment.

Meanwhile encourage your parents to improve and accept the fact that ultimately their life is their choice.