don’t you dare use that tone, young lady!

This is going to be an awkward post. I’m going to call myself out on something that’s been really bothering me. I figure that maybe if I shame myself on the internet, it’ll jump-start some action. That has been known to work.

I don’t like my tone when I talk to my parents sometimes. I think I need to stop using it. But it keeps happening.

I remember even as a kid, being over a friend’s house and getting annoyed because she was being rude to her parents. It’s one thing to have a private argument or disagreement, it’s another thing entirely to snap at a family member repeatedly in public.

Mom!” my friend would snap. “Go away! We’re busy! God! Obviously.”

And it wasn’t just her.  I had so many friends who would adopt a bratty, whiny, frustrated tone with their parents. With their siblings, too, but mostly with their parents. In college, hanging out at a friend’s house, she was still using that tone. She was squabbling endlessly with her mom, who seemed innocuous and friendly to me. Her mom would leave the room, hands up, backing out like she was trying to placate someone with a gun. No sudden movements. Maintain respectful eye contact (“I hear you, honey. I’m listening to your words!”)but adopt a subservient posture.

“She just doesn’t get it,” my friend told me, explaining as she flung open the refrigerator. “This goes way back.”

What? You being mean to her?

I nodded, confused.

 

As a kid, I was really close with my parents. I still am. I wrote these obnoxious entries in my journal about how much I loved them. When I was reading old journals aloud to Bear a few weeks back, at my parents’ house, he was like, “Are you even being serious right now? What thirteen-year-old kid writes this kind of stuff about their mom?”

He was talking about yet another declaration of my undying admiration of her strong-mindedness and awesome talents.

By the time I was fifteen or so, the tone of my entries about my parents started to shift. Suddenly, they were pissing me off all the time. I am PISSED OFF. Who the HELL DO THEY THINK THEY ARE?!! Bastards. I asked for ONE THING. I don’t understand why me going on the road trip with Jenna would be a problem. She is a safe driver and it’s ONLY to New Mexico. That’s not even California. That’s not even across the whole country. I mean COME ON, PEOPLE. She knows this amazing guy there who builds shelters out of abandoned cars (he has an amazing story. He used to be a rock star I think. He is her aunt’s friend’s friend, from when her aunt’s friend joined that cult, which actually was fine) and if we stay for the whole summer we could have our own shelter and also probably go on a spirit quest in the desert by ourselves. Jenna says my spirit animal is the ocelot. I definitely agree. Fuckin’ Mom and Dad.

I ranted in my journal in part because if I used that tone in real life with my parents, they would not listen to it for more than a few seconds before they got angry.

“WHAT did you just say to me?”

“I said you’re not being a good parent! I should be able to go on a road trip!”

“You’re not going on a road trip for the summer with some strange man I’ve never met before. There’s no question. You can figure out something else to do with your time. I’m not going to discuss this with you again.”

Yup. The end.

Unlike my friends’ mothers, who backed away slowly, my mom leapt forward. She wasn’t afraid to call me out in front of my friends if it seemed necessary. And my dad was even worse.

Honestly, I’m thankful for that now. Mostly. Yes. I think I am.

But a weird thing happened when I eventually grew up and moved away and had my own life. I could use that bratty, snappy tone, and my parents wouldn’t call me on it. I mean, I never said anything terrible. I never called them to say, “You suck!! You’re the reason I have so many problems!” or anything. I don’t think those things. I think my parents are great.

But, strangely, I found myself whining a little more over time. When I was home for a weekend, I would get moody and withdrawn. I would complain about something stupid. My parents’ home became my space to have a tiny meltdown. I would find myself finding ways to avoid unloading the dishwasher. Even though I unload my own dishwasher all the friggin’ time. I never wanted to help in the kitchen. Even though I cook most days. I was reverting to being a kid. A sullen, frustrated teenager, to be precise. The teenager I actually didn’t get a chance to be very often when I was a teenager. The teenager I try very hard not to become in my everyday adult life.

But let’s not get into the psychoanalysis. The point is, I became sort of bratty with my parents as an adult.

And going on this family vacation that we just returned from brought it all out in the most unflattering ways.

my parents on vacation:

me:

I could hear myself whining, and it felt like I was listening to someone else. Someone with less manners than I imagine I have. Someone who clearly has not developed the ability to prioritize correctly. Someone who needs to take a chill pill, like, yesterday.

“MO-om!” I yelped, in the car with her and my brother’s girlfriend. “What are you DOING?! That’s the WRONG way. God. Can’t you see that sign right there?!”

“Oh, you’re right, honey,” said my mom complacently, not wanting to start a fight with another grown woman, I assume.

I huffed briefly.

My brother’s girlfriend sat there silently, probably attempting to make herself as small as possible.

I tried to pull myself together. “The beach was so pretty today!”

“I loved it,” said my mom. “We should go back and watch the sunset.”

“I think that’s pushing it,” came my bratty voice. “The drive is pretty long, don’t you think? Especially since you keep getting lost. Don’t you think we’re all tired? We can’t do everything every day, you know.”

What the hell was wrong with me?! I felt like I was floating above the wreck inside the car. I was embarrassed. I wondered what my brother’s girlfriend was thinking. She probably was thinking something along the lines of, “What a friggin’ douchenozzle! Her mom is being totally normal, and she’s just bratting it up all over the place. Hell, I have a better relationship with MY parents, and they’re not even NICE. What a loser. How is her brother so much better than her? Also, what is with her hair? Is that, like, some kind of statement she’s trying to make or something? SO MANY ISSUES.”

Kidding. I’m almost positive her parents are really nice.

Anyway, I couldn’t seem to stop.

But I need to stop. Because I don’t want to be a brat. I don’t want to use that tone with my parents. I don’t know why it’s happening, but I know it makes me sound like the worst kind of child. And I don’t want to be a child anymore. I want to be a thoughtful, considerate, confident, poised woman who always has good posture.

Or at least just someone who talks in a nice, normal voice to her parents. Who she loves a lot. That would be a start.

*  *  *

Do you ever find yourself reverting to a child-like state with your parents? If you are still a kid, how do you talk to your parents? If you ever got liked this, noticed it, and fixed it, TELL ME HOW! Maybe just being aware of it is a start? Let’s hope so…

Unroast: Today I love the way I look in one of those little cardigan sweater things from the Gap. I never know the names for different types of clothing.

A short hair reader pic! This is becoming a bit of a theme. This is Jennifer. She says I inspired her to cut her hair and dye it. Short hair revolution! I think she looks beautiful and her husband is super cute (although I can’t take any credit for his hair).   :-)

39 Comments »

Kate on June 19th 2012 in family

39 Responses to “don’t you dare use that tone, young lady!”

  1. Aurora responded on 19 Jun 2012 at 1:11 pm #

    I’m guessing that there is some correlation between “how bratty we felt we could act to our parents then” and “how bratty we act now.” I was one of those kids who felt like a horrible asshole if I so much as breathed a disagreement with my parents, and then we started fighting more in college than we ever did before, because I suddenly felt like the world wasn’t going to end if I argued with them. They weren’t Right all the time. I’m not sure if this is a good thing or not, but I’m guessing everyone needs their Teenage Rebellion Time, even if it happens ten or twenty years late. It’s just a part of how people work in this day and age; we get a time for adolescence and trying to become our own people, instead of transitioning straight from kid to Responsible Adult when we hit puberty.

  2. Kimmy Sue Ruby Lou responded on 19 Jun 2012 at 1:13 pm #

    awareness is always the starting point…and practicing one’s assertiveness almost always begins at home…maybe incorporate more humor into the mouthiness…that goes a long way, i know :)

  3. Kate responded on 19 Jun 2012 at 1:19 pm #

    @Aurora
    Yeah, I can’t help but think it is some sort of weird version of teenage rebellion. But ugh! I wish that didn’t have to happen! So undignified! :-)

  4. Kate responded on 19 Jun 2012 at 1:19 pm #

    @Kimmy Sue
    Humor is the best.

  5. Melanie responded on 19 Jun 2012 at 1:21 pm #

    That couple is adorable. I just want to squeeze them!

    I remember talking that way to my folks. My dad did NOT put up with it. He was old school and would yell at me ’til I cried if I tried to cop an attitude. Today I’m grateful for that because I generally talk to all people with respect.

    Unless they do something horrible. But then I don’t adopt a whiney tone, I adopt a “You’re going to regret having said that” tone. But that makes me feel guilty ’cause I want to be able to just rise above. I’m working on it.

  6. Joy responded on 19 Jun 2012 at 1:22 pm #

    I think I get unfairly short with my mom sometimes, too. For something that seems totally obvious to me, like doing something on the computer, that just isn’t her thing. And when we’re back home with family, I think it is too easy to revert to being the child. The hard part is recognizing it and overcoming it. So good for you for recognizing it! I don’t know how to overcome it yet. It is strange sometimes being with family after living on my own for 10 years, all my younger siblings growing into adults in their own right. We all changed and it is hard to know how to be with each other now, and I think that carries over somewhat to parents as well. We all have to learn how to re-frame our relationships and act as essentially peers. I think it must be awkward for parents, too. Honestly, I still see my mom struggle with her relationship with her mom sometimes too. I suspect it just takes a lot of conscious effort and hard work on our part to be good grown-up kids, and a mutual willingness to work on an evolving relationship.

  7. Kate responded on 19 Jun 2012 at 1:23 pm #

    @Melanie
    Thank you for always commenting on the reader pics. It’s really cool of you!

  8. Kate responded on 19 Jun 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    @Joy
    This is really thoughtful. Navigating these incredibly important, but always-evolving relationships is sometimes confusing and strange. How do you gracefully transition from a kid to an adult in your interactions with your parents, anyway?

  9. Also Kate responded on 19 Jun 2012 at 1:27 pm #

    Yes! I feel like once I moved out of my parents house I became a lot more balanced, more relaxed, less competitive and argumentative and a better listener. I am a totally different person than I was when I was 17 (this is good; I would be sad if I hadn’t grown at all).

    But then I go home for holidays and it’s like I’m 17 again. I feel off-balance constantly – angry, easily-provoked, irritable, easily made jealous. Maybe it’s just readjusting to family dynamics (we get really competitive and I often feel the need to prove myself to everyone), but I get that watching-myself-in-horror feeling a lot. Who is this person occupying my body? Why is she so angry and so determined to be right all the time?

    I hope at some point I can figure out how to be my authentic (and, I think, much nicer) self at family gatherings.

  10. Kate responded on 19 Jun 2012 at 1:31 pm #

    Also Kate
    exactly! I also get more sensitive and defensive around my family. My feelings get hurt more easily, over stuff that doesn’t matter. And I keep thinking, “I’m better than this! I’m nicer than this!” But apparently not. At least, not there.

  11. Piper Alexander responded on 19 Jun 2012 at 1:34 pm #

    This post makes me feel so… normal… now. I do this with my Mom and I feel so guilty about it afterwards, but I keep doing it. I’ve found that just being more aware of it going forward has helped. I will bite my tongue more often. Kimmy Sue had a good suggestion that I use as well, which it to put some humor into it. Once you start making these small efforts, they become easier and before you know it, you’re speaking to your parents like a normal adult! Good luck with this, and again, thanks for the post :)

  12. Kate responded on 19 Jun 2012 at 1:35 pm #

    @Piper
    Making people feel more normal (in a relieved way) is one of my favorite things ever. Probably because I love it when people make me feel that way. So hooray!

  13. Rachel F. responded on 19 Jun 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    This happens to me all the time. I’m actually at home right now, and I’m fighting myself constantly. Here’s what I think it is: In our daily lives we always have to behave a certain way, so being with our parents, as an adult, affords us a safe place to behave horribly with the comfort of knowing our parents will love us unconditionally anyway. It’s a bad habit, but if you’re in your twenties, it’s easy to still feel like a kid when you’re near your parents, instead of remembering to behave like an adult.

  14. Sarah the Violinist responded on 19 Jun 2012 at 1:54 pm #

    I’ve been out of the house for almost twenty years (except for summers in college), and I STILL catch myself acting like a petulant teenager towards my mom (not so much my dad). I’m really glad you posted this admission, as I’ve always figured I was just a beastly daughter, not *normal.*

    Interestingly enough, what’s helped me start to snap out of it has been the therapy I’ve been working through for the last year to combat my eating disorder (mostly recovered. yay!). Once I started being nice to myself (as in not starving, not spending three hours a day at the gym), it became a lot easier to be nice to other people. You seem like a genuine, kind, and self-aware person, and I am in NO way suggesting you have issues requiring therapy! That’s just how it worked out for me. :)

    Really, I just take comfort that these difficulties are just a part of being human. As a friend of mine with similar issues likes to say, “If your parents aren’t driving you crazy they aren’t doing their job.”

  15. Courtney responded on 19 Jun 2012 at 1:55 pm #

    I go through this too! I always feel like an ass after. I don’t know when this pattern started, since I didn’t really fight with my mom much when I was younger. (She who dispensed curfew regulations was not to be messed with.) Now I’m 27 and I just get so snotty with her sometimes. My dad too.

    Another pattern is my brother and I fighting. We fought constantly as kids, but as adults we’re really close. Somehow though, every time we visit my dad we starting getting petty and arguing about stupid things. We once even discussed on our trip there that we needed to not fight this time. Even though we’re conscious of it we can’t seem to stop.

    Family can bring out the best/worst in everyone. Good luck to you!

  16. Zellie responded on 19 Jun 2012 at 2:45 pm #

    It starts with your thoughts, and Sarah the violinist has the idea. You think mean things about yourself and maybe about others who offend you. Pick your favorite role models for respect of others including pets and children and practice a lot, especially on yourself.

  17. margosita responded on 19 Jun 2012 at 2:52 pm #

    I just spent (almost) a year living with my mom again as an adult and there were more than a couple nights I just holed up in my room with my laptop feeling EXACTLY like I was an adolescent again. I JUST NEED SOME SPACE, OMG, DON’T YOU DARE KNOCK ON MY DOOR!

    At the same time, when things were really hard for me, I’d still sort of unload on her. I felt really vulnerable for a long time and the child in me just wanted my mom to FIX IT. Not that she could, really. But I really WANTED her to, and would act like a snot when she coudn’t wave a magic wand and solve everything.

  18. Caitlin responded on 19 Jun 2012 at 2:57 pm #

    I have a huge problem with this as well. I cry very, very infrequently in my adult life – and much more often than not, I cry with happiness and gratitude for my life. BUT when I’m around my mother, I cry bratty, teenage tears that leave me feeling helpless and her staring at me like I’m a maniac. I’m not exactly sure what does it – we did go to therapy together and she admitted that I’m so much like her that it’s hard for her give me impartial advice on life things because she feels like she’s talking to a younger version of herself. I just see that she can give compassionate, well-thought out advice to my two younger sisters, and everything she says to me is a lot more in the “tough love” model. I think we slip into this pattern when we’re together, which leaves me feeling much younger and incapable, and her feeling frustrated and cruel. BUT, this tough love advice is usually responsible for the happiness I have in my everyday adult life, so I can’t really hate on it! I think we’re still just in the tender period of separating entirely from one another. I just got married a few months ago and we made it through with relatively few blow ups, which was felt like a relief.

    Clearly, I think about this dynamic a lot :)

  19. Sue responded on 19 Jun 2012 at 3:11 pm #

    Well, here’s a different perspective which I hope will help. I’m the mother of a snotty young adult. My son was grown, married and had a child and was still talking to me like he was a teenage girl! (including eye rolls). Oddly we were pretty close when he was a teenager and he seldom talked to me that way when he was younger. Who knows what triggered this new behavior, but it had become so annoying to the people around him that when we visited we would often plan outings with out him. His older sister started calling him on it. His best buddy called him on it. His father (my husband) talked with him. But the one that really sunk in was when his wife started telling him when he was being foolish. It still happens occasionally, but not nearly as bad. I know it’s not about me, but there were many family visits that included many nights with me lying in bed with tears in my eyes and my husband reminding me that it wasn’t about me. I am a strong woman and am not one to take crap from anyone, including my kids. I don’t wait until the ”time is right”, I speak up and let you know right away. This was harder. Some damage has been done. I’m hoping that by sharing this perspective you might think of the damage that is occurring between you and your mom. If you speak to her with disrespect, do you think she is enjoying her time with you? Probably not. She loves you and all, but if you treat her poorly, she probably doesn’t like you much. Maybe talk with your Bear, ask him to help keep you in line. You’re at an age when your mom can really help you in the world. My daughter and I are becoming the best of friends (and she really WAS a snotty kid!) and it is a wonderful thing. We talk about everything. Don’t miss out on that kind of relationship with your mom.

  20. Maja H responded on 19 Jun 2012 at 3:12 pm #

    I get like this if I spend more than 4-5 days with my family, honestly. It is exactly like being 16 again, and it feels so so terrible! If I’m going to visit them for longer than that then it is completely vital to schedule apart-time :P

  21. Alpana Trivedi responded on 19 Jun 2012 at 3:14 pm #

    I have a different spin on this. My parents would say end lectures with statements like “And don’t you forget that!” or “That’s final!” I wanted to be a grown-up so badly at the time and my way of doing so was to use “grown-up” language, so I’d sometimes say those statements to them and all of a sudden my “tone” or “attitude” was a problem. “That tone” to me was the tone that only mom and dad were allowed to use and I felt that wasn’t fair. Fortunately, my parents weren’t really strict and most of our issues tended to be resolved by arguing back and forth (and usually with them backing down).

    Regarding acting my age, I go back and forth between acting like five or 65, but I’m told I don’t act like the 32-year-old that I SHOULD be acting like (never did care for the “shoulds”). I personally think we tend to adopt the whiny tone because it would be considered presumptuous to just use a confident “I’m-going-to-walk-in-there-and-take-what’s-mine” tone. In my workplace I run into a double bind with my higher-ups regarding this issue. I’ve been told that instead of asking for permission, I should just do something or say that I’m going to do it. But when I DO that, I get told “Did you just TELL me you’re doing this? Who do you think you are?” Alas, in the military, it’s hard to win at this.

    Around our parents, I guess to some extend we’ll always be their “babies” and it’s a combination of we might regress to being children/teenagers around them and they get to feel more like parents because of it.

  22. San D responded on 19 Jun 2012 at 3:23 pm #

    Going home we revert to the old movie we used to star in, with the same kinds of motivations, emotional responses and sometimes the same dialogue. Because I wasn’t close to my mom, it was easy for me, when I went home as an adult, to be congenial, like a house guest. To put it bluntly, she couldn’t push my buttons because she didn’t install them.

  23. Kate responded on 19 Jun 2012 at 3:25 pm #

    @San D
    That was so well-put.

  24. Kate responded on 19 Jun 2012 at 3:28 pm #

    @Sue
    I am SO SO sorry you’re going through this!! I hope your son gets the idea. I’m glad his wife is addressing it with him.

    Honestly, I’m embarrassed in front of Bear when I do this to my parents. It makes me feel like I’m not even old enough, let alone mature enough, to be someone’s wife.

    My brother read this post and called me to tell me he notices himself doing this too, btw. I hope reading this stuff helps verify that your son is probably not trying to hurt you in any way. It’s probably completely automatic. But I’m sorry anyway.

  25. Mindy responded on 19 Jun 2012 at 3:38 pm #

    This last weekend my mom was giving me directions to a house in front of my friends. She was making driving motions with her arms as she explained it to me, and I said, a bit snarkily, you don’t have to DRIVE, mom. I feel bad about it now. I’m 37. I should be able to handle my mom being, well, momish.

  26. Janet T responded on 19 Jun 2012 at 4:16 pm #

    As a parent of a 21 year old daughter and a 25 year old son, I think what you are experiencing is normal. We parents always want what is best for our kids and so we, as Sarah the violinist’s friend said, “Tend to drive you crazy”- it is our job to push you towards better things. Also part of our job is knowing when to back off- the hardest part, because we have been there, done that and are trying to help you not make the same mistakes we did. Your response to your parents is just part of a pattern you’ve developed to ward this off- but it sounds like your mom is a step or two ahead of you on this and has given up trying to get her point across- she has chosen to have a peaceful relationship with you. For a parent it becomes wanting an adult, harmonious relationship. Parenting is not the first and foremost thing now, so you have to start viewing both parties as adults- and remember who you are when you are with your friends and be that person with your parents too.

  27. Loren responded on 19 Jun 2012 at 4:47 pm #

    I feel the need to reiterate that you look amazing in this bathing suit.
    I don’t fight with my mother so much anymore, but I do find myself reverting to my old bratty ways when I interact with my older sister. I think part of the problem is that we are very similar. And I see all the traits in her that I do not like about myself. The occasional elitism, the inconsiderateness & the pushiness. Things that I probably wouldn’t notice, or would find endearing in a friend, but because she is my sister it’s like they are all magnified.
    Also I’m not sure we have redefined our relationship now that we are adults. I definitely have moved my mother more into the ‘friend’ category as we’ve aged. But my older sister still acts like my ‘older sister’.

  28. Rebekah responded on 19 Jun 2012 at 5:04 pm #

    It is pretty easy to revert to your old role in the family when you’re around them. It’s the same for us all. I try a little offense to avoid that. I’ll plan on doing the dishes (no dishwasher for us) or making dinner when I go over. It’s like a game. Can I make something really awesome for them? Can I do something nice for them that they won’t notice until I’m gone? Go over with a plan to do something they’ll appreciate. It becomes a habit then, that you know you’ll be doing something for them, not thinking about yourself the whole time. Just watch out that you’re not expecting a song and dance thank you. Another thing I’d try to do is apologize. Call yourself out to them. Not to us, we can’t hold you accountable. Let your parents know that you’re catching this yourself and you’re sorry. Again, be more interested in them. One of the reasons we’re quick to irritation as teens is that we’re so self centered. If you don’t focus on yourself so much, you won’t feel so entitled around your parents.

  29. Alice responded on 19 Jun 2012 at 5:19 pm #

    I love the reader picture, what a cute couple!

    I didn’t get along with my parents at all as a teen, until I left for college. That’s when I started to have a more adult relationship with them, and it has improved over the years (I’m 36). I think what really tipped the scales towards positivity was having children of my own.

    I have a theory on the teen-parent relationships. So many people treat teenagers (including their own) as second class citizens. You know, those snide little “jokes” about how they can’t wait for their kids to leave for college etc. Those comments aren’t funny, even to kids who know without a doubt that their parents love them. I know because that was me as a teen. They claim that by treating kids this way they are preparing them for the real world, or doing them a favor, or”being a parent not a friend.” But what they are really doing is treating a fellow human being who deserves their love and respect unkindly, and in a manner they wouldn’t dare treat a friend, and in the process doing lots of damage to that future relationship. I would say it is more surprising when adults easily segue into a good relationship of equals with their parents – it’s hard to just suddenly be adult friends with people who have, even in the name of love, treated you less than kindly.

    There is another way – there is a whole lot of space in between authoritarian parenting and permissive parenting. It is possible to parent in partnership, and then the transition into an adult relationship can be relatively seamless.

  30. Janet T responded on 19 Jun 2012 at 5:27 pm #

    Alice- my kids (21 and 25) still live with us (one moved out then came back 4 years later), and can as long as they want to, heck they can move in spouses and kids when they get there, we will make room…I really like who they are and enjoy their company. Or they will move out when they are ready to- their choice, not ours.

    My evil brother used to show people around the house and show them my nephew’s room and say “as soon as he turns 18 and moves out this will be the TV room”- while the kid was standing there- and he wonders why they do not have a relationship today
    sheesh

  31. Abby responded on 19 Jun 2012 at 6:00 pm #

    …Wow.

    Just…this is something I’ve actually been having a harder time with. I just finished my freshman year of college, and it’s definitely harder than I thought to get used to being around my family all the time. I changed a lot at college–for the better, I think–but coming back to a place where people still remember who you were and expect you to be that person can really start you backsliding into being that person.

    I mean, I almost ruined Father’s Day because of the bratty, rude way I was acting to all of my family (it doesn’t help that I get seriously hormonal/emotional at a certain point in the month). Afterwards, I felt so embarrassed and ashamed. Because yes, some of it wasn’t in my control—but I could have worked harder to control my ridiculously volatile emotions instead of yelling at the people around me and crying over a pile of laundry.

    It’s something I’m aware of, and I’m definitely trying to change it. Because I’m not your age, but when I am, I want to have a mature, respectful relationship with my parents. I don’t want to be stuck like I am now. So—I’ll work on it with you, okay?

  32. Candace responded on 19 Jun 2012 at 7:11 pm #

    Sometimes I find myself speaking in an annoyed tone to my parents and even sometimes my boyfriend. I think sometimes it is easiest to have that tone with the people you love the most(which is why it is weird I don’t also talk like that to my brother.) As for me I think I subconsciously tell my self they will love me no matter what.

    In order to keep from doing this I try to apologize when I notice myself doing it. I also take note of the way I was feeling at the time and try to address the real issue. For example if I am upset at something that happened at school I will address that emotion and find ways to fix the problem as oppose to taking it out on loved ones.

    ps. I just discovered this blog a few weeks ago and I absolutely I love it!!!

  33. melissa responded on 19 Jun 2012 at 7:23 pm #

    Ooh are you suggesting there is a correlation between conflict and journal writing? Did your friends keep journals? Did you keep your cool only because you didn’t need to vent out loud, or maybe because your mom doesn’t acknowledge rudeness?

    Interesting stuff.

    I don’t remember a lot, but I definitely didn’t appreciate my parents. I mean… they didn’t seem to want to be parents at all so how could I? But I don’t remember that particular tone. I also kept a journal.

    I had a friend who was pretty horrible with that tone. Her mum would ask an innocent question “Do you have the phone?” and it would be met with yelling and crying and accusations. I honestly found it quite bizarre. She didn’t believe in journal writing and thought they were just rude ways to complain about other people.

    Since moving out and meeting normal people with normal families, my relationship with my parents has changed slightly. We never speak (which is already standard) but when we do, I sort of stand up for myself now. Not that it does any good, really.

  34. Claire Allison responded on 19 Jun 2012 at 8:34 pm #

    I think Rebekah had a good comment there- to call yourself on it. My sister started calling me on this behaviour too, and finally I woke up one day and realized, holy crap, I’m being an asshole and I’m not okay with that. Now when I say something rude and then realize it was such I try to say “I’m sorry, that was rude, I don’t know why I did that” or something to that effect. Most of the time my mom or dad don’t really seem to register it, but my sister assures me that behind the scenes they’re saying better things about me than they were before I did that.

    I think I had a similar wake up call this past christmas when I stayed for an extended research trip for my thesis. I think bringing my work home and having something to focus on pulled me out of the regular family dynamic and made me realize I was behaving badly. So I’ve tried to make amends and certainly given other bystanders, like my sister, permission to call me on it when they see me do it. Maybe you and your brothers should develop something like that to help catch each other.

    Now if I could just figure out how to deal with my controlling, passive aggressive father-in-common-law…

  35. JessB responded on 19 Jun 2012 at 9:01 pm #

    I was super horrible to my family when I was in my late teens. Fortunately, my parents were amazing, and got me some counselling and I grew up and now things are great, but it can still be a bit of a battle some times.

    I find the best thing to do in situations like that is acknowledge what happened, apologise and move on. Occasionally I will find myself being really short and rude with someone I love, and I’ll make eye contact, and say ‘I don’t know why I said that with such attitude. I’m sorry about that. Can you forgive me?’ and they’ll usually say yes and we’ll keep doing whatever we were doing.

    For me, asking for forgiveness is the important part. And trying not to do it again.

  36. Rapunzel responded on 19 Jun 2012 at 9:36 pm #

    Hm, usually I can relate to your posts pretty well. Not so much on this one. I don’t think I was much of a bratty kid or teen. I had a very bumpy childhood which really should’ve turned all of us (me and my 3 siblings) into “troubled youth” or unsuccessful, looserish adults…but alas, as screwed up as the first 20 years or so of my life were, I turned out relatively okay and all my siblings are successful. And I don’t yell bratty things at my mom, whom I barely see (across the country) or talk to (we just don’t have much to say). *shrugs*

  37. Karen responded on 20 Jun 2012 at 2:28 am #

    This is something I found myself doing and really disliked it too. Its like an out of body experience, watching yourself create a trainwreck of a situation without seeming to be able to stop yourself.

    Have you heard of Transactional Analysis? It uses a parent/adult/child model to explain interactions. It really helped me to get an understanding of the situations when I was reverting to communicating as a child and forcing my parents into the parent role when actually it was time for some adult/adult relationships.

    Whatever, at least you know you are not the only one struggling with this so take heart, you are half way there to sorting it if you know you are doing it!

  38. Sheryl responded on 20 Jun 2012 at 11:38 am #

    Oh gosh yes. My fiance and I are in the process of moving in with my mother while we relocate and I see that attitude coming out of myself far more often than I’d like. (Although to be fair, it wasn’t completely out of the norm for her to get some attitude from me when we were just visiting either).

    I think there’s a big contradiction going on for me here with my perceived loss of independence – going from living on our own to in my mother’s house, but as part of a very adult relationship. It’s weird.

    The nice thing about doing this, and noticing that attitude in myself as an adult? The ability to own up to my brattiness and say “Sorry mom, that tone/comment/etc wasn’t called for” and be able to take responsibility that way.

  39. Rosi responded on 25 Jun 2012 at 5:20 pm #

    I have to tell you that I am baffled by so many people having no understanding of their very own behavior. I never went through this crap with my parents, and yet if any parents deserved it, it was them!! They were horrible parents and as soon as I turned 18 I left and never looked back. Initially, after moving out, I was giving THEM money and trying to help THEM out of there numerous predicaments, but eventually I saw it was pointless. I also never had any type of attitude of entitlement with them. I knew they only had my sister and I so we could be their domestic servants and make them look good in front of their friends. One of my mother’s favorite comments to people was, “I don’t need a retirement plan — that’s why I had 2 daughters, so they can take care of me in my old age.” And for the record, she was NOT kidding. She was dead serious, and doesn’t see anything wrong with having that attitude. Another line she used to tell everyone was, “I don’t need to buy a dishwasher, I already have a 2 legged one! Of course as soon as her daughters moved out, guess who couldn’t get to the appliance store fast enough, to get herself a dishwasher, even though now the amount of dishes needing to be washed, was cut in half.

    So I have to think, that what Rebekah said (in post #28) about having this attitude of entitlement with your parents, is the root cause to a lot of this nasty behavior. If you go for a visit with the mind set of doing something for them, that they may, or may not, notice until you are gone, is the best advice ever! To paraphrase JFK, “Ask not what your parents and siblings can do for you, but rather what you can do for them.”
    Ironically I have an 18 year old daughter who was a great kid until she turned 16-1/2 years old. Then she turned into the daughter from hell! There is no alcohol, drug or boyfriend influencing this behavior. I have to think its a combination of entitlement (she was an only child) and now that she is 18, feeling that she can treat me anyway she wants, without any accountability for her actions. You know… “Good old mom will always love me no matter what I do.”
    I have pointed out the nasty remarks as they’ve come out of her mouth, some of the time. Other times I just don’t feel like getting into it with her. But in all honesty, she is about to be completely purged from my life, if she doesn’t have a major attitude change very soon. I don’t have unconditional love, only God does, and I’m no where close to being like him. My love comes with the condition of respectfulness and kindness, just like she always got from me.
    I’d rather not have someone in my life, than to have someone who causes me unlimited amounts of pain and sorrow.
    Ironically, EVERYONE thinks she is the sweetest, kindest, most mature and thoughtful young lady they’ve ever met! So, clearly, she’s quite capable of doing much better!

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