Wanna Be My Friend?

Let it be said that my mother’s frustrated me.

I wasted a lot of time arguing with her, which was a waste of time, I now accept, but I daresay I doesn’t take whit away from her track record of cowardice, negligence, and dishonesty over the course of a generation, which drastically undermines her fundamentalist evangelical values.

Incident no. 1: My brother Chris pressed me to sell him my Chris Carpenter baseball card so he could burn it. I sold it to him only after he promised he wouldn’t, but he did so anyway, and when I tried to go to my mother about it, not the least because we weren’t supposed to fight, yet got predictably shot down, invoking my intent.

Look: The Bible says to let your “yes” be yes, and your “no,” be no, and throwing motive into the mix complicates things. Her rules put me between a rock and hard spot, and left me no way to escape the apparent contradictions. I suppose that her roleplaying things out would have helped, but not punishing Chris felt an awful lot like punishing me, because here I am, using rules like a tool, and then I find the buttons don’t work.

Basically, my anger sprang from the frustration of her sheer erraticism: Why make rules you never enforce, anywho? Laziness? Apathy? The color yellow, or just plain intellectual dishonesty?

The next vexing incident was even worse. Circa 1993, Chris and I were joshing around in the back seat, like teenaged bros do, telling each other to “shut up,” and she, using a tone of voice which struck me as unprecedented, baned the term, and proceeded to never, ever, ever enforce it, driving me crazy for over a decade because I kept trying to get her to.

That said, let us still for a moment empathize with her.

She was going through menopause.

She is, after all, only a woman.

And, as of now, she is, quite literally, not the boss of me.

As my prime parental authority, I wanted only two things out of her from my childhood to my teen years, and that was consistency, and a willingness to take responsibility for inconsistencies. She didn’t do that sufficiently, and ergo my family life suffered.

Constructively, here are some principles to keep in mind, if you ever wish to be friend/collaborator with me, today, respective of past lessons learned:
1. Recognize my motives as never an excuse to evade, ever.
2. As much as I want to beat the truth outta ya, you can do the same to me; the golden rule is both club and scepter.
3. I expect consistency, not perfection, but sloppiness is anathema. Defend apathy at your own peril.
4. Passive, unilateral disengagement from an argument (and I’m using it in the bestest, most positive, friendly sense of the word) will be seen as cowardly and passive aggressive, a sign that you would rather bolt and run than man up and admit you’re cornered. Outright aggression or submission would be more welcome.

So there you have it, the way to avoid relation pitfalls with me, and by all means feel free to gimme a taste of my own medicine.


About Noitartst

You wanna know about me? Oh, I think, write, and fury. I'd say that about covers it.
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4 Responses to Wanna Be My Friend?

  1. Danielle says:

    As Bill Cosby said, (and I paraphrase), “parents just want quiet.” It’s about the truest thing about parenting. So no, she didn’t sound consistent after framing the rule, but at the time, she got you guys to stop griping at each other, and that was likely the point. I hope you can find the humor, or at least the truth, in that, ’cause I don’t plan on arguing over it. Finding your blog interesting btw.

    • noitartst says:

      I actually have a good relationship with her, but I said that to clear the air.

      I can genuinely empathize with her, but it’s hard when you’re drowning emotionally. I was surprised that I wasn’t more angry writing about it than I was, and it caomes down to hope. I’m more confident, now, that I can reach out to others than in the past, and that’s a big difference.

      That said, she still oughtn’t to have interfered.

    • Sean+ says:

      I have never been a parent, but I was a live-in uncle for several years, and I quickly learned the truth of the “all I want is quiet” statement. I had become my mother.

      Here is a tangentially related story: One day my niece was clicking a ball point pen click click click click click click. Click click. Click click click. Click click click click. I said, “Please stop that. That pen only has so many clicks in it.” My sister was in the next room and she shouted out, “Mother! When did you show up?” Sure enough, “That (fill in the blank) only has so many (fill in the blank)s in it” was one of those things I had promised as a child I would never say to anybody. And there I was, saying it. All I wanted was quiet.

      • noitartst says:

        My frustration wasn’t about what she did or wanted, but rather the how. She wasn’t willing to deal with the implications of her logic, wasn’t willing to negotiate, unwilling to deal with the impact, and therein lay the problem.

        Instead of banning us to shut up, she should simply ordered us to do the same thing, and was therefore sloppy.

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