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.