Saturday, November 3, 2007

Experiment

After a day of hiding (belly ache) and thinking, I went down this morning to see my parents, drink some coffee and experiment. I just waited til they started telling me what to do (didn't take long) and instead of getting tense, I asked myself "why are you getting tense?"

In this case, the issue at hand was Prissy (their former dog)...she was too thin (she's always been thin) and I let her walk down without a leash (a calculated risk-I didn't feed her because I knew she'd be more likely to be lured).

So what was making me tense? I didn't like it that they were questioning my husbandry skills (Prissy was thin when she lived with them too) or my training experience. Not that either are that great, but neither of them has attended a dog class or worked with a dog beyond housebreaking and I devote quite a bit of time to said passtime.

Does what anyone thinks of my training or husbandry skills MATTER? Not really, but what my PARENTS think of me does. And that's it in a nutshell, I don't feel like they give me any credit for what I've accomplished in life.

Mom will brag about the 13 pounds I've lost, but never talk to anyone about my Master's Degree. What I've done professionally just isn't important to them. They are stuck somewhere in the 1950's so the lack of husband and the woeful outcome of my daughter is really all they see.

And if I look at me through their eyes, that's all I see. So my new mantra has to be "look through your own eyes".

5 comments:

Perriette said...

This is great. My parents are similar. When my 15 year old cat died this summer they asked me why all my pets die of cancer. No "I'm sorry" or anything. Actually, not all my pets have died of cancer but they all were really old. You should see their dogs, both fat and neurotic!

They have no interest whatsoever in my artwork, always make negative comments about my hair or clothes, etc. It is ridiculous! I told them to say something nice for once and so they said nothing! Well, at least them shut them up. Hahahhaaaa...

Michele said...

So did it help you to ask "why am I feeling so tense?" I know we talked about asking Why and I was hoping to try it out this weekend but it's been a MIL-free zone for days.

Debra Kay said...

It did help the feelings not to escalate in me. That sort of defensive reaction that is usually triggered went haywire. The other thing I'm going to practice is just to leave when it gets to be clear this is not a good day.

However something happened that was quite interesting-they went to see Uncle John and his TV wasn't working and I couldn't talk Daddy through it. So I got off my sickbed (dramatic aren't I) and went and fixed the TV, visited with John a bit and came home to make sure Mom was Ok. (She gets upset if John isn't well or his TV isn't working).

Instead of asking me what I did to fix the TV Daddy starts in on me with John needs to go to the store and blah blah blah. And Mom was pretty much the same way, except she wanted to know how I thought John was.

Now, seeing John always triggers fear in them-the boogy man of old age and infirmity. So, maybe some of the "anger" we are seeing in our elders isn't directed at us, it just feels that way.

Perriette, join us in our little club of misunderstood women. In addition to being artistic, I have a lot of tattoos-Oklahoma was the last state to legalize tattoos and that was only last year. (I didn't get the tattoos in Oklahoma).

What I'm learning is that for some of us, our parents leave us slowly-they are still on this earth, but no longer who they were. Or as some people have written, the are "more of who they were" as they age.

Michele, enjoy the MIL free zone. I'm thinking I need to instigate an elder free zone one day a week.

Mim said...

Oh my - I can also relate. I have a very successful career and a full life, but my folks tend to focus on weight and the fact that I don't have kids. Surprisingly my mother is also very proud of my artwork and while I enjoy that attention and focus - part of me suspects that making pretty art is a more acceptable outlet for a woman.
I truly expect (altho I won't know it) that after I am dead, my nearest and dearest (whoever is left) will comment on my weight. I can just hear it now..oh well, she died of cancer but doesn't she look wonderful? She's lost so much weight!
Rant over!

Debra Kay said...

Mim, judging women by their weight is just another way of keeping us cunts. There, I said it. But we won't be free until we free ourselves.........silence. I'm not really sure what the next step is, but I was on a roll there for a minute.

Monique, one of my favorite stars, is very uplifting with her thoughts on weight-she manages to say it's ok to be fat without making you feel bad if you're not.

Ladies, thick or thin, we just got to stick together and quit dissin on each other for our body shape choices.