As adults, we have odd relationships with our parents. Few others have the power to reduce our wearied and wizened adult selves to the simpering, angry, victimized fifteen-year-olds we once were. I have such a relationship with my mom, who is so fearful of confrontation that she would not even confront me when I was a 17-year-old.
I have learned to read between the lines of her rhetoric to figure out what she’s really saying.
- “Just go to the justice of peace and do it.” You should definitely get married to reduce the number of reasons for which you’re going to hell by one. Also it’d make you way more normal.
- “She’s just a little girl!” Don’t punish my grandbaby! She’s so sweet, and I want to have to visit her in jail someday.
- “I wouldn’t stand for it.” Your domestic partner has far too long a leash.
- “You’re sneakier than I am.” You’re manipulative.
- “What do you want to do?” Please psychically glean what I want to do and make that your stated desire. I will be petulant otherwise.
- “I am always amazed at what you know.” I am always surprised when you show yourself to be above average, I’ve always thought of you as utterly average.
- “I’ve known it for years.” Thank you for finally coming around to my way of thinking, I hope one day you’ll also enjoy the ravings of Rush Limbaugh and become a proud member of the Tea Party.
- “You get that from me.” I would be much prouder of you if you exhibited more of my dysfunctions.
- “I wouldn’t have done it.” It would not have been adequately tough love of your dad and I to let you move in and help you with your daughter from the very beginning.
- “I thought you might say no, and I was going to ask if I could just bring Pearl.” You work too much and I like to have full control of the content to which Pearl is exposed. You definitely should not have explained black death to her in plain language.