Sunday, December 27, 2015

Raising Ourselves

My sister emailed upset with herself because she raised her voice to our mother.

They disagreed. My sister did what she wanted to do. My mother told her she had wasted money. My sister blew her top.  My mother is 93. My sister is 65.  They’ve had this dynamic for as long as I can remember.

Except that my mother used to be in the power position. And it used to be my mother who raised her voice – which still makes no sense – because why would somebody in the power position raise her voice.  She has already won.  There is nobody to impress.

But this is the dynamic we were raised with.

Our father used to insult people he disagreed with. Particularly his family.  I remember trying to do the same, as a teen.  It didn’t work. It just got my father madder, and he would slap my face.

Again, he already had the power. And he had the money. The decision was already his.  So why the raised voice? Why the hitting?  So he didn’t like it that I disagreed with him.  My opinion had no influence on any decisions.

And now, my mother’s opinion has no influence on my sister’s decisions.

What’s really crazy is that this dynamic of anger, after one has already won.

We didn’t like it as children.  But it is the way we were raised.  It seems like the expected behavior, even though it hurts.  Cancelling our childhood training is probably the hardest thing we ever need to accomplish.

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