Touchy feely

I got mad at my mum last night, because of a perceived misdemeanour that made me feel I was being treated like a child. I was still angry when I woke up, and struggled to own that in any positive way. My over-whelming urge was to sulk or lash out verbally, in order to punish my mother for making me feel upset.

It was only after I’d left to come home that the irony of this struck me. I don’t always notice how easily I fulfil an anticipated role – sulking in response to conflict with my mum was exactly what I used to do as a child. Or to frame it more pleasingly – if I want her to treat me as a grown-up, I’m going to have to do her the courtesy of acting like one.

Anyway, back to this morning. As it turned out, I was able to get something positive from my feelings, thanks to mum because she came to talk to me so that I wouldn’t leave in a bad mood.

This allowed me to say lots of things I somehow hadn’t found the time to mention before (for the past 28 years!). I told her about my feelings of defensiveness when compared with my sister, my conflicting desire for autonomy and support, my wish to communicate better with her &tc.

She didn’t have loads to say in return (it’s the sort of stuff that probably needs a bit of mulling, anyway) and I don’t expect the conversation to be the agent of any great overnight change, but I do thing it was a very important step in a healthy psychological direction.

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