Anyone else have a mom whose favorite phrase is “I told you so?” GAH I want to rip her face off every time she says it. It makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Really Mom? Why do you have to be so judgmental? I often feel like my mom is my worst critic; always judging my choices and saying that she could do better than I … she always “knows better.” I began to feel like she wasn’t a safe person to share things with … all she did was judge and point out what I was doing wrong.
This past year has been rough for Jaden … like really rough. He’s been struggling with life stuff that kids shouldn’t have to worry about. We’ve been going to therapy for two years now trying to work on this and we’ve reached this place where he thinks I don’t love him. When these feelings started coming out I was irritated. Seriously kid? I give you everything! I fought like hell to bring you into this world, you have been the center of everything for me and you have the guts to say I don’t love you? Really?
I decided to bring my mom to one of our therapy appointments. My therapist was a little surprised when we showed up together, and then I laid it all out for her. Look, I can talk to you about how I see the situation until I’m blue in the face, but it’s not helping. We aren’t making progress. Jaden and I just keep fighting more and more and I’ll do whatever it takes to make it better.
So we sat and we talked. Mom had a few good jabs and the therapist picked up on it right away. “Mel, you didn’t really like what Mom just said.” Ummm no I didn’t really but I know she loves me so I need to just sit and wrestle with it until I can sort it all out. After each wrestling match, I found a piece that I could say, “Yeah, ok, this part is probably true, I just don’t want to have to admit it.”
It took my divorce to give me a wakeup call … when the weight of my “I knew better” outweighed my mom’s “I told you so.” For the first time, I saw how many people care about me … like really care about me. When they were all “judging” my decisions, they were really telling me what I already knew to be true, I just didn’t want to admit it. My family loves me so much, they are willing to step in and tell me the truth even when it’s not what I want to hear. They are looking out for my best interest, not just looking to make me happy. I call these people in my life, my “truth tellers.”
Whenever my “truth tellers” share something that bothers me, I need to sit and wrestle with it. I allow myself to marinade in the conversation. Let it soak in. What you said hurt but I know you wouldn’t say this to just be spiteful. Where is the truth in what you said?
I started to realize that every time I wanted to rip my mom’s face off it wasn’t because she was judging me, it was because she was calling me out on something I was trying to hide.
So when you want to rip your mother’s face off, it probably has more to do with you and not her…