Sunday, November 21, 2004

It's easy to get mad with those you trust

This is an excerpt from the book,  The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants by Ann Brashares. (p.137). A teenager is talking to her mother.

"I am mad at Dad," Carmen announced, half into the quilt.

 "Of course you are." 

Carmen flipped onto her back. " Why is that so hard for me to say? I have no trouble being mad with you."

" I've noticed that."

Carmen's mom was silent for a while, but Carmen could tell she has something to say.

"Do you think it's easier to be mad at people you trust?" her mom asked very softly.

I trust Dad, Carmen was about to say without thinking. Then she tried thinking. "Why is that?"

"Because you trust that they'll love you anyway."


It is so easy to get angry with those you love and trust the most because in the end you know that they will not hold your anger against you. They will not carry a grudge and will forgive you no matter what. They love you unconditionally.  Likewise, it is easy for people who love and trust you to forgive your transgressions because they know you have good qualities which more than make up for your ocassional peevishness.  

As a mother of two teenagers, I learned that I am an easy target for my children's anger because they know I love them. They can be ugly with me and they can unload their angst on me because they know I will still be there when their explosion abates.  Once this realization hits me, I no longer took any of my children's anger personally. It took me a while to learn this lesson.  I still am not very adept at it. What I mean by that, is my response to their anger is still not on auto-pilot, I have to think and breathe deep, then think about the proper response.  I no longer get angry when they are angry because I know now that I do not have to personalize their anger.  They are venting their fear and anger on me because they know I will understand and I will not reject or abandon them for it.

Teenage years is often a very hard and confusing time for a lot of children.  They come face to face with challenging situations everyday. Some of these situations call  for hard decisions.  Some of them involve negative feelings such as rejection, discrimination, and jealousy.  This is the time when they begin realizing that life is not fair and some people are not fair.  It is also the time when children have to try things they never tried before and they have to make difficult choices. They feel embarrased about a lot of things. They feel guilty about their bad judgements. They are their own worst critics and some of their peers help in adding destructive criticisms to the mix.  On top of  these challenges and barrage of negative feelings, their desire to be independent make them shy away from seeking their parent's advices and opinions.  Teenagers often get angry at the most vulnerable times of their lives.  They want you to care. They want you to help them fix what is bothering them but they do not want to ask for your help because that will make them feel inadequate and immature.  

 My children are my teachers. They taught me a lot of things about myself and the lessons are ongoing.  Someday, if Iever become a wise old woman, I will owe a lot of my wisdom to my children. Motherhood is a life transforming event. I thank my children everyday for making me want to be a better person.  I am far from being enlightened or evolved. I am a continuous work in progress.

1 comment:

chatzeekay said...

WOrk in progress is proper term and yes We realize many things . How we handle things because of things. You read my mind on this entry for sure great entry with much feeling