Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Contrary Mary strikes again

We've been having a tough couple of days. The Girls has a tendancy to argue a lot on a good day, and her mouth is outrageous these days as a rule, but Geesh...how much do I have to take. She's taken to calling me Woman, as in "Woman, are you Stoopid?" or "Woman, will you stop annoying me?" I don't like being called Woman. I especially don't like being called a stupid Woman. Believe me, that isn't a truism. But it bothers me more than a lot of people because I was always told I was stupid by my bio-family. I come from a long line of smart people. My mother graduated from high school at 15 after skipping two years. My father was also bright in a scientific type way. All my siblings are smart as well. But in our family, being a daughter automatically meant that you were worthless. As a kid, I had no value. I was chubby (but never fat, even though they did horrible things to me regarding weight), I was the second girl and very unwanted, and they never let me forget it. My father didn't believe that girls deserved higher education, so they refused to pay for one cent of my college ed. When I graduated, my parents came out to the graduation not because they were proud, but because they didn't believe that I actually could graduate from college. They insisted on me getting my diploma so they could see the proof. They weren't proud, they were incredulous. Ditto for grad school.

So for me, being called stupid or dumb, even by a 13 year old with a nasty streak, brings up things that I just don't want to revisit. I hate being reminded of my shitty childhood. I'm not one those people who are paralized by the past. Eleven years of therapy definately helped me distance myself from the bad feelings. That and not having any relationship whatsoever with my parents since 1980. I keep the feelings very far down inside me because I need to protect myself in order to perform daily tasks without tears. This stuff makes me angry and sad and I end up questioning my intelligence, which is ridiculous. I'm smart, I know I'm smart, but when you have parents who tell you otherwise your entire childhood, that stuff just boils up inside me when the Girl calls me names.

We're working on it. I've talked to her therapist about it, and to our family therapist as well, but she forgets when she gets irritated and the insults start to fly. Either I need to learn some nice calming techniques or kill her. One seems like a better option than the other.
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Anonymous carrie said...

I hate being called stupid by nasty teenagers, and I don't even have the history you do. I don't know how you restrain yourself. I hope working with the therapist on this issue helps. Teenagers can be so insensitive and downright cruel.

20/9/05 5:24 PM  
Blogger nita said...

'woman'. ha! sorry...um, make her write you the nicest letter the next time she has a bad day. all the reasons she loves you, how great you are, favorite memory. then keep it in your pocket. when she starts, take it out. when she asks 'woman, what's that stupid piece of paper for?' you can say 'so i don't choke the life out of you. go away for 26 minutes.....'

lemme know how it works out :)

21/9/05 12:00 PM  
Blogger Belinda said...

Um, yeah. What she said. Even without the history behind the hurt, that is totally unacceptable child-to-parent interaction, IMO. I can't imagine asking my mom if she was stupid. I said once, in response to some idea I thought was ridiculous, "Are you crazy?" (It was just what kids were saying back then), and the response....well, let's just say I never did it again!

21/9/05 1:06 PM  
Blogger neener said...

Last year my 13 yr. old started to call me Woman, but in the nicest way. I actually liked it. Then he adopted his older brother's casual way of calling me Neen, or Nina -- and now he calls me that. I can't explain why, but it doesn't bother me. However, being growled at, ignored, yelled at or belittled by this child totally pushes my buttons.

22/9/05 8:55 AM  

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