Why do our parents irritate us so much!
Akenn asks: I really love my parents and they love me too but sometimes they bring out the worst in me. Why am I feeling this?
Hi Akenn –
What you’re describing isn’t just normal, it’s universal. It’s been true as long as parents have had children.
Think of it like a computer. If you got a completely unprogrammed computer, and started to program it, you’d give it certain orders, right? Like “When I push 3A, it puts out a beep” or “When I write out 1382721, it skips down three lines.” Right? So from then on, any time anyone pushes 3A or 1382721, that computer will do those things. Okay?
Well you’re the same way. You were born largely unprogrammed. And the programming started immediately. And all that data was entered by your parents!
Now everybody (yes even me) has qualities that can irritate or anger someone. Maybe someone has a slightly grating voice. Or gets upset in an annoyingly passive-aggressive way. Or loses their temper too quickly. Or even makes an irritating sound when they chew!
Now most people would just shrug off these qualities. “Big deal, I like being around _______, so I’ll put up with that about them.” But not when it’s your parents!
You see, when you were a little child, you saw them as perfect (the way I see Handsome, and he sees me). But as you got old enough to think for yourself, those qualities in your parents started to bug you more. But you still feel you should see them as perfect, as a good kid.
And when you mix those mild (or bigger) irritations with voices inside you saying you should see these people as flawless, you’re bound to get SUPER IRRITATED!
And then we get back to what I said about programming. Because now, while your friend’s parent will have some irritating qualities too, they don’t bother you nearly as much as your parents’ silly quirks do. And – and here’s the bad news – for the rest of your life, those weird things about your parents will keep showing up in other people (friends, coworkers, spouses!) and bug you even more!
And in the meantime, you correctly say they “bring out the worst in” you. What’s the worst? Oh intolerance, judgment, even cruelty.
And how do I know all this about you? Because, as I said before, this is true of EVERYBODY!
So what can you do about it?
Yes, as you get older, you’ll learn to accept your parents more, especially as you meet more people and learn more qualities that bother you. You see, your parents might chew too loudly, but someone else will really betray you, or rob you, or lie about you… and suddenly those qualities of your parents, which will always bug you, won’t seem like such big deals. And your parents’ great qualities – their love for you, the fact that they took care of you as a child, the qualities you share – like senses of humor or love of art or music or sports, whatever it is – will become more treasured to you.
So it’s going to be fine. All will be alright. Just try to take a deep breath when your dad turns that same turn of phrase he always does, or your mother cuts vegetables in that particular way. There will be a day, maybe not too long from now, when you’ll actually treasure the irritation!
Now I’m sorry I have to go, since Handsome’s calling me. In that same way he always does with that tone of voice that is so demanding and unfair and bothersome… the love of my life!
All my best,