Write about the last disagreement you had with a friend or family member — from their perspective.
I don’t do disagreements. I had that kind of upbringing that dictates peace-in-the-home at any cost. We were never allowed dissent as children; were not permitted to dispute with our parents or to argue between ourselves. Childish squabbling simply raised a swift clip about the ear. Mother’s word was Law and woe-betide the child that crossed her. As a consequence I have never learned to handle argument and have steered clear of contention wherever possible. Marital strife simply reduces me to incoherence and tears. I do not have the tools for mediation,
Generally brow-beaten as a child, there have been few points in my life where I have been able and willing to stand up for myself. I did snap once. It was 1987. My mother still does not speak to me.
That was the disagreement that I have been attempting to see from the other perspective but I can’t.
You see, the other perspective is so warped that a normal individual finds it difficult to get a handle on.
I can understand the reasons for it, how it came about, why it cannot be shaken off, but I can never be able to get inside it and to view life from that perspective, because I did not live the life that shaped it. It was not a good life and it produced an emotionally crippled individual. Think of it like this – you can sit in a wheelchair for a day and sample some of the problems that a paraplegic experiences, but you cannot know how it feels to be confined to that chair, with all that implies, every single day of your life. Try as you may, you just can not.
Perhaps it was a case of having no control over her own life when she was young, so that now she seeks to control everything to the nth degree. But you cannot control people, certainly not adults. That’s how it all started… she was telling me what I must make my own daughter do, whilst I was maintaining the line that my teen-aged daughter should make her own life choices.
Anyway, my Mother’s perspective on me is seen through the wrong end of a telescope – to her I shall always be a small child, to be controlled and told what to do, what not to do. More of a tiny irritant or insignificant Lilliputian than a beloved Lillibet. So I imagine it went something like this:
Large end of telescope: She: Vicky must do (x)
Little end of telescope: Me: It’s her choice
She: (You cheeky little whippersnapper, how dare you answer me back!) How can she possibly know what’s right?
Me: She’s thirteen and old enough to make her own choices, I have advised her on what I believe is the best course of action, but she has to choose for herself.
She: (How can Vicky be old enough to know anything at all, she’s only your daughter and you are still a know-nothing child!) Nonsense! It is your job to make her do the right thing.
Me: It’s not my job to make her do anything at all
She: (How dare she – I know best!) You are no kind of mother at all and no child of mine
Me: (now in tears) (snapping) And while we are at it, I am a grown, intelligent and capable woman and perfectly able to make my own choices and advise my own daughter. I am not going to put up with you telling me what to do any longer and if you don’t like that, you can lump it. It’s ridiculous, being pushed around by my mother at my age. I’ll thank you to offer me some respect from now on and keep a still tongue between your teeth if we cannot see eye to eye.
Point of reference: Age = 34
She: (splutters and slams phone down)
Like I said, she never provided me with the tools to handle arguing. If she had, I might have conducted myself better.
Actually, I am not sure that I met the prompt – this dialogue still contains my perspective. I am sure that, whatever I actually said, all my mother heard at the other end of the telephone was wibble, wibble, wibble. I am not sure that she ever once listened to me in my whole life.