feeling misunderstood

Posted on September 29, 2011

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Teenagers do not hold the monopoly on this………

–          I am not trying to ruin their fun if I want a fifteen year old to be home by midnight. I just need to know she is safe (and to sleep myself)

–          I am not being ‘stressy’ when I get cross about the fact that I have screamed SUPPER so many times my voice is hoarse. I simply want them to eat the food I have lovingly prepared while it is still hot. (I text now, its more efficient)

–          I am not ‘menopausal’ when I get irritated by the fact that all of the clean clothes which have been sitting on their floor for days get scooped back into the dirty clothes basket because they have been kicked about, tried on and then rejected, tossed back onto the floor.

–          I am not being ‘mean’ when I refuse to lend them my brand new shoes/top/dress. I just don’t want them to be trashed, smell of cigarettes or get ‘borrowed’ by somebody else. (so I hide things. As does their father. He hides his razor because otherwise it gets used on pits and legs, his belts -‘I only have a black belt and a brown belt and I NEED THEM BOTH’ he moans to me, but not of course to them – and if he could he would hide the radio in the bathroom because it always disappears into their bedrooms after they have had a bath, tuned to capital instead of radio 4)

–          I am not being ‘mean’ when I wont buy them new clothes, hire Wembley for a birthday party or book a skiing holiday. I simply have to earn the money to pay for things and they don’t.

–          And I am not being ‘mean’ when I insist on watching Channel 4 news instead ofAmerica’s Next Top Model. The news matters, they should know something of what goes on in the rest of the world outside their friendship group and I detest the lookist sexism of that show and say so. Even if that does mean I get labelled a ‘feminist.’

It’s tempting sometimes to stamp my foot petulantly like a teenager, to throw a tantrum, to ‘go out into the garden and eat worms’. But that would only lead to more accusations of being ‘stressy’, ‘menopausal’ or just plain ‘weird’.  It doesn’t matter how many times I labour over explanations for my behaviour, they just don’t get it. Or they don’t want to get it for then I will have won. It’s handy to have at least one scapegoat in the family – ‘I cant come to your house, or lend you this sweater because my mum is so MEAN she will go MAD’.

The only real reassurance comes from the knowledge that ‘feeling misunderstood’ is almost always harder for teenagers than it is for parents. But more of that next week in ‘Feeling Misunderstood 2’

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