Is it me, as she always claims?
“Don’t be so sensitive."
“Can’t you take a joke?”
“You can’t be seriously angry.”
“I guess I can never do anything right.”
When I was young, living at home, and still a potential ball of clay to be molded by her hands, it was more like,
“It’s all in your head."
“Don’t be a flake.”
“You’ll never accomplish your dreams that way.”
“Maybe we should check into counseling and medication for you.”
I am thankful that she sees I’m beyond help and only wants to get along now.
She is (was and always will be) an extremely sarcastic woman with a passive aggression and a sense of her own rightness in any situation (based on decency, not morality) that can cut you to ribbons before you even know you have a single boo-boo. The years might have dulled her razor-sharp attacks a little, but not much.
On the other side of the house, he was seriously in love with arguing but lacked the intellectual ability to win any battles without resorting to below-the-belt retorts. He would argue about anything, literally anything. No passivity there at all. I remember one battle, perhaps the first in which I was able to step back and watch dispassionately, in which he wanted to convince me of some particularity concerning Braum’s dairy farm. Even though I knew that he knew nothing about this topic, I knew less and cared none at all. He was able to win that one without meanness.
When he was really backed into a corner, he wasn’t afraid to just call you stupid, scream at the top of his lungs, and appear to be on the verge of a red-faced meltdown which would end in your murder. Well, now he’s very docile and happy, sweet and oblivious. I’ve always suspected that bliss lied on the other side of all things intellectual.
I was a child and I saw through the eyes of a child that these things were of my making. I was crazy, ill-equipped to intellectually spar with the Old Man, and the cause of all this discord in my family.
Not now. Now I know they’re crazy. The only bad thing about gaining this knowledge as an adult is that I’m now the parent, most likely inflicting my own craziness on my kids.