maanantai 8. huhtikuuta 2013

Day 197: Believing judgement – a link to my mother


Alright. There is a mother point I have been looking at today, which I have remembered while sewing. I associate sewing very much with my mother because she taught me to sew when I asked her to in the age of 15. She is a seamstress by earlier profession and I find it very valuable that she has passed on her skill and knowledge to me (or at least some of it). Most of my time sewing has been spent with her under her guidance and supervision.

I remembered today how she, while teaching me in my teens, sometimes used to snap at me if I made a mistake while sewing. I for instance made a mistake cutting the fabric and she would react to it with displeasure (“harmi” in finnish), with a sharp and amplified voice – I can't remember the exact words she used but I remember the tone because she still uses it occasionally.

I realize she never did this to attack me or blame me, but was simply expressing her displeasure (“harmi”) towards the situation in which she would have to work extra to fix my mistake. She is/was impulsive in her behavior and expression and did not consider how I would as a child see her reaction.

The earliest memory I have of her doing this (reacting to my mistakes) is from when I was around 5-6 years old. She was teaching me how to bake and showing me how to break eggs. I had never broken an egg before and so I dropped some of the egg shells into the batter, and she reacted to this by showing her displeasure with sharp, loud words (maybe saying “no” or “not like that” or something) – and I instantly took this personally as if she was blaming me and telling me I was bad, and I ran off crying. She later comforted me and I calmed down, but I now see what actually happened wasn't really dealt with.

Now, this has been my reaction always, also when she taught me to sew as a teenager; only then I did not burst into tears but suppressed my self-blame (“she is blaming me” - “I'm not doing well” - “I'm bad at this”) and I started talking back at her. My response to my mother exerting her emotions on me has been to counter-attack – and this pattern repeats in other instances of receiving feedback as well. Right now as I think of it I can draw up many memories from for example theatre and and restaurant work where I have refused to take feedback but instead started talking back, making excuses and explanations and casting responsibility on others. So the rebellion is a survival mechanism with which I avoid facing my self-blame but instead blame others for being “wrong”.

I now see that this pattern has been created upon the misunderstanding of a child. As a 5-year-old I was simply unable to comprehend (due to undeveloped cognition) that my mother's reaction was not caused by me and that her blame was not directed to me but to herself. So I have carried this misunderstanding onto the rest of my life where I have believed that if another judges me (or I perceive another to judge me) I must have made a mistake; if another reacts I am to blame.

Fascinating. I am now glad to have this realization written down, and I commit myself to expand on it in later writings.

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