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I was talking with a friend this week who was telling me about some encounters with her mother.My friend is one of the kindest, most loving, self-aware people on the planet. I can't get over how anyone who knows my friend could treat her poorly, but dang — her own mom??!! She has spent a lifetime trying to win her mother's love and approval, but her efforts are consistently met with coldness and disapproval.He was manipulative, self-absorbed, and often inappropriate.My friend could barely stand to be in his presence.I'm sure as you're reading, you're thinking about people in your own family who fall on the spectrum of difficult.They can be just plain mean and nasty or somewhere else on the scale of disagreeable due to low emotional intelligence, poor self-esteem, bad upbringing, or just a wanky or narcissistic personality type.When you have compassion, their difficult behaviors might still annoy or offend you, but they won't cause you as much pain because it redirects your focus from yourself to them.
He was sane enough that he appeared “normal” — but he really had the emotional maturity of a teenager.If one or both of our parents is toxic, not supportive, hypercritical, narcissistic, resentful, controlling, unloving, or mentally ill — it can infect your entire life and turn you from an emotionally mature adult into a wounded, infuriated child.As you grow into adulthood and realize how difficult and hurtful your parent was when you were a child — when you couldn't understand their behavior — you'll have buckets of your own anger and resentment to sort through.Sometimes he resorted to anger and stomping around the house in a grown-up version of a toddler tantrum.As a teenager and young adult, I couldn't understand why there was such a disconnect between us and why our relationship was so superficial.