Tuesday, May 27, 2008

On the pre-emptive strike

I would like to understand why I sometimes shoot myself in the foot. This week, a work situation came to a head, prompting me to realize that it's an old pattern, prompting me to remember an early iteration of it: when I was a kid, my parents would sometimes get fed up with the state of my room (which was always horrendously messy, or so they thought) and close me in there until I had cleaned it. I would always resist, staying in there without cleaning for hours on end, missing meals, feeling like I was going to starve, but still refusing to clean. Finally I would crack, but it was always such a painful process. And I always knew that I would have to be the one to cave, that my parents never would.

So why did I keep doing it? Why put up a fight I knew I couldn't win? And why did my brother do the same thing?

I was extremely compliant in most other ways. Somehow I took my stand on this one particular hill, but I never won, and I never hurt anyone except myself. So why?

This isn't a rhetorical question. Not that I expect anyone else to have the answer.


Melissima said...

I think the answer might be "because you were a child and you behaved like a child"? And now that you're an adult you might be realizing that there are certain patterns you developed as a child and you're recognizing that, as an adult, you can decide not to stay in the room, or to clean it immediately, or stay in the room forever and starve to death?

Is this helpfuL?

Catherine said...

Very helpful, thanks. Deciding not to stay in the room and behaving like an adult turned out to be the right choice.

KathyLikesPink said...

Perhaps it comes down to that age-old feeling..."You're not the boss of me!"

But of course, being a child...they were.