Direct Answers from Wayne &Tamara

Relationship advice authors and columnists Wayne & Tamara Mitchell

Relationship Advice Authors and Columnists

Direct Answers from Wayne &Tamara

Relationship advice authors and columnists Wayne & Tamara Mitchell

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April 12, 2021 -- Week # 1148

Coming of Age

Q I am female and a triplet. Unfortunately, my relationship with my parents is almost nonexistent due to the anger I have felt toward them. Throughout high school my parents treated one daughter like gold, and the other two were left hanging.

     Both of my siblings have their drivers license. I do not, in fact, even have a permit. My parents forbade it because they think I have anger issues and will end up hurting someone. Sadly, the only people I feel anger toward are my parents.

     I want them to understand how I feel. I want to prove to them I can act mature and safe behind the wheel and get along like any other civil adult. However, whenever I broach the question to them, they brush it off, which usually makes us end up in a screaming fight.

     I will soon leave for college, and I don’t know how to fix the relationship with my parents. I feel horrible about everything, and since I will be away at college, I want two things. Please tell me what to do to fix this strained and difficult relationship and how to stop blowing up at them?

     Cecilia

A Cecilia, your letter sounds as if you are trying to win approval from your parents, or trying to disprove their erroneous beliefs. Your letter does not sound like a letter from an angry person.

     You don’t say your parents had you clinically assessed for anger, that you received a diagnosis, or that you have been counseled for anger management.

     The reality is you got stuck with a label and labels are hard to pull off. It’s not that all labels are bad. When the label is positive, a child might try to live up to the label. But the label you received is damaging.

     Perhaps you were a fussy baby; perhaps your parents’ favored child resembled someone your parents wanted to curry favor with; or perhaps, as a child, you put your parents on their back foot when you caught them in a lie and they used this label to control you. We don’t know.

     But something here does not fit. You express yourself like an innocent person, a person misjudged. And if you were unjustly labeled, why wouldn’t you be angry? Furthermore, how is it you are grown up enough to go off to college but are not grown up enough to drive?

     Your parents don’t get to have it both ways.

     You sound to us like a young woman who is self-aware. You’re off to college. You are of age. Once you leave home, you can solve the license issue for yourself. What’s more, in college you are free to pull off that label once and for all.

     Not all parents are fair. Some parents create rivalry among their children. Some parents mis-parent. Some parents act as if their child should be infallible when they themselves are highly fallible.

     There is no reason to think your parents will outgrow their behavior. But there is reason to believe you can take the steps necessary to improve your life. Not to show them up, but to step into the adult world.

     Near the end of Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet, the main character, says something wise. “Think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure.” That’s the soundest advice we can give you.

     Wayne & Tamara

write:  Directanswers@WayneAndTamara.com