The buzz-word on social media for the last couple of weeks has been self-awareness. Or rather the lack of it.
I’m a big royalist and read how both Prince Harry and Meghan were criticised for their lack of self-awareness. Harry when he took a private plane to a Google climate change summit. Meghan when she asked her protection officer to stop people taking pictures of her at Wimbledon and for being elitist when she guest edited the September issue of Vogue magazine, which is really for rich women with thousands to spend on clothes.
It rang a bell in my head that the lack of self-awareness perfectly fitted my mother too. I’m in my forties and, although my mother’s getting on a bit, she hasn’t changed a jot since I was a child and I’ve always been confused and mystified by the difference between what she says and what she does. The extra description is helping me cope with her. Not that I see her very often as she is forever criticising me for not keeping my flat clean – I am a bit untidy but not at all dirty –and she could never live like that. Yet her kitchen work surface is always covered with jars and crockery and bread crumbs that she can’t be bothered to deal with. She also criticises people for not supporting the local shops in her small town but never uses them herself. It’s all about don’t do what I do, do what I tell you. Why can’t she see how ridiculous she sounds? It is also patronising because she assumes I and others aren’t bright enough to see through her.
What is it that makes people like that, she is not an unintelligent woman?
Many of us struggle to be consistent with our behavior, particularly when we try to see ourselves through other people’s eyes. It is, however, important to think through how we manage ourselves so we don’t preach to others what we don’t do ourselves. Having a horrid parent who has no self-awareness can be a very painful experience for their children and, once they have grown up, embarrassing to the point of making them angry.
This type of parent is also liable to be very defensive about their own behaviour and have such a powerful sense of entitlement that they believe social rules and good manners do not apply to them. They are also unlikely to think about their own inconsistencies however intelligent they are. Possibly because it is too threatening for them.
Sadly there is no point in explaining this to your mother as she won't change now. Instead try to distance yourself from her as best you can.