One thing that my father often says to me is that I am “just like him”. He will often slip it into emails or phone conversations. We will be talking about my sister being financially irresponsible and he will say something like “you have always saved money…you’re just like me”. I usually just roll my eyes when he says it. I think for him, he knows he has not been the world’s greatest father (huge understatement!) and he likes to think that I inherited some of his better habits and traits. I can acknowledge that some aspects of my personality definitely did come from him- I like to learn how to fix things myself, I am financially conservative, I like to plan ahead and I tend to be obsessive about certain things. In other words, when he says this, I take it with a grain of salt. I understand when he says it that it is coming from a place of pride (and probably redemption) that he instilled some good traits in me.
What I hate, however, is when OTHER people say this to me. My boyfriend has a tendency to start criticism with, “You’re like your father…” or my sister will say,”You sound like dad”. This bothers me because when they are saying it, it is clearly an insult. I don’t want to be like my father. In fact, I can’t really think of many things that would be more offensive than being compared to him because he is widely disliked by mostly everyone who knows him. I don’t know if it bothers me more because it hurts my feelings (it is an easy low blow for them to use against me) or because deep down I know that the comparison is sometimes true.
My sister and I are VERY close…but we fight like crazy. I am 36 and she is 33 and we have always been best friends. Weeeeellll…not always…there were a few teenage years that were rough. But as a adults, we fight a huge amount. I always justify it by saying that we fight “like sisters”, meaning that we get into a stupid argument and then make up five minutes later like it never happened. Unfortunately, it makes the people around us crazy and it makes us look really stupid. Today, we got into an argument over $1.50 in quarters. Seriously. Over the past year or so, I have made an effort to not engage with her in these dumb fights, mostly because of how much it bothers my mother and my boyfriend. One thing I noticed is that my sister and I fight A LOT more when we are around my mom. She often antagonizes or provokes me, but I buy into it and engage with her. Like I said, I have been trying to just let silly things go. What perplexes me more is the reason WHY we fight so much. Some of our friends have suggested it is because we are so close- both emotionally and geographically. We talk several times a day on the phone and see each other a couple times a week. I think that because we grew up with our parents constantly fighting, we are both just accustomed to confrontation. If you have never read my blog (ps thank you for reading, by the way!), my dad was a horrible alcoholic for two decades and would yell and scream at my mother and at us every night in his belligerent rages. The weird thing is that I try to avoid confrontation with every other person in my life. If I think a friend is mad at me, I literally become physically sick and I hate having to tell anyone how I really feel if I think it will lead to an argument. My sister is clearly the exception. My boyfriend’s theory (besides the fact we are both nuts) is that we fight for my mom’s attention because we oftentimes did not have it growing up. My mom would be busy dealing with my dad or deflecting his rage away from us and even though she was an awesome mother, she wasn’t always accessible due to being preoccupied with my father. It really bothers me that my sister and I fight so much because I love her so much. The only reason I am grateful for my tumultuous childhood is because it made us so close- I can’t imagine not having had her by my side throughout all we experienced.