Can I Hate My Parents?
I am no stranger to the heart-wrenching guilt that takes over when you are filled with feelings of anger and resentment to no one other than your parents. Fighting with the two people who gave you everything in life is not uncommon, but it definitely doesn’t feel virtuous.
Don’t get me wrong, I am no monster. I would give my life for both my parents, which at times makes it harder for me to understand the loathing I — occasionally — feel towards them.
I am a privileged child. I was never denied a meal, I never felt cold, I have been hugged, kissed, punished, praised, pressured, and most of all, loved unconditionally. Meaning, I have no right to complain.
Yet annoyance and irritability overpower my rationale on a daily basis and I tend to lash out at their every comment. Suddenly, even their breathing is irritable.
My first rage-infused tantrum happened on Winter Break 2016. What caused the rage is evident. Ideological differences. I was now educated. Not that I hadn’t been before, but now, I had received knowledge from someone other than my guardians. During my high school years, I remember thinking that no one’s ideologies trumped my parents’. They were the most successful people I knew, therefore in my eyes, they were also the wisest.
Then college opened up this whole new world of ideological perspectives that were worthy of acknowledgement. And they didn’t exactly agree with my parents’ view of the world, and so neither did I.
My intellectual expansion was unnoticeable while I was away from home, but once we all sat down for our first meal, the polarities were clear. My parents might have been successful, but they were also subtly racist, sexist (mother included), and worst of all, oblivious.
Every racist comment sparked a discussion, and every discussion ended in screams, tears, and slammed doors. Worst of all, it felt as if each argument merely intensified everyone’s opinions. No-one was willing to compromise.
It took me three more breaks worth of time to notice what I had been doing wrong from the start. Mostly because admitting to my mistakes meant I had been a hypocrite all along. My parents had what no one other than myself considered to be erroneous ideologies.
I claimed to be compassionate, yet failed to see that my parent’s mentality had been their only reality until now. And instead of attempting to comprehend where they were coming from, I just wanted to impose my ideas on them. Either they shared my point of view, or they didn’t deserve to have one at all. I wasn’t listening, or understanding, or even being progressive, I was dictating.
My parents were raised in a different era, composed of a society filled to the brim with prejudices, stereotypes, and limitations. Like a language, if these norms are the only thing you perceive from an early age, it’s hard to modify them as an adult. If you are told your entire life that the sky is black, then you will inevitably call bullshit when someone tells you it’s blue.
Realizing this helped. I began to converse with them. I let certain comments slide. I picked my battles. Sometimes I even let them win. But most importantly, I loved them despite our differences. Sure, there are times where I’m ready to bite someone’s head off, but if I did that, then who would pay my tuition?