Cringeworthy

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My parents are… odd.

I am not talking about the I am their daughter so I am naturally going to be embarrassed kind of thing. Oh, no. They are genuinely weird people. It is a wonder that I can function socially at all, really.

So, I have mentioned before that my parents were livid, absolutely LIVID that I, as a woman, would go to med school. That could not possibly be what God wanted for their daughter. They are still not entirely crazy about the idea.

Except when they are ill somehow.

When they are hurt, sick, worried, scared… who do they call?

Me.

“Your father is having another seizure. Do you think you could get us a new neurologist?”

Or

“My back is killing me. I need to see someone about it. Who do you recommend?”

That would be fine except for the fact that my parents are weird and I still have issues with wanting to win their respect. I want to prove that I am a good physician, that I made the right choice, and can get them hooked up with the best. Maybe, just maybe, they will wake up and embrace me and accept my life choices?

The end result is that I give them the name of a specialist that I think is top notch and they have their primary care physician refer them. Soon, that poor, unsuspecting doctor is subjected to my parents. I am so, so sorry….

Invariably they drop the line: “Our daughter is a physician…”

“Oh, really?”

“Yes, and she refers tons of people to you….”

And then I will have to look those same physicians in the eye, say at a chance encounter at a local restaurant, and have to chit-chat about my crazy parents. I worry that every time they see a referral from me they are thinking about my cuckoo family.

Judging me.

I wonder what issues my own kids will have about me when they are older? Sigh. It am resigned to the fact that it will be inevitable.

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112 thoughts on “Cringeworthy

  1. Oh, I think we all share your concerns Victo, some more so and some less. My Mum and I don’t speak any more because we are so far apart when comparing what I do with what she thinks I should do. Long story playing out over 4 decades. She is a social worker (retired now) and I’ve always been interested in science and business (not together). When i owned my own company and travelled a lot, she told me I was wasting my time. When i did more university and settled into managing someone esle’s company, she said that I could be so much more. It eventually came down to listening to her attack me every time i called, so I terminated our communication. And the worst of it all is that I so want nothing more than her approval, but for who I am and not for who she wants me to be. Que sera. At least you’re still talking to your folks – that, believe it or not, is a major accomplishment , at least for me. Best of luck.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. LOL, sorry, it reminds of me! When I told my parents I’ m going to college they could not understand it, my boyfriend could not console himself.
    “Women marry they do not go to college.”
    My parents accepted it, my boyfriend moved on.
    Thank you, you just reminded me of the strugle women face trying to educate themselves.
    FS

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Who would object to their kid becoming a doctor?! Did you make that up for the sake of a post? When you’re at parties and you reveal that your a doctor, do people solicit your opinion for an ailment? What issues could your kids possibly have with you? WHAT?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Nope, didn’t make that up. Sadly. It is not Biblical for women to work outside the home as it turns out. At least in their world. Yes, I get asked all. the. time. for my opinion on ailments at social gatherings. (See? I did something that annoys you with the periods… because I can. That will probably be one of the issues my kids will have with me.)

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I hear multiple things on this one. πŸ™‚ just going to pick one detail. Your relationship w/ your kidos. So much of the crap that happens between generations could be avoided if the parents (me and you now) keep in mind the simple goal of working ourselves out of a job as our babies grow into adults. It is not a parents place to manage their children’s lives. Once they are 17 or 18, we better be pretty much done, and shifting gears into being their peer. It does not come easily or automatic.

    Can I comment on one more thing? πŸ˜‰

    That angst you feel w/ dealing with your weird/ controlling parents. I have (had) it too)..especially the control thing. It would be hard to want to spend any time with them, if they kept violating my boundaries. I’m guessing you have laid the law down to them on what is and what is not their role in your life? It took until I was in my mid 40’s that I had that conversation with my dad. It wasn’t planned, it just came out, after one too many sarcastic comments πŸ˜‰ It redefined my relationship with him. We still talk, but now he treats me as an adult, not some dumb kid.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The parents are better about expressing their opinions. We had that talk after I graduated from med school. And you are so, so right about the goal of parenting being working ourselves out of a job! I don’t want to have to be carrying around their baggage once they are out of the house. I plan to be tooling around the world in an RV or something at that point, going where I am needed. πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Love how you brought this scenario back to you and your children. What goes around definitely comes around. I try to be very aware of this but I am only, after all, human…so of course I wouldn’t possibly be as bad as my parents!! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hello Doctor πŸ™‚
    I see this is a universal ‘issue’ regardless of where we live, what are ages are. If/when my husband & I are blessed with children someday, we can only hope we don’t repeat the same mistakes, and learn when to let go when it’s time to do so. As always, I’m enjoying your writing, your honest thoughts so much.
    Best,
    Takami

    Like

  7. Oh, I was giggling and cringing and have a ton of smart-alecky (sp?) things I could type but I’m feeling less snarky than usual.

    Yeah, parents. Weird parents. We all have them, some of us more than others.

    So here’s a semi-rhetorical question: If a colleague sent you *their* weird parent(s), would you be negatively judging the colleague? Or would you be sympathetic? Or would you see so many weird patients in a day that their weirdness melds in with everyone else’s and you forget about it? Or…? (There may or may not be a point in there. I’ll never tell.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would be sympathetic. But that is because I have weird parents. I understand. Not everyone has weird parents to the degree that I do. Seriously. You will want to doubt my veracity but you will have to trust me. I am not sure people that don’t have weird, weird parents really understand. It is like the judgmental looks I get from people when my kids are having a melt down at the supermarket…. they don’t understand so they judge (not everyone does that but enough people to make me feel *that* small).

      Liked by 3 people

      • Well, I say, “PHI!” to anyone who judges another person based on their parents or family and not on their own selves. (Ok, I’m guilty of the glaring looks at parents who can’t control their kids. It is because I have cats who never misbehave in public.) I think, and I could be wrong here, but I think if your parents really are over-the-top weird (and I am not doubting it) and you are as relatively normal as you seem to be here, that any judgement would be along the line of, “Wow, Victo really over-came a lot. I’m impressed she’s normal!” There’s that and the other thing I’ve learned in my probably 20 years longer than you’ve had on earth, is that people are so wrapped up in their own worlds and their own fears to really be paying that much attention to yours (generic pronoun).

        Then again, as a Ranking Misanthrope, people basically suck so they could be out there judging. :p

        Why oh why is your alias “VD”? I started typing Doc VD, but… no. Just no.

        Liked by 3 people

    • I couldn’t help but notice that you said your cats don’t misbehave in public. We had kids and cats and the cats were as bad as the kids. Our jet black cat – Shadow – once ate the neighbor’s pure white doves that she was feeding, whle she was feeding them – in front of her. Bad optics – and an awkward explanation that this WAS not symbolic of anything. Another time our white cat – Valerie – was sitting beside me looking into the linen cloeset while i got towels for my morning shower. She let a big fart just as out housekeeper walked by and the stench was naseous. The housekeeper, an elderly and very proper Spanish lady, looked at me with disgust and muttered something in Spanish. I objected that it was the cat and she said “Oh yes, it must be, of course” And walked away – I don’t think she beieved me. I could give many more examples of our cats misbehaving in public. You sure do have good cats Laura.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Funny how these things (issue) tend to repeat themselves. I know I always wanted to please my parents and that was never easy because it didn’t necessarily coincide with my dreams. At some point we just have to fulfill our own dreams. Your parents, are no doubt, very proud of you. Your children might find it difficult to live up to your accomplishments. It will be interesting for you to see that unfold.
    Leslie

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I think you are to be commended for following your heart in becoming a doctor despite your parents’ “biblical” wishes. I’m sure there are many who would have gone along with what their folks wanted, however misguided it was. I kind of ran into the same thing, only to a lesser degree, when I wanted to become a dental hygienist at age 28. I was already married, with two kids, and had completed two years of pre-requisite courses. My mother told me “But by the time you finish in another two years, you’ll be 30!” I replied “In another two years, I’ll be 30 anyway, so I might as well be a hygienist too.” I think, with her, it was the whole generation gap thing. Women of her era didn’t work outside the home unless they had to. If I had a dollar for every time my mother said “You should be able to live on your husband’s salary,” I’d be a thousand-aire.

    Of course your kids will have their own baggage related to their upbringing! I hear stuff from my 43-year-old daughter all the time that I don’t even remember. “Really? I made you eat tofu? The horror…” πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  10. My parents are deeply disappointed that I left teaching. They’re also disappointed that I didn’t take up the offer to go to law school, and that I never even attempted a career in racing. Somehow, even though they’re disappointed about these things I never even knew mattered so much to them, they tell me they’re proud of me.
    All parents are odd.
    We’re odd to our kids, too.
    They’ll be odd to their kids as well.
    Perhaps oddity, like disappointment, is inevitable.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This parent/child dynamic is pretty standard fare. I call mine every Sunday, just because I think it’s the right thing to do. Sometimes we have the same conversation over and over for months.

    Have you noticed many kids seem to get along great with the grandparents, but not the parents? I think the natural resistance between parent and child, creates fealty with the grandparents. The parents rebelled against the grandparents at one time, and there is a common ground that reaches over one generation.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Realizing that your kids will think you’re weird is half the battle!

    In jr. high, my son occasionally slipped into conversation intimate details about his friends’ parents — which was especially awful when I tried to figure out what his friends were telling THEIR parents about us! I just let him know that everybody has weird parents. EVERYBODY!

    My parents forced me to go to secretarial school — I needed health insurance even back then. But it was more that girls didn’t go to college in their minds. 20+ years later, my father apologized. The world was changing and he just didn’t get it. Ultimately he did. (Of course, he was nuts in many ways too…)

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Isn’t all this parental disappointment really about themselves? Unfortunately these sort of unhappy people know (subconsciously or not) how to make willing victims of their children on the ‘trying to please’ front. It can never ever be done. They will never be happy. It isn’t really about their offspring.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. My daughter’s primary care physician cringes at her mother’s behavior too which is to tell anybody and everybody about her daughter, the doctor. Everybody! I know your situation isn’t the same but on some level, they all make us cringe. My mother is Hyacinth Bucket personified for instance.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. your parents are not weird. They depend on you because they trust you. Just as you believed in them when you were dependent on them when you were too small to make your choice. they did their best to give you love and comfort. now its your time to pay back. love you

    Liked by 1 person

  16. So much I could say; some said it better. I’m always intrigued by people and their: 1) eternal quest for the parental approval; 2) fear the opinions of others *particularly strangers*…
    I’ve always known my parents would/will never be happy with me AND I’ve always known people mostly judge negatively and ignorantly. I decided long ago not to care. It really is great. Of course, other people hate the fact that their opinions really hold no value to me.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Sorry. I didn’t mean to come off the ‘know-it-all’. For some a dismissive attitude about the opinions of others comes natural. For me it was oppressive. I am not saying my decision is the best one because it does involve turning off (and that takes time and effort) some natural feelings and that is not necessarily a good thing. However, in contrast to allowing what other people opine matter to me, I sacrificed. To be frank, I think it has made me a ‘harder’ individual – perhaps perceived as ‘stand-offish’ – but I am no longer nervous, depressed, paranoid, or mousy. I prefer my stronger self over the timid self I used to be and, unfortunately, I did not have the tools to re-create myself any other way. We all have to do what we have to do with what we have; some of us don’t have much to begin with. I’ve probably said this poorly. I hope you can sense my meaning.

        Liked by 2 people

  17. Love this post. All parents are weird, especially the good ones. A life-changing moment for me was when my father admitted to me that they had made a lot of mistakes with us growing up. He apologized for that,saying that they did the best that they knew. Can’t expect more than that.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Great post. Thought provoking with lots of commenters weighing in with their own experiences. I grew up on a farm- my sister and I learned to work hard. Neither of my parents entered high school but they were good parents. Very strict. They were always proud of our achievements, and I’m thankful for that. My parents were not worldly but they each had plenty of common sense.

    I’ve been good to my two kiddos. Too good in fact. Over compensated because my husband was present but all he did was focus on his work and hunting. Never offered any praise to our brilliant daughter and talented son. Now I have a daugher that does not speak to me but requires my help, money wise about 3 times a year. She is disabled due to arthritis and had to stop her vet practice.

    For what it is worth, if you can, accept your parents for who they are. Don’t base your feelings on how they act. Just be glad that they were not verbally or physically abusive. Maybe they harbor an unconscious resentment that you became something greater than either one of them could have possibly achieved. I really do not think the Bible enters into the picture here. But maybe it does.

    Gee this turned into a hang your dirty laundry out for everyone to see.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. The more honest we are, the more I realize that it’s more common to have weird family members than it is to have “normal” family members. Its somehow comforting. I’m still surprised at how much I want my father’s approval.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Pingback: My Article Read (2-10-2015) | My Daily Musing

  21. In the end Doctor, your children are going to end up judging you based on their love for you. With a person who is so spiritually-grounded (yes, it shows), it could never be any other way. You will pass that love onto them, and when the time comes, they will pass it back onto you ten-fold, or a hundred-fold. And if only a Bible-believing Christian can understand what I’m talking about, then I’m afraid that’s not my problem, though I will undoubtedly spend at least some time in prayer regarding that subject (I already do).But I feel certain that you understand, and if you really think about it, you’ll probably agree, you have nothing to worry about.

    Liked by 1 person

      • You really don’t need to publish this. I just wanted to sat thank-you for being so kind in your reply to my last comment. Even though the gist of what I wanted to say was accurate, and is in there, this flu still has my head so cloudy that it was only after I sent the comment in that I realized the way I worded it might have been seen as offensive by some of your readers, and possibly even yourself. If, in fact, you, or anyone else that you know of was offended by my comment, I wish to apologize for the way the comment was worded, and I mean that sincerely, and from the bottom of my heart. And once again, I thank you for not making an issue of it, and showing so much grace in your reply to the comment. Once again, I am sorry if I inadvertently upset anyone, it certainly was not my intention.

        Liked by 1 person

  22. LOL! I won’t comment on your parents, since I KNOW mine are far crazier than yours. However, here’s an ironically weird little story for ya: My dad’s grandparents were Christian Scientists – didn’t believe in doctors… So they sent their son, my grandfather, to Emory, where he graduated third in his class and went on to become a well-known surgeon and he even invented some digestive surgical procedure…(This was some time back in the 1950s) and then he developed tuberculosis – which was very treatable by then – but because his parents were Christian Scientists, they insisted that he not seek treatment. So he went to a sanitarium where he died a few months later, and left my dad and his two bothers, all under age 8, and my grandma to fend for themselves. How weird is THAT? πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Hmmm, note to self, refrain from mentioned my daughter is a doctor to my doctors. Darn, too late, I think. But does it still sound crazy if you are explaining to your doctor that you ran your symptoms by your kid the doctor, do you sound more or less crazy?
    I really need to zip my lips, I think I asked my specialist all sorts of questions when my kid was considering that specialty!
    Regarding your parents, um, first off, I read the Bible and I missed that part about women cannot be doctors and we are incredibly proud of our daughter, the doctor, so I am thinking it is their particular group’s interpretation not a world wide interpretation!
    Second, my husband has horrid parents, they really could be Dx with narcissism or BPD. It took years and years to figure out, but we realized that we do not respect them as people and do not respect their opinions so should consciously not try to please them all the time. But it is still difficult, every kid innately wants to please their parents.
    Knowing how hard you have worked to achieve something that is traditionally respected in our society and then to be criticized by your family, I am sorry.

    PS: I adore the photos you use at the heading of your blog

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Hi dear !
    I just wanted to tell you that I had issues with my parents as well in the past,
    my father is 84 my mother is 56 and I am only 20, there was an age huge difference between us, I could not communicate with my father in the past, but I’ve always tried to do, I didn’t want to go to the medical school as well, but they were pushing me to go to it, it happened that I didn’t obtain the right grade for the medical school and I decided to go to the law school, you know I didn’t want that at first, but I got to like the campus life by the time….
    Just think of it, joining the medical school would be such a great for you, saving hundred of lives, how cool could that be??
    think about the change you can make in your community, and the most important thing tie your life to a goal and achieve it, you will reach what you want…
    I know your parents want the best for you, someday you will be able to see from their own perspective!

    Like

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