Short Stories, Writing


My mother is a counsellor. She has brought me up to see people in relation to their childhoods. “They were bullied in school, of course they’re defensive” or “sounds like they didn’t have a great relationship with their father.” Sometimes it makes it easier to understand people, make excuses for their behaviour, understand their machinery and figure out the best way to relate to them, in toxic relationships it gives clout to the old ‘they can’t help but repeat their patterns!” but I think a little too much self awareness of other peoples foibles and your own can be detrimental.

Sometimes you don’t want to know the exact reasoning for your behaviour. It doesn’t make it easier to break away from it. Taking it apart and laying it on a dissection table can lead to narcissism, or over fascination with what makes you so special. Sometimes a little bit too much knowledge of other people subconscious can be distracting. Sometimes a little bit too much knowledge of your own reactions can be unfulfilling. I meet with my mother for a drink or a meal about once a week, to catch up, get tipsy and talk. We talk a lot about people, motivations, who and why and how, we are fascinated with them. We also talk about how my life meanders, but sure, everything will work out fine. We hope.

We were having a drink the other day and she mentioned how she was offered free counselling at work, a kind of deal they give to anyone who works there. She took it up, not because she wants counselling at the moment, but because she is a sucker for a free deal.  Plus she likes self-improvement. But a counsellor seeing a counsellor makes little sense, like cats circling each other trying to see who will get to the cat food (solve the issue) first. She relayed how the counsellor got excited about linking her past and present together. Saying things like “do you think you have bad taste in men, and want to rescue them because of your relationship with your alcoholic manic depressive father?” We shook our heads in exasperation at these seemingly obvious connections. My mother said “well, DUH.” She then went on to relay her counsellors other obvious connections, things we had discussed at length, armchair psychology, the room 101 of self-awareness. We followed each ‘break through’ moment with a loud “well DUH.” And I thought how unfortunate we are to know our patterns inside out and upside down like a comforting jumper.

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