Lifelong Failure

My mother is feeling pushed to make everything nice for her friends coming this week, people she hasn’t seen for decades.

This means she sits in her throne reading magazines and puts pressure on my father.

I try too help, but his frustration and confusion come out at me.

I deal with this as if I was in a business meeting, trying to set an agenda, to make punch lists.

This frustrates them even more, because they don’t want to feel trapped.

They then explain how I should see things the way I see them and do what they would do, highlighting examples of where I mess up, leave crap, make problems, etc.

I acknowledge that I fail at seeing things the way they see them, that I fail at meeting their expectations, and go back to asking what to do.

This frustrates my father more and he says it’s unreasonable to try and do this, and he should have taught me when I was younger how to do things right, but I was so. . .

I acknowledge that it is my lifelong failure to meet theirĀ  expectations, and ask again to make a list of what gets done.

My mother explains that no list can be made, because it is all of a piece, and has to be done in toto, whatever that means.

They fail at management, they have never learned, and set up others for failure to meet their unreasonable, unspoken and apparently unspeakable expectations.

And I just want to get a plan of action for what needs to get done, which they see as unreasonable, impossible and oppressive.

I acknowledge my lifelong failure to understand what they want and satisfy them, even though they hate it when I make their position so clear.

What do you think they might acknowledge?

One thought on “Lifelong Failure”

  1. Just for the record, after this I went up and my mother was crying, feeling her life was a waste. I tenderly went through Paula Deen and the Serenity Prayer, as she saw on Oprah, and asked her what she could change. She’s feeling lost and lonely, her friend pool shrinking, and I asked if she could change that.

    My father wanted to protect her from me at first, then saw she was calming down. He started working, and needed me to help him open and clean out his old vacuum, then took the Swiffer duster, and let me go up the ladder next. He told me it was good if I just stayed quiet and helped, and I knew that was true; it was the method I found when I was about 10.

    I get the fact they are aging and frustrated, that their attacks on me say much more about them than about me.

    I just wish that they understood that.

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