Since my mom’s diagnosis, my family and I have had some discussions about things we’ve never talked about before. One of the topics that seems to creep around more often are our personality traits ~ who is more like who, etc. We probably all have some variations of opinions on this, but I’ve expressed to my parents that I feel my sister is more like my dad and that I am more like my mom.
One big difference is that my dad and sister will debate topics, while I have no desire to do so. I bring up this particular personality attribute because it’s been talked about quite a few times now, with me being told by my dad that I tend to get angry at him often when he tries to tell me things. My parents view me as the sensitive child…the weaker one.
I say “weaker” because in a conversation a few months ago about this, my mom expressed concern that I would let my sister bulldoze over me. I personally look at people who allow others to run over them as weak – the word “weak” was not used specifically in this conversation or any others after. My sister’s personality is big and bold – when she walks into the room, people notice her. I also have a big and bold personality, I just choose when and where to showcase it. I don’t view my sister as bulldozer and I don’t see myself as a doormat.
I’ve calmed down in my 30’s. There are a lot of things – ideas, opinions – that I realized I had spent too much time on. I had too much emotional energy directed toward things and people that really didn’t matter. I feel I was more sensitive then – I cared more about others, I cared more about being right, about being seen and heard; cared more about what others thought.
Life kicked me in the pants in my early 30’s and I realized that, even by caring what others thought, people were going to think whatever they wanted to anyway. They were going to gossip; they were going to go about their lives in the way they saw fit, no matter what I said or did. So why was I caring so much? Why was I wasting energy I could use to focus on bigger and better things on things I could not change? Things that weren’t my job to change? Those things were unnecessary speedbumps in my life and I was sick of having to constantly replace the tires and wheels of my car.
So, no, I don’t debate. If you feel a certain kind of way, I will listen (as long as it’s not super unproductive, hateful or ridiculous), but it isn’t my job to tell you if you’re wrong. Life has a way of doing that to people; it certainly did for me.
I spend my free time trying to do things that bring me peace; no where in any of that is confrontation, conflict, or bad-feelings.
Is it perfect? No; life is not easy, but I think I have the energy to tackle it because I spend way less time on things I used to that created feelings of unhappiness and unease in my life. People have told me over the years that they wished they had the energy and motivation that I appear to have. This may be why – it’s the road I chose and the one that works best for me. I think that when we find the right path in our lives, we care less about the thoughts and opinions of others. We become less volatile and more evenly-balanced. At least until it’s time for the path to change.
It is just strange to me that I would be viewed as sensitive and/or weak by those close to me simply because I often choose not to engage and that my choice to not engage and create a distance is viewed as “anger”. It isn’t anger and it’s not complete detachment either. Sometimes it’s disappointment; sometimes it’s a little bit of sadness for the person. I’d just rather walk away in some situations than argue through them; I’d rather preserve my inner peace and move on with my life. But I suppose I’m falling into an old bad habit here – caring what others think of who I am and feeling that it needs an explanation. It doesn’t.
So, where does my mom’s personality fall in all of this?
I see her in the woman I’ve been becoming in my 30’s. Content to let you think what you want without becoming attached to it; content to be quiet and have quiet hobbies. No real desire to argue or debate unless it’s truly of importance. More inclined to listen than speak. I see this in my sister, too.
But my analysis of things comes from my dad, I think. My dad’s personality traits in me created this blog post and likely all of my blogs in general.