I am a Black woman. My husband and I are living with my parents' until our home is finished in a few months. We are beyond grateful and both work hard together to be perfect and respectful guests. The proximity has given me a closer look at things I wasn't able to articulate until I found this community and became a student, and realized how much work I face to fix a lot of cracks in my marriage that I've caused.
I love and adore my mother with everything I have, and she is my best friend. And like all of us, she is imperfect. More specifically, to be blunt, she is annoying.
My mother is an expert nagger and criticizer, and the embodiment of being so for so long that she will never change, it's in her essence and has boundaries set around her with her family because of this, and that's why I say "is" and not "can be." She clearly has needs surrounding support and companionship, but not the RPW tools to effectively get those needs fully met. Being the woman of the house, naturally I assumed that you nagged and chased and disrespected and criticized your husband into doing things, because men are lazy and aloof and need to be punished for that. I watched my mom do it my whole life, emasculating my father, and watched him withdraw further and further, and I then turned around and did the same in my own marriage in many different areas. I realize that I "can be" and am on the fast track to "is."
I have no doubt my father loves my mom and would walk through hell for her. He's not perfect either. But I've noticed, especially since moving in, he spends a ton of time apart from her, even more now that we're all older and out of the house, throwing his all into work and their out-of-town real estate ventures. It's a reflection of my future if I make it all the way to "is."
I know it's taboo and ungrateful to get on the internet and dunk on your mom. I don't mean to pretend to be an expert on my parents' 30+ year marriage, only a mere outside observer. It's not at all my intent to put her on a platform solely for ridicule, or even to subvert accountability with a generic "It's all my mom's fault." She's not married to my husband and doesn't pull my tongue. That's on me. Rather, the mirror has helped me exponentially in answering some "why"s and tracing back some origins so I can effectively address those habits at their deepest roots. This RPW stuff is working my ass, y'all. For people like me, it's not enough to simply say "Women are being conditioned by SoCiEtY to be like x." I think my culture and upbringing as a Black woman, and the unique hurdles we face with femininity, softness, and peace can (not always) be best studied through the examples our mothers set for us. That's a touchy subject for another day though.
Seeing some patterns of withdrawal with my own spouse and doing better to understand why makes STFU way, way easier. Cringing when my mom disrespects my dad "out of love/fun" has helped me out a ton with my own "sense of humor." I better notice the way my dad deflates and shies away when she does this to him. I have an easier time these days doing self-reflection, and going "Ah, I was being annoying!" There's no value in beating ourselves up for what we didn't know of course, but there have always been aspects of my personality that have been hard to address for so long, and I love being able to call it out within myself much more freely.
Example: I can enjoy chatting with my mom, and then feel the pit in my stomach and desire to withdraw the moment she comments on what I'm wearing. She will "What? I'm just saying!" every time instead of confronting the possibility that she's being unnecessary. And since learning RPW, I can better feel how my husband probably felt as a man when I did the same thing, even if I meant well and just wanted to "help/improve him." I can never turn my nose up at my mother because I've unfortunately replicated so much of her behavior to a T.
We see a lot of "I wish I had known all this sooner" here on this sub. I'm curious to know if any of you have also come to a clearer understanding of your mom, and if it's helped you get to the root of where some aspects of yourself come from. And to you lucky ones who were taught what I now have to spend time learning as an adult, I'd also love to hear how you feel that's positively influenced you in adulthood too.