I had an interesting experience this morning.  I am wearing an outfit in which I feel very good in.  Cream colored pants, a silky black and cream shirt with a circle design, and black heels.  There is nothing extraordinary about the outfit, but I feel good when I am in it.  The cuts of both the top and the pants are modern.  I feel…pretty.  Whether other people think I am or not is a different story and, in this outfit, I don’ t seem to care.

Back to my original point.  My mother hates this outfit.  She hasn’t said she hates it in so many words, but it is her lack of words that leads me to believe she doesn’t like it.  That and her look of disapproval.  My sudden realization is focused on her reaction to this outfit and other outfits she dislikes.  I don’t think it has anything to do with her like or dislike of the clothing itself.  Most of the clothes of mine that she dislikes are ones in which I feel good and ones that I have gotten compliments on.  Her apparent dislike is not dislike – it is jealousy. 

There was something in her eyes when she saw me in this outfit.  I feel like I’m kicking myself for not seeing it sooner.  When we shop together, she leads me to clothes that she would wear.  And steers me away from clothes that I like, saying they’re not appropriate.

Hmmm…maybe I’m not the one with ALL the issues.



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2 responses to “Realization

  1. Have you ever noticed about women in general that they will give compliments to women who are wearing something that they themselves would look good in? Not all women, of course . . . but the ways in which women compete with each other are very interesting. I think mother-daughter jealousy isn’t uncommon, though it’s certainly unsettling.

  2. I have seen a couple examples of similar issues.

    Before we were married, my wife and I spent a lot of time at her mother’s house. She was 17 and still living a home. Her mother was a very insecure person and my wife, who had been a very carefree person who was in a way quite innocent was starting to assert her individuality and question the world and her role in it. She was the youngest of five children–all the others had left and married.

    My wife began to assert her individuality in her dress–in the mildest possible ways, but her mother freaked out. My wife wore some black pants her mother saw as “beatnik” clothes a some such. There were big fights over her clothes that fell into the “how stupid can you be” category.

    Twenty years later (no connection) I was working a job where the administrative assistant to my boss was an attractive woman who was going through something equivalent to what is called a “midlife crisis” in men. She was an intelligent, capable person, but most of her life her value in her mind was really based on how attractive she was. She had a daughter–also intelligent and attractive–just starting college. Now the mother, feeling she was losing her looks, looking at her daughter who was moving into her life ahead, and the mother in a marriage that was obviously weary and disappointing–became very agitated. She became overly involved with the boss (who had his own problems) and became very high strung with the rest of us and with her daughter.

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