This has been a week of soul-searching for me.
Wednesday, my mother once again goaded me into a political fight. I try, at all costs, to avoid discussing politics with her. SME has wisely taught me that nodding, while interjecting an occasional "Uh-huh", is the best way to cope with my mother's venomous hatred of all things "Damncrat"( Democrat). BUT...there are times when her irrational rants get to me, and my brain refuses to override my mouth!
I also finished the final Harry Potter book this week. It was a bittersweet experience.
These two events got me to thinking about why I am so different from my mother. The whole "nature vs. nurture" debate began to rattle through my brain. I began to sort through the good and bad traits on both sides of my family. SORTING....hmmmm....where would the Sorting Hat place ME?
Here are the major traits of the Hogwarts houses:
, values hard work, loyalty, teamwork, patience, friendship, and fair play above all else. According to Rowling, Hufflepuff corresponds roughly to the element of earth.Slytherin
values ambition, cunning, resourcefulness and pure blood heritage. The book also suggests that power-hunger is a characteristic of Slytherins.Ravenclaw
values intelligence, knowledge, wit, and wisdom. "Wit beyond measure is man's greatest treasure"
is an oft-repeated Ravenclaw proverbGryffindor
values courage, chivalry, and boldness above all else.
How do these traits fit my family?My Mother's Heritage:
Her father was 100% Slytherin!
Bink, his family's pet name for him, was militantly proud of his 100% Norwegian heritage. He made sure that he married a girl from fine Norwegian stock. My mother's family disowned her, for a time, when she married my Dad, a lowly German farmer.
Bink was mentally abusive to his entire family.
He managed to destroy my grandmother's will to live by the time her children left home.
He would visit each of his 3 children's families for extended periods. During these visits, he did everything in his power to destroy relationships between the families. He constantly told me how stupid and ugly I was, and how gifted my cousins were. I later found out that he said the same horrid things to my cousins, who thought I was the gifted one.
Bink sexually molested my mother.
I've had suspicions about this for the last 20 years or so. This past year, my mother finally admitted this fact to me. When I was little, my mother forbade me from driving alone with Bink. He would constantly want to take me to the store to buy me treats. Mom said he was a terrible driver, which he was, and didn't want him to get in an accident with me. However, Mom would allow Bink to drive if she was along. This, and other red flags in my mother's behavior, always made me wonder...
Bink always believed he was meant for better things and NEVER soiled his hands with manual labor. He continually moved his family around the midwest, searching for the good life he was entitled to.
Bink was extraordinarily charming and witty to anyone outside the family. His acquaintances always told us how lucky we were to have him in our family. Manipulative old bastard!!
Bink's father was a Lutheran minister. My mother adored her grandfather. Anyone who knew him claimed he was the salt of the earth. I don't know....where did all of Bink's perverse behaviors come from?
The maternal side of my mother's family were more genteel. Mom's grandfather was a well-to-do banker. His two daughters were raised to be kind, gentle wives and mothers. Her family was happy when my grandmother kept the bloodlines pure by marrying my Norwegian grandfather. My grandmother's sister never married. She became a career woman and had a lifelong extramarital affair with Bink. Nice, huh? I'd say that this side of the family was 75% Slytherin.
How did all of this affect my mother?
Mom's low self-esteem has caused numerous depressions in her life. Dad doesn't believe in psychotherapy, so the two of us spent a LOT of time walking on tiptoes around my Mom. Dad felt that the best way to make up for Mom's childhood was to cater to her every whim, no matter how unreasonable.
The only time my Dad has ever crossed my Mom, is during her 16 year bout with menopause. Every 4-6 weeks, Dad would drag Mom, literally kicking and screaming, to the doctor for a hormone shot. From a very young age, SME learned to recognize when Grandma was due for a "happy shot". I love my Mom, BUT, she was the biggest hormonal bitch I've ever met in my life! She's always been prone to tantrums, but menopause increased her tantrums, depressions, and delusions tenfold!
Mom tries to hold everything dear to her under a tight rein. She's very loving, as long as it occurs within her own parameters. Mom's obsessive over maintaining a spotlessly clean, orderly home. She always expected immediate, unconditional obedience from me.
Mom carries lifelong grudges against anyone who has made the smallest slight to her psyche. To this day, she brings up things I said as a toddler when she's upset with me. While in the throes of menopause, Mom took an instant dislike to L the first time she met him. A couple of his mannerisms reminded her of Bink, so she insisted that I could never have a happy relationship with a man who was just like my grandfather. She wouldn't believe me when I told her that L is NOTHING like Bink! After 30 years of being a wonderful father and husband, L still can't gain my mother's respect.
Mom is also militantly opinionated, with very little logic, about EVERYTHING! There are no shades of gray with her, only black and white. In politics, there are only Republicans and "Damncrats". There are NO 3rd parties, even though I rattled off a list of 10, 3rd parties to her during our argument. I am proud of the fact that, after a lifetime of argument, I have finally got my Mom to admit that "maybe some" gays are born that way, instead of consciously choosing their sexual orientation. I should have quit arguing with her while I was ahead!
At this point, I'm sure you're all thinking the Sorting Hat would send me to the house of Slytherin. Part II of my rambling thoughts will deal with my Hufflepuff side of the family.