I overheard an interesting phone conservation on the way home today. There was a young man on the train who was talking to his friend “Jen.” Evidently, Jen had been going through some troubles with her mom. The young man told Jen, “You can’t let your mom dictate your life! She is trying to control you with her approval and her money. That’s no way to live.”
It reminded me of a lesson I learned several years ago. I had to let my parents go as my sole source of emotional fulfillment. When I was a child, the right order was for them to provide for all my emotional needs. I would go to them when I was sad, angry, or upset. As I have gotten older, I have learned to put our relationship in the proper place. I still go to them when I am sad, angry, or upset, but I also know that I can’t rely just on them for my emotional satisfaction. That goes both ways—I can’t be their source of emotional satisfaction. I do not have the power nor the responsibility to make them happy.
I told this story to a friend, and he asked “Was Jen Asian?” I couldn’t tell, but when the train went underground, the guy’s phone cut out. When Jen called back, a picture (I assume of her) showed up on the screen. The picture was of an Asian girl.