Saturday, 18 February 2017

A horrified shudder

People have very opposite reactions when they're told they're "just like their father" or "just like their mother". If they adore their father or mother, they're flattered and pleased to be told they take after them. If they don't get on with their parents, they're horrified at the very thought there might be a resemblance.

Personally I'm in the horrified category. I'm all too aware of my parents' vices and struggle to think of their virtues. The idea that I'm like them in any way makes me shudder. I prefer to think they're totally different from me and I don't resemble them in the slightest. What a suggestion!

I'd love to be able to say I take after my father and that gives me huge satisfaction, but I absolutely can't say that. I can think of many other fathers I would be happy to resemble, but my own father isn't in the running. In fact I try my hardest to be as unlike him as I possibly can. If I catch myself displaying any of his familiar habits, I cut them short.

Of course he always wanted me to take after him, and he was very put out that I aspired to be someone quite dissimilar. He took it as a big insult that I didn't look up to him and hang on his every word. He could never understand that I was an independent person who saw the world in my own unique way.

My role models were always people outside my family - friends, teachers, rock stars, impressive public figures. Those were the people I admired and copied, the people whose qualities I hoped I could absorb. I never saw my parents as role models, only as rather harassed guardians.

Boy, did I have a crush on Marc Bolan....

26 comments:

Rummuser said...

Whenever I am told that my son looks just like me, I always respond - "Thank God for that. I am glad that he does not look like the milkman!"

Nick said...

Ramana: But the milkman might be stunningly suave and good-looking....

Anonymous said...

I was always be told by my parents that I was an unique "self" thinking person and so was my brother. We grew up free making our own experiences and our parents showed us their love which contributes in a large part in our confidence
in life.Concerning my own children I follow the same way, they are independant beings and will make their way, even if I must confess with a little foolish smile that my son is a miniature of his dad.
Mia More

Nick said...

Mia: You seem to have exactly the right approach - you recognise that your kids are independent beings and not just a copy of their parents. And is your son happy to be a miniature of his dad?

Anonymous said...

My son is still too young, when I say he is a miniature of his dad means that he looks physically like him. Very Black curled hair and very clear blue eyes, but his character is really not the same.
Mia More

Nick said...

Mia: Ah, I see! I'm physically like my father as well, but there the resemblance ends....

Bijoux said...

I would only be offended if someone said I acted like my mother. Probably won't happen since so few people know both of us and my husband and children know better!

Nick said...

Bijoux: I'm 100% sure you're nothing like your mother. How's that?

Jenny Woolf said...

I sometimes wonder what it would have been like if I had had an identical twin, someone who was genetically identical. The reason is that I have long been puzzled as to why some identical twins are inseparable and utterly adore each other, and others are at daggers drawn. I think it is something to do with the dominant aspects of one's personality. With parents, they are hopefully sufficiently different in enough ways not to clash too much. Or something. Sorry, this sounds a bit muddled! As I say, I haven't quite got my head around it...

Nick said...

Jenny: I don't know much about identical twins, but I always had the impression they got on famously because they both thought and felt alike. Clearly I was mistaken!

CheerfulMonk said...

Someone once said I looked like my mother and it warmed my heart. We were different in a lot of ways, but I loved her deeply.

Nick said...

Jean: That's nice.

Maria said...

I was once told I resembled my father, I said, "not his mustache, I hope!" However he was a kind loving father and I was happy with that.
Greetings Maria x

Nick said...

Maria: Yes, a moustache wouldn't be very flattering, would it? And I doubt you'd want a bald patch or hairy legs either!

Wisewebwoman said...

I don't understand the narcissism of those who name children after themselves and not give them their own identities. Particularly boys. A huge burden for a child.

We all need to cherish our differences in a world of conformity.

XO
WWW

Nick said...

www: Do you mean taking their parents' surname or taking a parent's first name? I do find it strange when a child is given the same first name as their parent. Apart from being confusing, it must discourage a separate identity, as you say.

Dave Martin said...

I always felt insulted if someone said "you're just like your father", but in some ways I am. However, in many ways I do my best to make sure I'm not.
I see a lot of myself in my son, both good and bad. I just hope he doesn't feel offended if he's told he's like me.

Nick said...

Dave: I'm sure that if your son loves his dad, he won't be at all offended at the idea that he's like you!

tammy j said...

late to the party again here nick. I had to get over some nasty little bug. not the flu because it didn't last that long.
I hate to be a Pollyanna.
because I think our parents truly are the 'luck of the draw.'
and the marine and I were totally lucky.
our mother was simply adorable in every way. and funny? OMG. and our father was a no nonsense insanely strict disciplinarian. you would think that would be a total turn off. but he had such amazing qualities of leadership and integrity... we just loved him.
their only sin... they both smoked and so... died way too early. such a stupid loss.
cigarettes are my sworn enemy.
I often wonder what it would have been like to know them when I was an adult.
and... marc bolan????
I had to look him up.
oh my. I relate to you in every way but rock.
I clearly was born into the wrong era. I should have come of age in the war years. 30's to late 40's. jazz and ballads too. I love that era.
I love that music. it had heart. it wasn't sappy. it had great style and feeling. I have just never gotten all the yelling and screaming and repeating one phrase and unintelligible mumblings of rock music!!! sorry! LOLOL!
he was pretty cute though with all those ringlets.

Nick said...

Tammy: Marc Bolan would still be with us (aged 69) if he hadn't died tragically in a car accident at 29. I loved his music. A shame you don't like rock music!

It's good that you loved your parents so much. Your dad sounds an interesting mixture of strictness and integrity. My father also smoked, and died of lung cancer at 70.

helen devries said...

I was given the same name as my mother as it was thought she would die after giving birth. As soon as I could I abandoned the name.
I have never heard the end of her ordeal over the years since and sincerely hope that the name is the only resemblance.

Nick said...

Helen: I sincerely hope so too! My father was very partial to grievances. They would last for decades as he had a photographic memory and never forgot anything.

Ms Scarlet said...

A therapist once said to me : You're you, not them. Which should tell you all you need to know about how I feel about this subject!
Sx

Nick said...

Scarlet: Very true. However much people are told they're like one of their parents, if you know them well you can see it's nonsense.

baili said...

oh that is little sad for me that your father did not look at you as an independent individual .i wonder may be he did it to protect you as parents often do .
sometimes lack of good positive communication creates such gaps between family members and they feel hard to express their actual feeling in correct manner

Nick said...

Baili: There was certainly a lack of positive communication. He objected to many of my views and attitudes and made no effort to understand them, or even to agree to disagree. I envy those who have had warmer and more receptive fathers.