I tell you what weirds me out.
Me “I just had a great chat with your daughter. She’s an interesting kid.”
The Mum “Thank-you.”
Me “Wh…at? Why are you thanking me? I am talking about your daughter not you.”
That’s when I back away and talk to an actual grown up. Someone who does not think they are the same person as their child.
When people say positive things about my kids you know what I say? ‘I’ll tell them.’
(Actually, that’s not what I always say. If someone is blowing smoke up my children’s arse in an attempt to flatter me I respond ‘My children are hideous’ or ‘actually, if you got to know him better you would find out he’s a bit of a cunt.’)
I have never once told my children I am proud of them.
Am I the ONLY person who has a problem with people saying they are ‘proud’ of other people? Particularly their children. It infers a sense of ownership and propriety which exposes a feeding off other’s achievement and the bestowing of approval suggesting an inflated idea of what their opinion is worth. Strangers tell me they are proud of me all the time. It’s almost as if they expect me to be grateful for their approval.
Despite not knowing anything about these people, their values, their morals, how they live their lives, their arrogance embedded offering is staggering.
Happened last week at the pool. ‘I am proud of you for what you did on Go Back To Where You Came From.’
Often the ‘I’m proud of you’ I get from strangers includes an unwanted and inappropriate familiarity, a hug a bit too long or a bit too hard, a knowing look and more emphasis on the ‘I’ than the ‘you’ in the ‘I am proud of you’ sentence. Gives. Me. The. Creeps.
The expected response is a humble and grateful ‘Thank-you.’ I respond ‘Why? I didn’t do it for you. I did it for myself.’
Occasionally strangers tell me they are proud of something I’ve done but chastise me for something else. Just in case I get too up myself.
‘I was proud of you on Q&A but the swearing is unnecessary.’
‘Okay! Thank you so much for your unsolicited feedback. I’ll take that on and will do my best to meet your approval next time. Please accept my humble apologies for not meeting your expectations total stranger who’s value system and motivation I know nothing about.’
FUCK OFF YOU’RE NOT MY REAL DAD!
This ‘proud of you’ thing has always given me the ick. ‘You are living your life in a way I approve and I will award you by bestowing my blessing’. What is inferred is and ‘if you don’t live your life in a way I approve I won’t. And you will be sad. Because my approval and blessing is worth a great deal.’ The clutchy assertion of ownership is revolting too.
I never tell my kids I’m proud of them. If they achieve something I say I am thrilled their hard work has paid off. You can only be proud of yourself.
Embedded in the sentence ‘I am proud’ of you is a vanity and desire for behavioral control that is unhealthy. It’s social pressure to conform to ideas of what people should do and be delivered via carrot as opposed to stick.
Why do so many people confuse approval with love?
So often movies and narratives hinge on the ‘all I ever wanted was for my parents to tell me they were proud of me’. FUCKING WHY? Who cares? Live your life how you choose. If people live their lives hungering for approval from withholding parents they are not living their lives. They are living a life in a way they hope will get The Magical Tick Of Approval.
Based on what? What are these people’s credentials other than being the approval wanters parents.
People will often moan to me that they wished their parents approved of them or their choices. More often than not their parents are failures with rotten lives. I say ‘Why do you give a shit? Their life and choices are terrible. They have lived a horrible life and made bad choices. How is their opinion worth anything?’
The other side of the ‘I’m proud of you’ coin is this; when people say you’ve changed it means you are no longer living life their way.
The ‘proud’ thing is simply control. Praise trolling. Encouraging approval junkies and people living lives that others want them too. Never once asking themselves ‘What do I want to do? What makes me happy?’