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Thread: How relationships define you

  1. #1
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    How relationships define you

    There was a thread somewhere a while back about wether or not people defined themselves by their jobs. I can’t find it. This is more about how people define you by the role you play in their lives. I’m thinking about it because I am about to become my d❤️Gs’s Teacher.

    I have an uncle who sees himself as the patriarch of the family and still refers to my 51 y.o. Cousin, my brother, and me as “children”.

    i stayed home to raise and homeschool my kids, and being their mom is still central to who I am. But I had an interesting conversation with my girls this weekend.

    i was talking to dd1 about one of my classes, and she said “you know, it says something about this family that you’ve managed to hold down the same job for ten years and we still think of you as unemployed.” At which my younger Dd chimed in “I know, someone asked me the other day ‘is your mom in a creative field?’ and I was like ‘no, she’s a home...oh wait, yeah. She teaches pottery.’ Do you have an art degree?”

    uh, no. I have a degree in early childhood education, psych minor. But thanks for remembering I went to college?

    one of the reasons I desperately wanted to get away from my home town was that everyone defined me as the granddaughter of one of my two grandfathers - depending on what social circle I was in. All of my teachers “knew” me before they ever met me. I wore priveledge like a straightjacket and despised all my “peers” for using it. And when I found my own place, I have followed my father’s lead “I will help your (school, organization, program...) on the condition that I get no formal title or role and my name appears nowhere.” There have actually been occasions in 4h where I have lied about my identity or roll. In one case I did some emergency repairs and later was asked about them by someone who knew i’d been around. Later that day a dad friend who is known for his willingness to pitch in asked me if I had done it, and when I confessed he said “I figured. Some lady just thanked me.”

    I won a student presented award two years ago. It made me feel really good that the students chose me, but actually receiving the award was very uncomfortable. I’d love to be nominated again, but I never want to win another one! In fact, I was told I was nominated (but not chosen) this year and I told the teacher in charge “that’s great! If I ever come up again, could you just encourage them to pick someone else because I already won?” (Which was the argument this year apparently).

    In general, I find other people’s expectations very uncomfortable, and I kind of like that my kids forget I have a job. “Mom” is really the only role I want defining me. Even “wife” doesn’t fit well, and “partner” and “lover” have their own implications....

    what are your roles? How do you feel about them and how do they impact your life?

  2. #2
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    Oh shoot, the title got messed up. Moderator? Can you chop it after “...define you”?

  3. #3
    Simpleton Alan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chicken lady View Post
    Oh shoot, the title got messed up. Moderator? Can you chop it after “...define you”?
    Done!
    "Things should be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler." ~ Albert Einstein

  4. #4
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    I get it. I was raised in a small town where my family had lived since 1845. Lots of expectations based on my last name.

    I love living elsewhere.

  5. #5
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    I am considered the "dad" of the family (my father passed away more than 20 years ago). It apparently is a mantle I do not wear well. I know what it means but I am not sure I want the role and I'm not sure that the steps I know of to get out of that role are okay with me.
    Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome. - Booker T. Washington

  6. #6
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    Wife, mom, step mom, teacher and I am fine with it. I have 2 stepsons and one I am very close to because he lived with us during his teen years.

  7. #7
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    I have a similar but opposite insight from my DD. She told me a while ago that when she's a parent she's never going to define her kids. She felt that being labelled negatively affected her, even when characterized with positive attributes: "You're the smart one." "You're a redhead--you must be feisty!" I know that DH and I are guilty of that. We have 4 kids, and they also each have their "roles."

    I define myself as a codependent personality when it comes to many of my relationships.

    My kids define me as "rock of the family" (no pressure there! . Behind my back they probably define me the same way I define myself (see above). I think what I've given them is more in the intangible department.. I'm not a good housekeeper, and I'm a very ok-at-best cook, so they aren't going to look back on any Mom-as-Martha-Stewart memories.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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  8. #8
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    I liked being a member of my extended family, the clan that was centered in one Iowa county. But it didnt define me, and I had no problem moving away. Moving away for jobs was a fun and necessary event.

  9. #9
    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    I am trying to figure out what my definition is, now.

    I was with the same person as a couple for over 40 years, starting when she was 14. We grew up together, became adults together, made a family together. She's gone now, and I am trying to understand who I, as an individual, am.

    For ages, I was "the other half" of a pair. I was the husband and father. And I was the one who took care of everyone, protected them, provided for them. Sucked it up and set aside many of my hopes and dreams and desires to keep people happy and safe.

    I let this care-giver role define me perhaps too much.

    So now, I'm considering being a bit more self-oriented, and not constantly sacrificing for others.

  10. #10
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bae View Post

    ... I was the one who took care of everyone, protected them, provided for them. Sucked it up and set aside many of my hopes and dreams and desires to keep people happy and safe.

    I let this care-giver role define me perhaps too much.

    So now, I'm considering being a bit more self-oriented, and not constantly sacrificing for others.
    Good idea. If anything good can come out of your annus horribilis, maybe you can return to those dreams deferred, or indulge in new ones.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

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