Lately, I have been interested in mother-son relationships (that is, in addition to generally being interested in father-daughter relationships). I haven’t come across any detailed, interesting literature on the same, so I think I’ll be turning to Freud to understand it better.
Anyhow, in the meantime, I decided to take a father-daughter relationship test, and some of the answers don’t seem to fit my relationship with my dad too well. Here’s a question that I felt I couldn’t answer suitably–
Your father criticizes you for something…
- You pretend not to hear
- You try to win back his respect
- You try to soften him up with a winning smile
- Pot, kettle black.
Before I talk about which answer would suit my relationship with dad, I feel like there is some sort of unconscious priming in the answers. It seems to accuse every woman of having at least one of four sorts of troubled relationships with her father. As I see it, most of these psychology tests are most appropriate when taken by adults who are beyond their early 20s. The brain is known to reach a stage of ‘full maturity’ between the years of 23-25. Taking psychology tests anytime before such maturity approaches, in my opinion, could convince a young person of a false, cemented image of the self, which is harder to uproot. I say false because, it is, relatively easy and highly possible, for a young person who has not attained brain maturity to resolve such issues in themselves by becoming self-aware through introspection and deliberate efforts to resolve issues within their minds and still-forming personalities.
In the options given for the above posed query, the first option seems to suggest a mechanism of ignoring your father and what he to say so as to not let it hurt you. Even though you are consciously aware that his point of view of the situation is critical and not objective, you do not value the fact that the observation is presented to you by your own father- your parent and a member of your most immediate and earliest notion of family by shutting out the possibility of dialogue and acknowledgment. It is to not value that relationship, which is of primal relevance. The second suggests a deep-seated need to win his approval by appeasement, while the third suggests the method of superficial pleasing. I find the fourth option to be suggestive of utmost sadness. It suggests self-awareness as well as an awareness of the other person, but in all honesty, it seems to me that it is mere judgment of the self as well as the other. It is to have no respect for your father or for yourself.
I’m in my very early 20s, and I realize that my sense of self is still evolving. It is at a critical stage, which when coupled with honest self-awareness, could help me create an incurably healthy sense of my self. Evaluating my relationship with dad, I think that, if at all my father is critical of me, I would make a real effort to hear him out before I point out to him that his point of view is critical. I would, with the usage of words and tone that is can be related to, by both of us, present my side of the story. I value the relationship I have with him, and am of the opinion that he has my best interests in mind while still viewing the world through the viewpoint that he has adopted as a result of his experiences. In the past, making sure that I follow this conscious route in the conversation has strengthened my relationship with dad by creating a sense of frankness in our relationship, and mutual respect in both our minds. In fact, it discourages him from being critical in conversations that follow, and instead, urges him to ask me the reason for behaving a certain way. For instance, he avoids chiding me and doling out verdicts like ‘What you did was wrong! I think very low of it’. He’d rather call me up and ask me about what is troubling me about a certain situation. It makes me feel so understood, and I find the expression of my emotions validated and welcome.
My point of contention with this psychology test is, how I could I honestly represent my relationship with dad by choosing any of these options?