Rory writes: “Why do some mothers believe they know their children inside out when it is blatantly obvious they cannot and more so if they have had very little contact with them – what is it that makes them think – they know them forever? Is it a mother’s bond or is that purely poppycock? Is it perhaps more a case of wishful thinking … what?
When do you think and at what point would you say that a person knows another person by a good 85% if not more and if at all – what qualifies another to say something like ‘I know them forever?’” ~~~ as found on Melanie’s post here.
Well, I wouldn’t stop at “mothers”…as it seems almost every one thinks that they know more than they actually do and men are the greatest at knowing the mostest. But, sticking to mothers ~ and spouses/sig.others ~ because it’s more about intimacy or a simulation of it, than anything else.
I am the exception to the rule; I don’t pretend to know my children or even my friends. I’ve always been fascinated with the cry of family members and some friends that they have ‘known’ someone and they’d ‘never’ do such and such – blah, blah.
Here’s the thing: when any of us ‘get to know’ someone, and that includes a brand-new someone who is a blank slate, we are getting to know the someone that we are shown – by them. Sure, children are more transparent – at first – but that quickly changes when they realize that they can become more…sneaky, or lie, or think that the parent/adult doesn’t know because they ‘didn’t see’ and that’s how it all starts. We all do it. Okay, most of us do it. From starting to lie, etc., it’s just an evolution for all of us of pushing the envelope to expand our boundaries, to find out who we really are, what we’re made of and how much we dare. And don’t we all gravitate toward those with whom it seems we have some common interests? And since that’s how the dance starts, why would either dance partner shake that up?
It’s a slippery slope when someone thinks they know someone else. I can understand how spouses or ‘couples’ would adopt that conviction; after all, they live together, sleep together, eat together, brush their teeth side-by-side, etc. One would think that after a few years of that you’d ‘know’ someone but I take a cue from observing and it seems to me there are a lot of people who think they ‘know’ someone who are later so shocked at a behavior or something said, what ever. I’d think that more people would at least hold some reservation, some margin for error about the people that they think they know.
Also, when some “Surprise!,” your husband’s a child molester, having an affair, or squandered every penny you thought you had shared, there’s usually a bread-crumb trail leading right up to this point – only had one been paying attention and not taking their partner/relationship for granted. And that’s all part of the problem; we are all so busy, so immersed in our work or other activities that we don’t really pay attention to small details. Plus, who doesn’t, when in love (or really, really like), assume all the good details and subconsciously disregard the negative ones? Don’t see, don’t notice, didn’t hear the tiny clues?
I remember reading a blog post, I think it was, I’m really trying to remember the details because it was a smart idea, where the guy relayed that he and his newish-girlfriend went on a backpacking trip for weeks; carry everything you need on your back, sleep in tents, filter water for drinking and eating, shit in the woods, out beyond ‘civilization’ (of coarse it’s a good way to be murdered too, speaking of ‘knowing’ someone) to see if they were compatible. I thought, “Good one”, because if you want to ‘know’ someone, put them in an uncomfortable place for a period of time and see how they break, along what lines, how they display frustration and see to what behavior they resort.
Everything is rosy as long as we are all comfortable and getting along. As soon as the shit hits the fan, it all changes.
Back to mothers and
my the answer; it’s probably not unlike men bragging about something; the biggest fish, the most lucrative job, how many women they’ve laid. It’s about competition and being viewed through a flattering lens. Mothers are not immune to what other people think, especially since they are the most judged humans on earth, so naturally women, whose “job” it is to raise children, often alone, having devoted ‘the best years of their lives’ to birthing and growing other humans, like to feel that they have some insight into these very same people. If you’ve never seen any news or video or movies, let me tell you, any mother of a rapist or murder or what-evil-have-you are vilified. Same for wives. It’s been this way since the dawn of time. Not likely to change even with enlightenment.
We’d do better to distance ourselves when those baby birds start to flap their tiny wings because we do not REALLY know them once they start growing older, thinking for themselves, learning behaviors from others (family, friends, schoolmates, TV, etc.) and generally becoming. *I wrote a post with a similar perspective and when I find it, I’ll link it. They are their own person. We are not responsible for what they think and say and do. And once they leave the nest…you know them even less.