Sometimes my mother would act strangely.
I remember when she told me that she remembered when my tiny behind could fit entirely into her hand, and that for that reason she did not have to listen to anything I said. I did not follow the logic, but since I certainly could not remember when my behind was that small, she had me.
It seems that wherever I go, whatever clinical situation I have found myself in, my female colleagues on the staff eventually start talking about mothers and daughters.
The following statistic is not from valid research mind you – just from casual observation – but every mother wants to have a daughter just like her.This does not happen, as I patiently explained to my mother, because of the DNA getting all jumbled up through something called genetic recombination. I would probably have a daughter who was as charming as Great Aunt Gussie, the woman who had stolen the family inheritance and had not been known to be particularly polite in polite society either.
The fact that mothers and daughters are genetically different is only one reason moms just never get someone “just like” them. Mothers and daughters grow up in different eras. A woman of my mother’s era may feel that her professional options were limited — teacher or nurse, maybe, but these were generally some sort of “skill builders” until Mr. Right came along.
My mother told me that her mother wanted to do something vaguely medical, even had some kind of an interest in laboratory analysis. But she ended up being some kind of a religious philanthropist, starting Jewish institutions. Nice, but not hands-on caring for other people, if that is where your passion is.
There are other differences, in family and upbringing, that are too great to describe. Here is a superficial if not-otherwise bad article on this from our friends at Good Housekeeping and Web MD.
But wait, there’s more. Consider the 32-year-old woman with allegedly healthy five and seven year old children at home, who said she was wildly depressed because her mother did not visit, did not come around at all, and could not seem to have a good, happy relationship with her.
I asked her the obvious question. What kind of activities did she enjoy with her mother? I tried not to jump when I heard the response.
“Armed Robbery.” Read more on Family Bonding As Outlaws…
It was not the first time I had spoken with this attractive, fifty-ish woman. The first time this co-worker had come into my office at the clinic where we both worked “to say hello.” She occasionally stopped by to report to me one of her great successes with a patient. Often she would also tell me how wonderful I was. But this time, her pleasant visit ended with a real break-down, reducing this lady to teary exclamations about how horrible her job was. The tears and complaints spilled out so fast that she soon was complaining about how rotten her entire life was.
I knew this person was a cracker-jack therapist — one of the best I had known, ever. Until then, I didn’t know she was also miserable, with the worst and loneliest professional life I had heard of in a while — divorce and abandonment from men who sounded as if they had not been as resourceful and energetic and smart as she was.
It was a clear – and severe – case of professional burnout. Of course, that’s not a real psychiatric diagnosis. She may have needed something for depression or anxiety or both, but there was no way — none at all — I would ever consider thinking in those terms about a coworker, no matter how much I liked her. Read more on Burning Out On The Job…