When your bad habit is hereditary

When your bad habit is hereditary

All of us come from a family of ___fill in he blank__. I–for instance–come from a family of little jabs. They’re sort of like backhanded compliments…only without the compliment. It’s an insult pretending not to be an insult wrapped in guilt. See Exhibit A.

Exhibit A: I think it would be easier if you drive to me. You don’t have a kid so you don’t understand how difficult it is to drive 18 miles with a toddler.

*The person then proceeds to suggest a meet up spot that is 4.6 miles from them, and 26 miles from you.*

First, there’s the “you don’ have a kid” jab, which isn’t really a jab since it’s a personal choice but nonetheless, it makes the other person (me) feel guilty, making it near impossible to reject driving even farther to appease them.

The other spectacular effect of coming face-to-face with a family member’s little jab is that you will, in most cases, refrain from arguing back to keep the peace. You’ll ask yourself: is it really worth it? Eventually, it becomes apparent that people’s little jabs come from a place of dissatisfaction within their own lives.

This is exactly the kind of guilt-tripping that makes you take your mom with you on your romantic couple’s vacation.

Exhibit A is a true anecdote, by the way. I can’t come up with insults tied up with numbers in one breath. Well–according to the bf I can. I am known to dole these little guys out myself from time to time, just not to my family. Which is sad, honestly, because I know how they make me feel when they’re used on me. But is this something I can stop in its tracks?

Is this a woman thing?

Is this an Indian woman thing?

Is it hereditary?

Is it a curse?

I’ll let you know when our youngest family members are old enough to speak.

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Mahjabeen Syed

Mahjabeen is an essayist, young adult librarian, book reviewer, and storyteller. She has a BA in creative writing and an MA in library and information science. She loves to laugh, talk books, and send you unsolicited photos of her cats. Learn more at mahjabeensyed.com or on Twitter @WMagicS

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