What Kind Behaviour Is This?

This is about my step mom because she just baffles me. Sometimes, it feels like she’s two different people. The first person is the kind, soft-spoken, endearing, mannerly woman in the presence of complete strangers or in front of the cashiers at grocery stores (anywhere where only short chit chat is sufficient before you continue with your own life and will probably never have to see that person again) and the second person is the irritable, mean, condescending witch of a woman amongst my dad, my sis and me. For example, she wanted me to take her driving so I could practice and boy was it hell as I had to once again subject myself to her insults for my crappy driving (ironically the kid is the more hesitant one, but maybe there is some kind of connection with my hesitation to drive and her cursing at me?). I’ll admit it, I’m not a perfect driver and I guess I should be grateful that she is allowing me to use her car, but god she is so impatient and so readily hurls insults. I think my step mom used the words “stupid” and “idiot” more times than she actually referred to my name. I think she gets more upset and irritable in the parking lots because that’s when she’s concerned about keeping the other impatient people waiting and I so conveniently confuse my left with my right. I don’t know what happens to my brain. When I’m reversing into a parking space, my mind sort of goes blank and I just mindlessly turn the wheel to a direction and just say to myself “oh god let it be the right way” and of course, this is all happening amid the continuous barrage insults coming from the passenger seat. And of course I **** up. And the funniest worst thing (in an ironic kind of way) is that she thinks I deliberately do it. She calls me “stubborn,” when in fact I’m just a moron who can’t tell his left from his right when driving in reverse.

So after this little feud and a few more insults, we go into the grocery store and she engages herself into a conversation with a customer service worker and she’s another person. She’s kind, sweet, she’s actually smiling, she’s raised the pitch of her voice etc. A completely different person. Sometimes I wonder who the real personality is. Hell, I wonder if she stares up at the ceiling at night and wonders who she really is.

Here’s my theory. She wants to believe that she is the only good person in our house and the rest of the family are a bunch of conspiring, evil-doers. She cannot distinguish between blatant mistake and an actual malicious attack aimed towards her. My mom is the type of person who will actually yell at you for falling down the stairs (she did to my sister), saying we're going to ruin the steps. Can we help it if we’re clumsy idiots? Hell, as a child my step-mom would even hit me while “helping” me with my homework. I remember I was crying after she hit me because I was too stupid to spell the word “THE.” Three letters, I know I sucked. But anyway, she always thinks we’re trying to attack her out of some malicious intent. My mom is also obsessed with appearance. If the outside is sparkling, you can deceive anyone even if the inside rots. That’s why she’s obsessed with manners. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in having manners if you believe in the good in having them. I mean, I could just out of habit ask someone how was their day when I honestly don’t give a damn about their day as I’m already distracted by my own day’s endless list of failures. I don’t want to bs anyone. I want to be honest. However, I do see the good in just passing someone on the streets and saying “hi" because it’s like, you’re actually acknowledging someone’s existence. But my step mom, does it ( I theorize) to solidify her faux appearance. A lot of people don’t look twice and appearance sometimes gets accepted as reality. You see, when my step mom acts kind and smiles, the other person reciprocates by acting kind and smiling too. At the end of the day when she recalls on all the people through the day who have smiled back at her through her deceiving ways she is able to support her delusional idea that she is the only true, virtuous one in this house and the rest of us are a bunch of conniving a$$holes.

So does anyone know specifically the kind of behavior my step mom exhibits? Also, I think I should note that I don't want to say my step mom is a bad person, but just has bad qualities (if that makes me sound less of a spoiled brat who is complaining about their parents).

SirMugatu SirMugatu
22-25, M
1 Response Mar 9, 2010

This is actually pretty common, and i don't think it classifies as a personality disorder in the least. All people function depending on the group that they are in. So, in the case of your mother, she has her "Family Group", Her "Public Group" and maybe her "Work Group"- Just any kind of setting that is a common occurrence and is distinct from others. SO, depending on the persons personality, as well as the group he/she is in, there will be a different mask that person puts on. Your mom seems to be the type of person that needs to be accepted, but would like to be dominate. So, while out in public, its not really possible for her to go out and be the "King of the Castle" so she acts with kindness to be accepted in a situation where trying to be in control would put her in a bad position. But when its in a home environment where the social structure is much, much smaller then most others, she can exert her dominance- and it sounds like her way of doing that is by making sure you, or your dad or whoever feels worse which gives her the feeling of being in control of that person. It's probably how her parents were too when she was a kid, so its how she's learned to interact in that kind of environment. That's just my theory, but whatever the case may be, don't be so hard on yourself bud. Everyone sucks at driving when they first start, and it'd be hard for anyone to get better while being told they suck. Just know that you are whatever YOU decide, so don't let a negative influence try and steer you in the wrong direction.