Every family makes rules. Some of these rules are well stated, some are not and both represent good values and living for the most part.
For as many stated rules and values there are many more meta-rules (unspoken rules) that often contradict each other and are passed on generationally. Some of the inter-generational rules may blend with regional rules.
When I was 21 years old my Aunt passed away. She was in her 40s. I went to my bedroom in my childhood home and cried for twenty minutes. When I emerged to be with my stone-faced parents watching television they treated me like a weirdo (all unspoken).
For more on the New England mindset: https://psychesweather.wordpress.com/2017/03/07/exploring-perception-a-new-england-mindset/
In 1990 I changed part of my name to rid myself of a suffix – junior. I had considered the change for ten years but had decided against it because I knew my father’s feeling would be hurt and discounted my feelings. When I put myself in the equation I broke a big rule.
My father’s influence in my life was both positive and negative mixed together. Sometimes it was possible to disconnect one from the other and sometimes not. In retrospect I see how my fears of punishment from my father were transferred onto the authority of the county courts and to a lesser degree the DMV.
It was my own fear of my father’s (wrath) authority
In November of 2017 I broke another family meta-rule, which states roughly: work hard, don’t draw attention to your self and be invisible in the world at large. I ordered a “specialty license plate” or more commonly known as a vanity plate – the 1960 Legacy plate with dark brown background and yellow lettering. It took nearly ten months to decide to order one. Feelings began to arise that I was doing something wrong, that I would be punished for drawing attention to myself.
It was my own fear of my father’s (wrath) authority – even though he passed on my 55th birthday in 2006 that helped create the following events:
On the DMV website they wrote that it would be a maximum of 12 weeks before a Vanity plate could be in my possession. When those 12 weeks passed I called the DMV and found it was a 3 to 4 month wait.
I received a notice that the plate had arrived at the designated DMV office so I made an appointment on-line. A few days later I received a summons to jury duty. Jury duty fell in the same week as my appointment. Would I have to reschedule my DMV appointment, would there be enough time? The info I received from the DMV indicated that I would have to pick-up my plate within 30 days or I would not get it. A good friend reminded me that I was complaining and that I could stand in line like everybody else.
I regressed into a super anxious sixteen year old rebelling…
I had to inform my clients with appointments for the week of March 12th through the 16th that I had to be on-call for jury duty. Except for one emergency appointment all other appointments were cancelled or re-scheduled.
I was directed to call the info line each evening after 5 pm to find out whether I would be called in for jury duty on the following day. I called Sunday evening for Monday – no jury duty. I called Monday evening for Tuesday – no jury duty. I spoke to a person Tuesday afternoon who said that my number was high and it was likely I wouldn’t be called – so I would be off the hook by Thursday evening. I called Tuesday evening for Wednesday – no jury duty.
…I became my father and went into authority – lording it over another.
Wednesday I kept my DMV appointment and I did stand in-line until I saw a sign that read: “appointments this line only” and went into a different line – a shorter line – got a number – waited more and was able to finish my DMV business in an hour and get my plates.
I had lessons to be learned. I learned them the hard way.
I called Wednesday evening for Thursday. – no jury duty. I called Thursday evening for Friday – and was told to call back on Friday between 11:15 am and noon for “reporting instructions”. I felt my chain was being yanked at that point. I called Friday during the appointed time – and I was finally freed from jury duty. It wasn’t just the waiting it was the anxiety of dealing with two government agencies (authority figures aka my arbitrary father) that triggered crazy emotions in me. I regressed into a super anxious sixteen year old rebelling against authority and not winning. I feel sad for that sixteen year-old kid.
Being visible is a strange feeling
It didn’t stop there. The following week I became my father and went into authority – lording it over another. That incident ended in tragedy to which I bear my part in the interaction. And I had brought it on myself. I had lessons to be learned. I learned them the hard way.
As a automobile driver I am fairly responsible, either driving responsibly or going with the flow. Its difficult and dangerous being around drivers who are behaving irresponsibly with their cars and I usually move into a defensive posture with high awareness. Driving with the new plate I picked up on others judgments and also emotions of curiosity too. I checked myself for becoming arrogant while driving because I was “entitled” with my vanity plate and let go. Being visible is a strange feeling.
I am still working with my emotions around being visible with the new plate. It’s a process