How your estimation of a person rises and falls

Graph_of_cubic_polynomialMy son is a teenager now. He’s trying to work things out. It gets dicey around here on occasion. I have no experience with hormonal boys and I’m frequently baffled, which can irritate me at times.

My son displays a range of emotions.  I know this is normal, but when we are cooped up in a small space for a period of time, I can feel almost seasick from it.  Too much Neptune, I guess.

Riding these waves, it occurred to me that a person’s estimation of another person tends to vary in a way that’s predictable.  When I say this, I am talking about myself and my own experience.  However, the pattern is typical for kids and parents and I suspect it plays in other interactions as well.

What happens is a kid thinks the parent is great and wonderful. At some point they find out this is  not the case.  They may  learn something about their parents that causes them to become disillusioned.  Or they may just become a teenager and all the sudden, their mom is a bitch and their father a jackass.

So they have that period and sometimes it last for years and years and years. Decades! In other cases it lasts a year or two, or whatever. Most people become more forgiving of their parents as they mature. It just hits them.

In some cases, it hits them after the parent is gone. The (adult) child decides dad was OKAY after all.  They appreciate him.

So that’s the pattern. You can see it play out all around, all the time, provided no tragedy occurs. Tragedy, like a parent dying prematurely which can jack this process.

What I realized is this same pattern plays out on this blog all the time. People come here and they like me…often times a lot.  Then something happens, and they hate me, often times a lot.

But they years pass and guess what?  They become forgiving.

I think this is worth keeping in mind if you are hating on someone right now. It’s probably a phase, lol.

Or hormones.

And if someone is hating on you – I hope this helps you to understand that it will pass. One way or the other, it’s not going to last.

Have you seen this pattern play in your life?

pictured – I called my son and drew the shape of this pattern. ‘What’s that shape called on a graph?”
“That’s a cubic polynomial, mom.”

28 thoughts on “How your estimation of a person rises and falls”

  1. 🙂 When I was a teen, I used to change my evaluation of people all the time. And I was prone to idealize, and then to devalue the people I was meeting. I think it’s a teenage thing, You know, hormonal or something like that. Good thing the teenage years pass eventually…

  2. What a great observation. It has been very true in my life. Taking that long view helps smooth out the emotional bumps along the way. Agreed.

  3. I had this weird sort of epiphany the other day about this. It dawned on me that some people’s opinion of me changes depending on how they’re feeling. If I’ve pissed them off…they don’t like me. If I’ve done something that makes them feel good…they think I’m great. It seems obvious now…but something clicked in my brain.

    I guess I just never internalized the idea that people actually do base their actions and opinions on emotions…that it is a way of life for them.

    I think it must cause them an awful lot of trouble in the long run. It’s one thing to be like that when you’re young…but once you get older wouldn’t it sorta screw a lot of your relationships up?

    At any rate, understanding this does make it easier to be friends with people like that.

  4. Oh yes. I see that pattern in my life perhaps more clearly now that ever! It’s probably that brilliant full moon lighting up my 7th House of relationships. I see it all other the place with and without my glasses (without which I am near legally blind:)) Since I am of an age where puberty, and menopause have eclipsed me but hormones live on within me I feel that cubic polynomial ride and sometimes buckle up, or wait and catch a smaller wave. Thanks for this insight as a mom, and as a blog-keeper.

  5. Teenage boys. Yes. Teenagers in general. I wish I could remember the name of the actress on the talk show that did a great rendition of her son’s grunts and groans in response to her. She had it down. It’s just the way it is. They need space to break away, but yet they still need their support system to be present and stable. And it can be sad, because we want them back.

    If a relationship is fluctuating to the point of distress, I usually can change my response to bring balance. But, and I feel like a judgemental ass for writing this, sometimes I can see no redeeming qualities in a person and I have to move on. It’s rare but it does happen. It’s not like I’m angry or wish them bad or anything, it’s just that I tried and I give up. And those folks are fine with it, probably because there was no commonality to start with.

  6. “I think it must cause them an awful lot of trouble in the long run. It’s one thing to be like that when you’re young…but once you get older wouldn’t it sorta screw a lot of your relationships up?

    At any rate, understanding this does make it easier to be friends with people like that.”

    yes Yolanda sky…it does screw relationships up!!

    it’s very relieving to see people grasping this basic truth:that some of us react to contact in this manner(pisces mercury in grand trine with moon and neptune),water all over,mercury opp.jupiter-uranus-pluto, neptune trine sun,no earth

    that’s exactly the way we tend to accept from teens and I’d say from babies:gut reactions, compulsions driving your decisions.
    in the same way, I’m astonished when someone I tend to like reacts “abnormally”(to me!) to something/someone, without the emotional trigger which leads my life.

    good news I want to share is that one can learn to manage it!!but before this, one has to see it clearly(and neptune is not that helpful..), and take responsibility for screwing up communication….recognize the different styles available

    some limits can’t be overcome, anyway it’s worth setting one’s own rules to meet people in the between-zone, and let the relationship happen

    in the case of a healthy teen(or pre-teen, such as my 12 year old niece), one has to contain their fluctuations and not take for granted anything from the very high or the very low tide:they’re finding their own balance.I find it very fascinanting:it’s the force of life and feeling, driving their perception of the world and shaping their personality

  7. Its so strange, I have been thinking this exact thing for a couple of months. Im using it to help me grow WITH people that I love and not away from them.
    When you introspect long enough you realize you have a pattern. I identified a tendency for claustrophobia and then jumping the gun, only to soon be disappointed, sad and lonely.
    Just like you said, hang on for people you’re hating on. A lot of times hate is a reflection of our own evolution, and a need to get away from the people we identify our ‘old selves’ with. When the fear of regression leaves, you feel a sustained love. Perhaps not always constant, but steady and loyal.
    Insightful as always Elsa!

  8. People come into my business and who knows what they are thinking when I first meet them. I try to get as much information as I can to provide the best and least expensive service I am able to. I am very easy to talk to. And I like to talk if they wish to do so. Some come in and are abrupt. Some come in and are friendly and leave me wishing they would quit talking so I can get to work. Either way I am always polite and try to please. But I have found that people either love me, or they hate me. The older I get the more I recognize this…. you either love or hate Scorpio, there is never any in between.

    A person could have something going on outside of what I can see to make them appear crabby ….. who knows. I know I try very hard to never react emotionally but its hard sometimes. I mean if you walk in my door and take your crap out on me because you just got into a fight with your husband…. well its not fair. I have no idea what I am fighting against…..???? And to base your opinion of me on your bad mood is about as ridiculous as it gets. I am very sensitive to peoples moods. I not only pick them up easily but if I am not careful I carry them with me ….sometimes for days. I really need one of those x-ray aprons you use at the dentist to block the stuff that shoots off people. (if only that worked I would wear one every day)

    Kids decide they can’t stand their parents somewhere between 14-17 years old. For my oldest it was the later number but my youngest decided to hate be by the time he was 14. And, they have both come around long ago. Since having children they have really come to understand. It’s like that with almost everything. You walk a mile in someone’s shoes and you are not going to hate them or judge them anymore.

    I have to deal with a lot of women. 90-95% of who I deal with are women. They come from all walks of life. Every age…. some of them are dragging kids with them….some are hardly able to get inside due to age…(god love em) I learned at a very young age how to deal with women. And I learned that contrary to popular belief women run the household and what goes on in it….usually the finances too….they usually have the final say in everything that goes on in their house. If a man walks in and gives me instructions and they seem to be off from what the woman’s previous instructions were….I call their house and double check. No offense….but the MRS has to be happy or I am going to have a BIG problem if she isn’t. And they are not easy to make happy. They want ridiculous things and silly things and some of the things that matter to them seem so trivial and stupid to me…..but I am going to do it. Which leads me to this ….I agree with Yolanda Sky….

    {I guess I just never internalized the idea that people actually do base their actions and opinions on emotions…that it is a way of life for them} ……

    And women are the ones with all the emotions…. and depending on the month, day, season….good grief they are all over the place. It’s hard to keep a lot of people happy. It’s helpful to see it in front of my face like this Elsa…. one way or the other its not going to last….

    This has to be true. I have had people leave only to call and want to come back. The hardest thing for me is allowing them back again. I have to work on that. Mostly I just block their call so they can never call me again. I really want to evolve….I want to be able to open the door again. I am not there yet….. someday…..someday…… this is the one area where I need the most work. Amputation is good if you are dealing with an all out nut. But its a character flaw when you use it because you can’t get past something silly. I have so much work to do. I am the most unforgiving person I know. A person should be allowed to have an off day, be an asshole and then be forgiven. Unless its family…. I am probably not going to forgive it when I really should. I am just happy that I can finally recognize this in myself and work on it….. you have to start somewhere.

  9. Your focus can change too or theirs. I’ve been called a saint for never bearing a grudge. And that was by people who admitted they’d treated me badly, and couldn’t understand why I didn’t seem to hold it against them. Thing is: at the time it truly did hurt and I did feel badly but – my focus changed. BTW: I am not talking about small slights. I mean, for example a person who so manipulated relationships within the family, scapegoating me, that innocent people, not involved, seemed never to get over it. But I did. Simply because I got interested in other things. And I have a Scorpio-Mars conjunction. But I apart from that, I’m very, very mutable. Sure comes in handy 🙂

  10. idealism is unrealistic sometimes and the pattern goes up and down. After feeling disappointment, feelings become neutral, then idealism is awakened again by a wondering state of mind and being surprised by how profound and uncommon something is about a person.

    It was extreme when I was a teenager because everything seems so dramatic at that age.

    Someone I used to work with would go to desperately poor countries as a Christian missionary and help the local people and I thought he was such a highly moral and religiously sincere man until he openly expressed very little compassion mixed with something like loathing for poor people here in his own country, and I resented that. It came across like he thought he was too good to help people here in his own country and preferred the sense of glory that came with seeming like a hero someplace far away where he could travel to exotic places and feel like he was changing the world and then comes back to this country and his heart is hardened to the people here who feel hopeless and starving, and he feels a lack of empathy as if they are to blame for their circumstances and they’re unworthy of compassion. I imagined he could walk past this kind of person and feel nothing if not the cruel feelings that they somehow were not suffering or that it was their own fault. It sometimes seemed more about how the grass is greener someplace else in terms of bringing god to people’s lives and hearts and he could show that healing love in those places far away but then the light seemed to grow dim when his heart seemed so closed to those all around him who have no place to live and nothing to eat. He lacked empathy for why poor people here may feel cynical or abandoned by society with the assumption that some social program must be helping them since he thought we live in what he described as a rich country, when really despite the wealth and resources there is nobody helping them… And then back to, well how sweet that he’s trying to do something for anyone in the world… etc.

  11. I work with animals and one of the dogs got very upset today. He’s a young male and I hope he’s better when I see him tomorrow. Because he has a nice stable home life I think he’ll be okay. When I worked in an animal shelter and an animal had a meltdown we had to be very careful.

  12. Yes, I’ve seen it play out. With my own children and in other areas of my life. The conclusion I’ve drawn is that it one of the first stages of a necessary separation. What I mean by that, a child is not meant to rely upon and stay with their parents forever. In order for that drive toward independence to occur, there has to be some sort of friction. A rubbing that pushes the child to strive to be on their own (along with parental encouragement to eventually leave the nest). I don’t think this plays out consciously. You know? I don’t think anyone realizes that is what is going on at the time. But, it is how it occurs, I think.
    The ways that it manifests, of course, is dependent upon the child and parent (among lots of other things). For the parent (basically from birth) it is a process of letting go. You kind of realize “this is how it should be” in that the kid is supposed to become more independent, learn to love you in their realization of your imperfections (just like you love them in spite of their imperfections) and start moving toward a life of their own. In essence, it is a process of maturity for both parent and child. By no means is it easy or comfortable. But, growing up is hard to do. <3

  13. And, of course, I should say an ideal situation would have the child learning to love you in spite of your imperfections. That doesn’t always happen. And, ideally, the parent realizes this is a process that is meant to be and can hold to faith of the child returning with renewed appreciation and understanding while they let go. But, that doesn’t always happen either. Sometimes the parent relentlessly clings in a desperate effort tot keep the child dependent, which just makes the situation worse. Either way, that’s what I see. Part of the process that is dependent upon how the process previously played out and all the choices we make along the way.

  14. Maybe the friend you lost, Elsa, who was dear to you, will reconnect with you sometime.
    She may miss the precious time you had together.
    When I am close to someone or get on well with them, sometimes it is unnerving when I find that they have a strongly differing opinion to me, especially if it is about something or someone that I feel deeply about…….
    I think that part of being a teenager is that they push their parents buttons. They can be up and down and all over the place. When they need you they want your help right now, but when they are “being grown up” if you treat them like a child you are in trouble. They test you, project scenarios onto you…. OMG…..then they grow up and leave home and you miss them.

    1. Thanks, Rosamund. I am hoping for that. I definitely think it’s possible.
      Also, if it happens, the relationship will probably be closer then it was.

  15. Today my son turns 18. He has taught me so much. When he was little he would say,”mom when you yell I can’t really hear what you are saying.” Last night I cried in front of him about it being his last birthday at home. He didnt say anything other then thanks when I left. My oldest son (Taurus, Aries, Scorpio) taught me alot as well!! In a different way. He would of screamed get out of my room if your going to cry – he would have apologized later but….) Teenagers can be so hard and wonderful at the same time

  16. Ahhh – Melancholy for myself and more…:)

    I have 3 sons biological and a step-son (25) that stayed often through childhoods of my built in’s. At this moment my 23 year old is back home for a time, one just turned 18 and the other 16. Big, big sigh! What a time in life this is – no more beautiful control..i.e what to eat, wear, dust off the hurt feelings with a kiss, tucking them in; now it is their turn to try, to forge, to consciously and unconsciously model what they have known and to create for themselves.

    As a single parent, raised as an ‘only’ as siblings were much older, I was the observer of adults, always and on the periphery of any angst. Heavens, my play was in watching dialogue and discourse. Not a super template for dealing with a bunch of boys!

    Every belief, philosophy and attitude has been challenged – by myself, at the end of the day, if not outwardly by one or all of ‘them’, HA! – The greatest of all learning, I must say.
    Through fire I have learned this – all what my Mother told me and more – but I had to learn it my way:
    ‘This too, shall pass’. This thought is a gift, use it often.
    ‘Sleep on it’. (in fact, 3 sleeps before any action, to truly settle into an opinion/action)
    ‘You learn something new everyday’. Including, that you can change your mind, as can other’s (am smiling, again). Oh, and sometimes, I know nothing whatsoever.
    ‘Be true to yourself’. Honour yourself, forgive yourself, trust yourself – these actions give you the strength and grace to love and respect others, especially when they are different than you (especially true of one’s children).
    and last but not least…..

    Your children are not your children.
    They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
    They come through you but not from you,
    And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

    You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
    For they have their own thoughts.
    You may house their bodies but not their souls,
    For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
    which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
    You may strive to be like them,
    but seek not to make them like you.
    For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

    You are the bows from which your children
    as living arrows are sent forth.
    The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
    and He bends you with His might
    that His arrows may go swift and far.
    Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
    For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
    so He loves also the bow that is stable.
    ‘ Your children come through you, they are not of you’. Kahil Gilbran

  17. Oh my God~ definitely. I didn’t used to be that way but that’s cuz I was a master of stuffing my emotions. Hellllooo Proper Southern girl with a Martini in her hand. But now that I’m awake I get this shit and it almost makes me disgusted with myself. I always thought that I was so easy going and didn’t judge but that’s cuz I had my emotional self on LOCKDOWN. Well, now I see that I can get pissy, not necessarily to the person but in my own head, and I have to go…wait a second here. I can be a moody son of a bitch and depending on that mood I can judge your unsuspecting ass. It’s kinda freaky when you start to catch onto you own bullshit. At least I’m not scared of feeling anymore, I finally realized…like you said…it comes and goes. And the big mantra for me is…”Don’t believe everything you think.” which is directly linked to how I feel. Tired, hungry, anxious,scared….

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top