Coping with Loving but Neurotic Parents Baffles Middle Child

I am convinced that all students at UCSD at some point in their lives have wished that they had different parents. The idea crosses my mind a few times each year when I struggle to comprehend why it was my luck (or lack of it) to be my parents’ second and most neglected child (at least in my view).

I know some people might think I should be grateful for my parents — they are for the most part loving, intelligent and responsible creatures — but a little part of me resents them for being so tormenting.

A recent incident in San Diego, in which I was stranded in the cold for more than two hours because my car wouldn’t start, is testimony to my unhappiness with their neurotic behavior.

Normal parents would have been concerned for their child’s safety. My parents wanted to know what light I had left on in the car that could have caused the battery to fail. Normal parents would have comforted their child with sweet words and encouragement. My parents told me to call my uncle in Los Angeles and ask him for help (as if he could have somehow tele-transported like an alien on “”Star Trek””). Normal parents would have arranged for a tow truck company to jump-start the car. My parents told me to take my apartment key off my key chain so the tow truck driver would not attack me in the middle of the night, when I was fast asleep.

As my anger rose, elevating to a point that would have put the hot geysers at Yellowstone to shame, I struggled to restrain from screaming every epithet known to man at my parents who, in an ironic twist, were actually losing patience with me. Worse, my Ph.D.-possessing father suddenly began to pound me with a swift succession of irritating and illogical questions.

The worst was, “”Where are you exactly on the freeway?”” to which my exasperated reply was, “”Dad, how can I be on the freeway when I just told you the car is stuck in the parking lot of an apartment building?””

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not an ungrateful brat (at least not most of the time), but how is it possible for me to be a perfect child when I don’t have perfect parents?

Perhaps what bothers me most is that my parents are unabashedly, shamelessly fair. Most students would not have a problem with that. In fact, they would probably hunt me down and chastise me for writing a diatribe against crazy (but essentially good) people.

Yet, I have come to realize that my parents don’t worship me, which is a sign that either A) they hate me or B) they’re mature. Being mature is a good thing, but not when it is at the expense of a sweet, darling and innocent middle child (that’s me, readers).

A little while ago, when I received an angry condemnation from an individual, I ran to my parents, deeply hurt. Their response, “”It’s what you deserved.””

Sadly, I realized my parents weren’t being sadistic: They were just taking his side in order to point out to me how he must have felt in that situation. I ranted and raved about the unfairness of it all, and angrily accused my parents of liking a stranger more than they liked me, their own child. But after much sulking and brooding, I realized my parents were right. That realization annoyed me even more.

It’s not a good thing when you realize your parents are better human beings than you are. It doesn’t mean however, that I’m not still thinking of trading my parents for others. If there’s anyone out there who wants two caring adults (potential downside: They tell extremely corny jokes) please contact me. I just hope it’s a fair trade.

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