Late one night, as I was sitting with my friend John, he told me a little story about how he was once writing an algorithm and sharing it with his friend, Doug as he was writing it.
During that time, John arranged a lunch meeting with his algorithm partner and each of their wives. The meeting was casual and John felt so relaxed he picked a nacho chip up off the serving tray and dipped it in salsa and popped it into his mouth without first transferring it to his plate.
“Disgusting,” shot out of Doug’s wife’s mouth with such venom John was totally confused..
It was only a few weeks later that John realized his work was being sold by Doug for Doug’s own profit.
“So,” I said to John as he told the story, “Doug’s wife felt guilty and projected that guilt onto you by showing her open disgust of your actions.”
“Exactly,” he said.
Sometimes you have to see your situation played out in a complimentary scene to fully understand the intricacies of the event. I thought back to my conversation with my mother earlier in the day . . .
“I got the house,” I said.
“You did! I’m so happy to hear that. Tell me about it!” she said. And she listened with interest as I talked about the new acreage for at least half an hour.
At first, I didn’t understand why she was happy about my success as she never had been before. And it seemed to be the first time in as long as I could remember that she wanted to hear me talk and share my excitement. It honestly felt so good, even if it was a little confusing and I was sometimes waiting for her to pounce, which she never did. At the end of the conversation I was somewhat bewildered albeit very happy.
Later that night as I was talking with John, relief flooded me when I realized that my mother did actually feel guilty about giving the inheritance to my sister but didn’t know what to do about it so put the blame on me. It was a long process to get there, but I’m so happy I have.