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Why Do We Judge What We Do Not Understand?

By Terin Marlae Benavente | Featured Contributor

As most of you know, Christmas this year looked a little different for everyone. My husband and I decided to take our children to visit their grandparents who live nearly an hour away for a short visit. Prepped with double masks and hand sanitizer, away we went. Once we arrived, pleasantries were exchanged and gifts were unwrapped. Shortly after, my father decides to bring me his retirement/pension paperwork to help him fill it out. Of course, the HR employee inside of me jumped up and said “of course!” while the daughter inside of me thought “Uh oh, I have left my husband all alone with his outspoken, sharp-tongued mother-in-law.” Not in the best health herself, I decided to roll with it and move forward.

An Overheard Remark


As I walk in and out of the house completing the paperwork, I mindlessly drift into a conversation between my husband and my mother. As in, when I am focused on something, I am really focused as to not become distracted. However, their conversation was on me so of course, I listened. As I stand there looking over the paperwork I hear my husband gushing over me. “Ma’am, your daughter is so talented and smart. She is a wonderful writer and one day you will be reading her books.” My mother, with her usual quick and snide remarks, said and I quote, “Oh really? And what will she write about? Most times, authors are those who have lived an extraordinary life and have something interesting to write about.” Mind you, this is my own mother. My poor husband sat there stunned. He looked over at me and asked what I planned to write about. I responded with “Well, nothing I guess. It seems as though I am rather boring to some.”

What she and many may not know is that I in fact have lived a rather difficult yet adventurous life for only having been on this Earth for thirty-five years. You see, I am a very quiet and private person. I keep to myself for many reasons but mostly due to a lack of trust in those around me. For years, my husband has known how much I love to write. He knows how big my dreams really are..to one day travel the world and become an author/editor for a largely respected publishing company. You see, he and I have spent twenty-one years together. He is in fact my best friend. On the other hand, I left my mother’s home at the young age of seventeen and never looked back. Unfortunately, she and I haven’t always had the best relationship. In her eyes, I am the black sheep of our family, having driven her crazy as a child with my strong and argumentative spirit. Despite being grown and having accomplished so much, (i.e. drama free, happily married with three wonderful kids, college-educated with a rewarding career) to this day I am still deemed as inferior or not good enough.

I can’t help but wonder: as parents, who are we to judge our children?

Who Are We to Judge?

Just because we created them does not mean we get to judge their talents, strengths, weaknesses, etc. As a daughter, I admit my mother’s comment did sting a little. However, our family runs in circles and because of this, I have grown accustomed to these kinds of comments. This is why I choose to stay away. Her mother–my grandmother–did the exact same thing when she was alive. Always blurting out the first thing that came to mind, never worrying if it came out wrong or what anyone else thought. While both she and my grandmother think/thought this made them strong, opinionated women, in reality, it is very much a character flaw.

We as human beings possess a unique ability to hold a conversation and respond rationally without the need to criticize that person to make ourselves feel better.

Often, I find myself feeling internally conflicted. Do I stay in an unhealthy relationship simply because we are connected by blood? Or is it enough to love and respect someone from a distance in order to maintain that same love and respect?

I suppose only time will tell.

Terin Marlae Benavente
Terin Marlae Benavente

Dallas-based English Grad Student, Freelance Writer, Blogger, & Parent striving to inspire you with positivity, laughter, and light in a difficult world.

If you would like your personal story to be considered for publication on PhoebeMD.com, click here for information regarding submissions. 

17 replies »

  1. Unfortunately, this is so common between mothers and daughters. Although my mom believed she was the world’s best mother, she wasn’t as supportive as she could’ve been. Her lack of support hurt more than anything. Recently, I’ve noticed she’s trying to change but past memories won’t allow me to get too close. So I still love her from a distance and she lives less than five minutes from me. Enough about me. I’m excited about your future authorship! You’re already a great writer! Looking forward to reading more.

  2. I can’t pretend to assume I know best for others, but for me, distance is the only way. My father isn’t horrible. Most people who meet him think he’s wonderful. But to his family, he is subtly demeaning. He grows tired of you quickly. He doesn’t care if his remarks hurt your feelings. Also, you could be doing way more for him, because he feels he deserves it.

    When he had all of us together, he ran away. Now that we distance ourselves, he demands our attention. I don’t claim he doesn’t love us in some form, but when love is unkind, hurtful, and selfish, it tends to drive people away.

    So I ignore his texts and pretend nothing is wrong when we are together on the rare occasion. It causes me some amount of anxiety to constantly avoid him, but at the same time I’m soooo much more at peace. It’s easier to forgive him when he’s not around creating new grievances. I can breathe. And I have no regrets.

  3. It seems like judging others comes instinctively and more so with age! Not an excuse, just the way it is. It takes a lot of work to reorient and think before throwing out those barbs!

  4. In my experience judge mental people are such because of their own insecurity and jealousy. Sometimes all they need is reassurance that they are doing well with who they are.

  5. Loved this post! Your mother picked up and carried on what her mother did, and you’re breaking the family cycle of criticism. I had issues with my mother and after doing a lot of work on myself I can tell you if you feel the need to step away from your mother for your mental health, then by all means do it. Keep your eye on the prize of becoming a published author. Keep going for it! But one small caution, do it for you. Don’t expect your mother’s attitude to change if you’re published. Her thought patterns are well ingrained, and it’s obvious she has no desire to change.

    • That’s untrue. True for some, yes, but not for all. My mother was proud of my achievements as I am proud of my own children. Sadly, my mother died before my first book was published, but I know she would have been proud of me, even if she didn’t read the genre. She would, however, have read my historical novel and told all her friends about it, too.

  6. When my publisher accepted my book my mother told me it was a scam. It wasn’t, but I’m not sure she ever understood that they paid me, I didn’t pay them. 🙂 Hang in there. Looking forward to reading your books.

  7. This was a very genuine and honestly- written story! I say handle that relationship however your gut tells you to. You don’t want to sacrifice seeing your dad in order to not see her… but maybe you could call him more and visit in person less to avoid her nastiness?
    Unfortunately I have my own mom issues, but that’s a whole other story. It’s hard to know what to do but in my case I’ve decided to withdraw for the time being. I love her but any relationship takes two people, not just one.

  8. I heard my Aunt criticize my parents. I never forgave her. I never set foot in her house again. That decision cost me a lifetime of relationships with my cousins because that Aunt was such a monstrous bitch. The Aunt never showed up at Mom’s funeral because she knew I would rip her head off. That Aunt died a few years after Mom. I deliberately avoided her funeral.

    The words that family use with each other hurt. There is nothing worse than the pain and division those words cause.

  9. Wow, that was so detailed…I could only imagine this situation but you have dealt with it for so long. You know, over time your mother will know how talented you are and how wrong she was. I have relatives who belittle me everytime I meet them, but I don’t care about them. You live your live however you like. You go and rock

    Stay safe!

  10. I understand Terin’s post. What a great share! And to her, you, and all other dreamers, writers, and do’ers~do it anyway! Do it afraid, do it courageously alone if you have to, do it knowing the love of God will never fail, do it because of you, and do it despite what others believe. I’ll never judge others as I’m given grace everyday. Stay blessed and safe!

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