The Girl Who Got Pulled Around by Her Ponytail
The other day at the bus stop, I saw a woman take her daughter by the ponytail, pull up, and force her to move down the sidewalk. As the girl walked forward, she tried to reach up and pull her mother’s hand away, to no avail. As the little girl cried and begged her mother to stop, a man standing nearby laughed about it, and the mother began laughing, too.
That little girl is going to grow up, and someone is going to try to make her do something she doesn’t want to do. Maybe a college professor will tell her to redo an assignment; maybe her fiancé will insist that she eat Christmas dinner with his family; or maybe a supervisor will write a bad performance review and tell her she has to sign it at the bottom.
If she hasn’t dealt with her legitimate anger and resentment toward her mother, she may fire back in a way that seems over-the-top to others. But what they won’t realize — what she probably won’t even realize — is that she’s not just responding to the circumstances of the present; she’s responding to the powerlessness of her past.
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