Photo by Frida Bredesen on Unsplash

How to avoid a head-on clash of egos

Picture this: Your child, or elderly relative, throws a tantrum. Does that get on your nerves?

More often than not, parents are more tolerant with their children, especially toddlers. However, if it’s your elderly parent who’s giving you a hard time, you’ll find that your patience run a little thin.

My friend shared this with me. She is an only child living with her widowed mother. With no siblings to share this responsibility, she shoulders her mother’s aging, health and emotional matters.

Those of us who are caregivers understand what that means. Physical demands are much easier to handle than emotional outbursts. She used to allow her moods to be affected by her mother’s emotional episodes.

One day, something caught her eye. She was looking at the washing machines in the new laundromat near her home. She had an epiphany.

By allowing herself to be absorbed into the drama, she was spinning in the machine.

At that moment, she realised that she had a choice — to jump into the drum or stay out of the machine! She decided that she will not be a part of the drama. She will be an observer, in control of her own emotional well-being.

My lesson came in the form of a dreaded meeting that I had been avoiding. I’d been worrying about this meeting as I felt I had no control of the other party’s reaction.

My ego was trying to over power the other ego!

Once I decided that not to jump into that “washing machine”, I was able to stay calm and collected. I suppose that’s the moment of unconditional love for myself. I’m proud of how I’d handled myself with this person.

The outcome was good too. We’d established a clear path ahead with a common objective that allowed all parties to be feel that our needs are met. There was no resistance nor nonsense. It had felt good.

The next time something or someone triggers you, ask yourself this: who’s hurt, my ego or I? The answer would usually give you clarity.

Remember, life is more than the drum in the washing machine! There’s a whole new world of peace and tranquility waiting to be discovered. Love yourself first so you can love others more.


Adeline Heng