Friday, August 21, 2009

Authority ambivalence

One of the unsurprising things about my psychological testing is that I have a historical ambivalence towards authority. This makes perfect sense, since I was alternately protected and betrayed by police officers (both those that worked with my family during my teens, when I was in foster care, and my former step-father, a state trooper), and other people in authority (school, social service agencies, hospitals, etc.).

Today, I came up against that ambivalence when my husband discovered that someone had egged our cars overnight. Kids, on their last summer fling before school, I'm sure. Not a big deal.

But I was torn about whether to call the police and report it - our small town officers are wonderful. One is a neighbor. Our other neighbor is an officer in Rochester, but he is one of the most anti-social people I know, and I don't really trust him as a person, let alone a police officer. Still, there are benefits to having the law living in your neighborhood. I ended up calling because I thought we might not be the only victims, and wanted the local police to have as much info as possible. The officer was sweet, and I'm glad I called, but it was interesting to think through my hesitation given the clarification I achieved this week about parts of my upbringing, my current "m.o." about my values, and the direction my personal growth is headed in.

I think that having some ambivalence can be a good thing, as long as I'm aware of it, and make informed decisions based on that self-knowledge. And the good news is that it's raining, so I don't even have to take the car to the carwash!

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