Our mother was famous for over-sharing. She told so many things about herself, her family and her life that you could see some people trying their best to get away from her. Of course what she shared had often not happened or at least it had not happened to her. To hear her tell it, you might think she had a wild imagination and that was quite true.
If someone said they had a story to share, Mother would step right over their words and tell hers. She loved to brag about her college education and would try to wow her listeners with the fact she had written her own Canterbury Tales. For me, this was the kiss of death for any further conversing. Most people either don’t know what The Canterbury Tales were or, if they did, they have a strong dislike for them. Boasting about one’s accomplishments is also usually a conversation killer.
Mother never batted an eye as many she was talking to dismissed themselves from the group. In fact, if they saw her coming, they would try to escape in the opposite direction.
Interestingly enough, our stepmother Beatrice shared this same trait of over-sharing. She loved to regale any group with tales of the kids and made us sometimes sound as bad as convicts sitting on Death Row. One time my stepsister Sissy and my sister Abby ran into a couple of Beatrice’s neighbors, and Sissy said:
I am not the shit-ass everyone thinks I am.
The two women looked at each other and finally one of them said:
We knew all the things Beatrice said couldn’t be true.
On another occasion, Sissy said:
Well, at least none of us have been behind bars.
Beatrice in her usual snappy comeback sort of way said:
If you ask me that’s setting the bar pretty low.
Trying to be the center of attention is a character flaw. It must come from insecurity or narcissism. Believing you are the center of attention and as such must always be talking is also a way to keep the conversation from being “real”. As Dr. Phil always says, “It’s time to get real.” Needless to say, Mary and Beatrice wanted no part of reality. They much preferred living in Fantasy Land with their glass menageries.