He/She is so nice to the whole world but not so nice to me. I have heard this many times from people about their spouses, parents, siblings and friends. Probably justified in some cases and probably not in others. I mean I can even recall days when I am mad at something, thus all grumpy at home but if some stranger knocks on the door I put up a smiling face. Or I would be frowning and quiet yet if a friend from out-of-town calls me, I am all cheery for the time being.
Part of it is that we are seeking some comfort and knowing that if the people who care would notice our bad mood, maybe we will get some sympathy. But it’s not always the case. Sometime we are mad at those whom we can be mad at. For example, we should be mad at ourselves for being in a bad financial position but instead we take it out on our kids. I have seen that happen, where someone’s ego got trashed in a party and she immediately takes it out on her own family.
The other part of it is that we have different expectations from different people. Our relationships define how we react to someone else. Like, we might pat the back of our friends’ son for graduating but we want our own to be summa cum laude. But the son probably thinks that his Dad like everyone better than him. Ok, so I must confess that my whole early teen years I always thought that my parents like every other kid on the block, my cousins etc. better than me. I felt it was so hard to make them happy. But then I realised I am no different. I consider everyone else’s parents to be so cool just because they are nice to me when I see them but they wouldn’t be the same if I were their son.