As I've mentioned before, I'm fairly shy when dealing with strangers
, and this becomes significantly more problematic when I have to ask for anything beyond the most minimal service from clerks in stores, servers in restaurants, or any other service personnel. This is one of the reasons I deeply loathe my dairy allergy, since I often must ask to see packages and ask detailed questions, since it's far from reasonable to assume that servers in restaurants know the details what ingredients are in the bread the restaurant purchases. In such situations, I become shy, embarrassed, and deeply uncomfortable at such times and generally must force myself to do this.
I now vividly understand why. From my PoV, my parents, especially my mother, are horrifically rude in a way particularly common among the nouveau riche, especially on the East Coast. They are impressively demanding and have such an overblown sense of entitlement when dealing with any service personnel that I feel deeply embarrassed to be with them. This morning, I watched my father badger a busy server for a table with a better view, and this afternoon I watched my mother badger the desk clerk at the motel we are in (which my parents stay at often and thus have some various frequent occupancy status) because we only got one voucher for a free item of food at their snack bar, instead of two. Having been told that policy had changed and so they would only get one, my mom was quietly nasty, and eventually the desk clerk (who was exceptionally nice) relented and gave her a second one (thus gaining, at most a $2 bag of chips or candy). On the few occasions when I have objected or attempted to call my parents on this behavior, they talk about it as having to "be tough" to get what you want or deserve and can clearly see absolutely nothing wrong with their actions and in fact feel proud of how they act and consider the fact that I do not act this way as a sign of either weakness or naiveté.
A few minutes after I watched the second incident, I suddenly realized that the origin of my specific social phobia when dealing with asking for extra attention for service personnel. Even from young age, I never wanted to be like my parents in this. I never wanted to badger service personnel or to ever be that demanding and rude. That realization instantly filled me with a great deal of both joy and pride. I'm very glad that even as a child I understood how impressively rude and horrid my parents are because they assume that their money entitles them to all manner of special attention. I don't know why so much of how my parents attempted to raise me failed or utterly backfired, but I'm exceptionally that that it did.
In with all this came the related realization that the fact certain types of rudeness are one of the fastest way to cause me to decide to avoid someone and even to stop being friends with someone is closely tied into my reactions to my parents' actions. In any case, I'm also getting better at dealing with asking about food, since when I'm with my parents the option is my mother doing this, and the way she browbeats servers bothers me far more than my own phobia. My parents are old and have lives that I consider horridly limited in terms of social contact (largely by choice), and I feel sorry for them, but I also am disgusted by them.