“I must be in control” were the words she finally uttered when I asked her the fifth or sixth time why she couldn’t let things go until she heard the right response.
Let me step back a few steps…
During our heart to heart discussion we talked about the things that bugged her about me and she mentioned that she didn’t get the sense that a lot of times she feels that I was not “getting” what she was telling me. I of course did and told her I had always understood and if I didn’t I would have asked. She continued her rant about me not understanding, “no you’re not getting it!”
Now I’m a grown man in his early 50s and have lived in the US since I was 4 years old. So although English were not my first language it was the only language spoken and written in my house growing up. I graduated in the top 1% of my class, so I think I’ve mastered the basics of the English language.
I retorted, “please explain calmly why you say I’m not getting it?”
She started tearing up in frustration and had difficulty explaining her feelings. She finally responded, “you’re not saying the words I expect you to say.”
She really had a difficult time understanding that I was hearing and understanding what she was saying simply because I didn’t respond with the words she expected me to utter. Are you kidding me! She needed me to say it specifically the way she thought someone would respond.
Hmmm. Is this a Mars vs Venus thing…
I’m no expert, but maybe it could be. You’ve probably seen the video folks have reposted on Facebook about the relationship guru where he talks about the different ways women and men think. One of his lectures spoke exactly about a couple where the man (husband) washed the dishes after every meal and when asked why by the wife, he said he didn’t like dirty dishes. The wife went crying to this relationship guru. When asked why she was upset, she told the guru what her husband had replied when asked about the dishes. The guru was perplexed and asked the wife what was wrong with that. She replied, “I wanted him to say he did the dishes because he loved me.”
So I guess S is the same way. She wants to hear the specific words before she can accept that “I get it”.
As I’ve heard my mom utter these words most of my childhood and throughout my high school…”Lord give me strength!”
I continued on a pathway of inquisition on why she needed to have the response in the fashion of which she thought she needed to in her head. I kept pushing and asked about other means of communicating, like actions over words. Some people say one thing but do opposite of what they actually say.
I read that in a lot of people and at first I had thought them to be hypocrites, but in reality they better communicate with their actions. I saw a lot of this behavior in the church my mother took us to when we were little lads and lasses. So as I grew older (not necessarily wiser), I learned to weigh what people said to what they did. Their actions really spoke louder than their words.
Back to S and my heart to heart…
Our conversations continued and I turned it back to her and her kids relationship. I again pointed out the screaming matches and that I don’t understand them. Why the screaming all the time. I get you need to scream some times when it’s appropriate but every conversation ending in a screaming match is not healthy.
She finally admitted that she is probably doing damage to her kids. A breakthrough…probably not. At least not yet as the years of this behavior cannot be reversed in a snap.
I planted several seed though, that perhaps the screaming matches between her and her boys were because she was expecting them to say or respond in the way she wants them to. Another seed planted was that her family (that included her girl and her parents) would probably never respond like she wanted them to. Then finished off with, “and I probably won’t either”. I reminded her we are all different (not right or wrong) in the way we interact and communicate with each other.
One other things I learned and am still confused about was her conception of giving up her power to someone else and then trying to get it back. That’s why she says she has to be in control and continues until she gets the right response. Hmmm I don’t understand what she was trying to say and will bring that up in different, and much later discussion with her.
When I was younger, I was also a bit of a control freak so I kind of understand the need to control situations, but unclear about the giving up of power and then trying to get it back. I’ve since learned from my naive, ignorant younger years that if you try controlling a situation especially involving people, you’ll never obtain true control as we cannot control nor should we control individuals – it’s like trying to control an avalanche headed your direction. You can only control how you react to it.
I actually, verbatim said those words and she almost stopped to correct me but then hesitated and instead said I was right. So maybe she got it that by controlling how she reacts to situations, she actually becomes in control.
After a few more dialogue exchanges she was done with the deep talks and quite frankly so was I. Like I said it’ll take some time to change behavioral patterns that stem back to when we were children. It took me some time to get where I’m at. Apparently her own mother did a lot of emotional damage to her as she is now doing to her kids, specifically to her boys.
A few days later she was telling me of her morning with her youngest son and that he was going off on her about something. She was repeating how she did not let him get to her and proudly left his anger to him and didn’t join him in on it.
“Wow!” I said and thought she did get what I was saying. But the hard part of maintaining that stand is the true test of self-control.
She wasn’t the only one who had learned something that day. I now understand more of the road S had traveled emotionally and understand how I need to be cognizant of how her primary communication method is through speaking and that I would need to factor that in my communication style with her.
The rest of the week was the typical work grind where I worked for the man during the day and worked on my exit strategy from corporate life at night.
#life #lifeasiknowit #lifeasithappens