Tuesday, April 15, 2008

What would this conversation sound like in a healthy relationsip?

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One thing that helps me not get caught up in the craziness is to ask myself "What would this conversation sound like in a healthy relationship?" Here is just one example.

This is how it went:

I got home from a day running errands.

Bob: "What are you doing here?"

me: It's 3:00, that's when I told you I'd be home.

Bob: It's 3:00! Oh no. My watch stopped. I thought it was only 1:00.

[I knew Bob had an appointment in the late afternoon but not exactly when. Today was the deadline to mail our tax returns. Last night he said he would do it today. Now I was concerned that if he was running late, either I might need to do it, or he might forget them because he was in a hurry.]

me: Are you going to mail the tax returns when you go out?

Bob: (in an irritated voice) "You don't understand. I thought it was two hours earlier."

me: I realize that you thought it was two hours earlier. What is it you think I don't understand?

Bob: You don't understand that I'm late and I don't even have the papers I need to take together yet.

me: Well it is true I don't know those things. Did you tell me?

Bob: I told you it is two hours later than I realized.

me: Yes, I understand it is later than you thought but I don't know what time you need to leave or what preparations you need to make first. I wouldn't know that because you didn't tell me.

[Not having heard any request yet, I went into another room.]

Bob: (yelling from the other room) Could you mail the tax returns?

[I did mail the tax returns but did not offer any other assistance due to the way he was behaving.]

Here is how the conversation would go in similar circumstances in a healthy relationship:

me: Are you going to mail the tax returns when you go out?

Bob: I know I said I would do it, but since I just realized my watch stopped, I'm running late. I need to leave in ten minutes and I still need to get my papers together. I would really appreciate it if you would mail them. Would you?

me: Sure honey. Sorry your watch stopped. Is there anything I can do to help you get your things together?

It is so freakin simple.

Patricia Evans says that verbal abusers not only think they can read your mind, but that you can read theirs too. Bob acted as if I should have known what time he needed to leave. I should have known that he wasn't ready yet. I should have known that he wanted me to mail the tax returns All without him explaining his situation to me and making a request.

And he shouldn't have to acknowledge that he said he would do it. He shouldn't have to ask me politely for my help. I should just know what his situation is, what he wants me to do, and just do it.

Master psychic that he is, he also knows why I asked if he would be mailing the returns. He knows it wasn't because I was concerned that if he was running late he might want me to do it or if he still intended to do it, that he might forget because he was in a hurry.

Patricia Evans compares the relationship of the abusive man to his wife with that of a child with his Teddy Bear. Teddy would know. Teddy would just take care of it. It's a wonder he didn't get upset that I didn't call him while I was out to tell him his watch had stopped. Teddy would know his watch had stopped.

Controlling People: How to Recognize, Understand, and Deal With People Who Try to Control You

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2 comments:

Hannah said...

I can totally relate to what you are saying!

I have often responded at times to his assumptions that 'I should know' with sarcasm (my bad) and mentioned, "I'm still waiting for that purchase of the crystal ball we have dicussed before so I will be able to realize these things in time!"

He didn't appreciate it of course, but at the time it made me feel grounded in reality! LOLOL! I realize it wasn't the best thing in the world to do, but I did it!

Cassandra said...

I can totally relate to this. I am reading this blog because my husband gets upset when I bring my book out. Just to be clear...I got he book out to recall the name of the author. I bought the book about 8 years ago. Since that time I have tried to get him to read it but he has refused. So when he saw the book out he "assumed I was talkign about him. So he read some negative reviews and started to make fun of the book and me for reading and agreeing. He sent me this blog to prove a point. So now I am sittign here reading it and responding to posts with hime by my side...Just to proove a point. Man I Love you Patricia Evans. I no longer cry and feel depressed because he torments me. Damnn it feels good.

 
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