MC: “Learning to listen.”

Then there was the “sleepover” incident, a recent example of me not listening to TL.  A couple months ago we agreed to get together with a family whose youngest child is friends with our youngest child.  We all found the mother in that family a bit annoying. Before meeting up with this family, TL expressed that she was not up for entertaining anyone at the house that evening.  I assumed it was because of the mother. We agreed, if either of us were asked, we should just say, “No, it just won’t work out tonight.”

At the event, we were pleasantly surprised to find that the annoying woman had been unable to attend.  She had to work.  Later, we all took the kids to a pizza place.  The younger kids asked us whether they could have a sleepover at our house.  TL said, “No, it just won’t work out tonight,” as planned.  That’s where I stopped thinking carefully and started speaking before thinking things through.

I thought to myself, “Wait a minute.  Why should the kids not have a sleepover?  The annoying woman would not be involved.  If the kids could entertain each other, maybe TL and I could have more time to ourselves.”  Following that incomplete logic, and failing to consider my obligation to back-up TL, I said, “Well, why not have a sleepover?”

The kids had the sleepover.  When we returned home TL went directly to bed, telling me I was in charge of the sleepover.  Though it was early for TL, it was not early for me.  I tried to go to bed too.  This made TL more angry.  TL wanted me to stay up and supervise the kids, who were seven and eight years old.  I believed the kids could entertain themselves, did not need supervision, and could put themselves to bed. TL disagreed.

Later, we dissected this incident with B.  That’s part of what led to our discussion of the three parts of personality and the importance of me learning to nurture and support TL.

I’ll mention our recent “eggs over-easy” incident.  It’s another lesson in communication for me.  On vacation, I decided to make breakfast for everyone. Knowing TL likes an egg for breakfast, I asked her how she wanted her egg.  She said, “over-easy.”  I said to myself, “That can’t be right.  The clearest memory I have regarding how TL likes her eggs is a memory of her saying she preferred egg yolks to be firm, not runny.”  I proceeded to cook her an egg over-hard.  I was convinced I did the right thing.  I had not.

TL asked, “What happened with the egg?” I told her I made it hard because I didn’t believe she actually wanted it over-easy. A heated discussion followed about why I would assume to know better about what she wanted than her very words just told me. She could not understand why I bothered to ask how she wanted it, if I had my own idea about how to make it already. Obviously, when TL first said, “over-easy,” I should have verbalized my confusion out loud and asked her to confirm whether I understood correctly.  It turns out that the year I was away, she started liking her eggs over-easy. This was yet another example of my poor listening skills based on making assumptions instead of actually listening to her words. I’m working on it still.


One thought on “MC: “Learning to listen.”

  1. Debating whether or not to comment on this post. . .

    I mentioned this mom in another post, she is the entitled, flaky, bible thumper I referred to before. From asking if she could bring an additional 13 people to our very small New Years party, to setting up teaching piano to our kids only to cancel 3 weeks in row (we ended the arrangement after that), to being weirdly offended that I was not sure I wanted my seven-year old to go to a PG-13 movie, to going on and on about my beautiful home and car (the car is a 2007, the home is from the 80s, it is nice enough, but nothing special. It is just freaky weird how much she goes on and on about it), to Facebook post after post quoting the bible (a bit of a trigger for me) and on and on it goes. So, I do understand why MC thought it was about my uneasiness with this woman.

    And on that stupid friggen egg, I was appreciative that he made us all breakfast. When I asked him what happened with the egg, I was expecting that he would say he walked away from it for too long or is still learning how to fry eggs or some such thing. So, when he told me he did it on purpose, well. . . A part of me thinks I should not even have asked what happened, just been grateful he made me the egg. But, the other part of me cannot let go of the thought “WTF, why even ask me how I want the friggen egg cooked if you plan to do it the way you want to do it anyway?”

    The incidents themselves were so minor really, but I think they represented something so much bigger to me, which is why I did not let them go. You see, I feel that our life before d-day was filled with him tuning me out, telling me what I wanted to hear and then doing what he wanted to do regardless. These incidents brought those thoughts back to the forefront.

    The silver lining is that these incidents give us real material to work with in the present. And, boy, is B ever so great with helping us understand what is going on and how to address it when we have such real life examples with which to work. MC is being asked to dig, dig again, and then dig again even deeper. I recognize it is not easy. I recognize he is doing it. I also recognize that we are making progress just by the fact that we can talk about it and work on it together.


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