I wasn’t very awesome this morning.
Kin had a rotten day on Monday, and when Kin is miserable, he likes to spread it around with a big shovel. Now that he is feeling more cheerful, I decided to try and raise that issue with him. Unfortunately, while HE might have been calm about it, I obviously wasn’t! I wound up goading him into an argument, which I then kind of won, (which is NEVER a win), so he still has no idea what I was actually talking about, my problem still exists and both of us were upset, miserable and late for work. Not a good start to the day.
I hate arguing with Kin and I hate we’ve both essentially lost the day to something so unproductive. So after two cups of tea and half an hour of sniffling over my computer (God bless Japanese workplaces; you could probably commit suicide at your desk and no-one would react) I decided to stop being a whiny wanker and try to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.
(That half hour of wallowing felt great, by the way. I’m glad I didn’t skip it.)
Harden up, princess
First, since I’m ahead with my work at the moment, I spent a bit of time reading some “stop-feeling-sorry-for-yourself”-style articles (Mark Manson is good for these). Trying to tackle an issue while you’re still feeling like a victim is a brilliant recipe for delusion and failure, so it’s good to do something that will get you thinking about your own responsibility for a situation first.
So, once I was in the right head space, I started to think about what was actually going on this morning. And when you look at it, I wasn’t REALLY trying to fix a problem; I didn’t try to offer any solutions, after all. I just wanted to criticize Kin because I wanted him to stop doing something I didn’t like. How do I avoid this argument in future? Stop criticizing him.
And that’s it.
I’m going to do it!
Before you freak out, I’m not one of those religious twerps advocating women’s obedience to their husbands; our relationship is still happily feminist (not to mention atheist), so sweet submission would probably frighten Kin badly, not to mention drive me into a straightjacket. I’m speaking from a position of pure self-determination here; criticism clearly doesn’t work, so I need to come up with something that will. However, I’ve made resolves to criticize less in the past and have wound up gritting my teeth for weeks on end, then having a roaring meltdown, which is not helpful. I guess I’ve gotten Kin so used to being criticized, he assumes that in its absence, everything must be okay. So, how can I make sure my needs are being met, without having to resort to criticism?
Well, I’ve come up with something. But it’s just so…. wet. I’m fairly open emotionally, but I’m still a pragmatic person. Sappy, sloppy, self-help book language alternately enrages me (it’s so often used for self-justification) or makes me wince (when it’s so sincere, yet so sugary your teeth ache just reading it).
But I did it anyway. I sat and wrote down exactly what I would need to be able to refrain from criticising. Funnily enough, a lot of it is stuff Kin has begged me to do in the past. Go figure.
Here it is:
- I WILL talk more about how things affect me, even if that means having to do really awkward segues or make actual appointments with you.
SO PLEASE be open and receptive when I need to talk. If I become critical or passive-aggressive, please point it out and encourage me to phrase things more productively.
- I WILL make requests to have my needs met.
SO PLEASE say “No” or request postponement when you cannot answer these requests. If I am confident you will do that, I will feel confident and safe in asking more often.
- I WILL listen and act on your requests and complains without becoming defensive or emotional
SO PLEASE think about your reasons for making them and, if I need to table the topic for a period, allow me to.
- I WILL remember that you love me and ascribe positive motivations to your actions. I will give you the benefit of the doubt.
SO PLEASE do the same for me!
I’m actually going to nail that gunk to my wall to remind myself of what I need to do. Looking at it makes me cringe (and I’m CERTAIN it will make Kin cringe too), but difficult times call for drastic measures, and if that means both of us feeling uncomfortable for being wet, New-Age wankers, then so be it. The sacrifice has to be made.
Wish me luck.
EDIT: I showed it to Kin. It made him cringe.