In the past, before SCS, I would lose hours of the day churning over the way my husband left the house. I identified his pattern of “dumping” anxious energy on us before he left.
Yesterday, my 2 children and I went to the bank and grocery. They wanted to learn how to make a steak dinner, “not on the grill.” When we returned home, my husband was here. He had been to a company picnic and came home early. The night before, he baked a pie for the event. Obviously, there was an abundance of food.
My children had only eaten peaches for breakfast and I had coffee. We were busy with schoolwork, banking, the grocery and now it was 4pm and we were super hungry. (Intermittent fasting). We discussed the plan in the car so when we got home, the three of us got to work. My son wiped off the groceries and prepared the bread and garlic butter. My daughter made the salad then helped with the bread. I heated the iron skillet, and as needed, they handed me butter, oil, seasonings, etc… When all the food was prepared, we had a taste test of the less expensive cut of meat (sirloin) versus the filets. They each had a small filet and we shared the sirloin. I’m going into detail for a reason. I had a BITE, a single bite, of each filet and a few bites of the shared sirloin. My husband, who had been watching tv, eventually got up and went into his home office–which was considerate because it was challenging giving them instructions with the tv on. We called for him to do the taste test with us but he didn’t come. I walked a bite of the sirloin in, then a bite of the filet, then left a few slices of sirloin and a few pieces of the filets on the tasting plate for him. We all had equal amounts of garlic bread (2 baguettes cut in half for 4 servings). We did not make a salad for him. But all he had to do was reach into a tub of mixed baby lettuce and add salad dressing.
I went upstairs to do more laundry, finish some volunteer work online, while waiting for them to finish eating. My children came upstairs, finished their schoolwork for the day, and got ready for bed. I had some calls, put them to bed, and went downstairs to get something to drink and saw my husband falling asleep in front of the tv. I have an injured wrist so I took a pain pill and went to sleep. (I was diagnosed with carpal tunnel 6 years ago but it rarely bothers me. And never this bad. I cannot turn the steering wheel, dropping plates, closing the dw door with my hip, etc… It will heal in a few days.)
This morning, my husband was working out and showering, so I loaded the dishwasher with one hand and asked my daughter to wipe down the island. She was involved with a spontaneous art project. I told her I had managed to load the dishwasher, cut pears for their breakfast, and “all by myself with a sprained wrist” so the least she could do is help wipe the counters.
As he was walking out the door, my husband said, “Why should I help when you only made dinner for the 3 of you?” I reminded him that he went to a picnic with an abundance of food and came home surprisingly early. Dinner is usually around 7pm because he leaves late and comes home late. No one ate “dinner” actually. Then I told him he was keeping score and not CONSIDERING all parts of that game. (To myself: … he hasn’t cleaned a toilet in 20 years, comes and goes as he pleases, leaves town whenever, etc…)
In my mind, a list of why my wrist is injured starting scrolling– 6am- midnight doing housework/other things for other people/never working out, not going to doctor appointments, 24/7/365 taking care of others……… and then I halted the “does not serve me” thinking– whether or not the facts are true, I do not have to make myself feel worse by rehashing it–even to myself– especially to myself. Isn’t it bad enough that I “HAVE” to do these things– but do I “HAVE” to do these things? Hmm…
I told my daughter if she didn’t get up and clean the island, she would not play computer games the rest of the week and I do not appreciate when she ignores me 3 times when I am asking her to pitch in and help our family clean our spaces. Her backtalk revealed that she is inclined to “keep score” by asking why my son wasn’t helping. (He was brushing his teeth–which she probably skipped to do her artwork).
C: House a mess. Wrist injured.
T: Husband keeping score (incorrectly). His mother failed. Daughter rude. Neither one considerate or mindful of what I do for them. I want pizza.
F: Resentful. Taken advantage of. In need without help. Victim.
A: Nothing– let the mess stay. Walk away. Let her avoid responsibilities and not learn the consequence.
R: She grows up to be irresponsible and obnoxious. I dislike both of them and prefer to spend time doing other things that do not involve them. Order out/go off food protocol. Let anger, self pity, and failure rule my day.
C: House a mess. Wrist injured.
T: Husband gets to be whatever he is, think and say whatever he wants. I’m not his mother. Daughter follows my instructions or loses computer time (face consequences), help with household chores (checking off the charts so she can physically see the tasks are equal), and take responsibility for her own hygiene and grooming schedule. She is amazingly resourceful and capable and only needs a tiny bit of guidance to determine what is fair and how she wants to contribute and how she wants to be treated. We cannot control what others do, think, or feel. They are “allowed to be wrong about us.” I can only control the way I react–or don’t.
F: Control of my thoughts, emotions, behavior, and environment as well as possess the necessary skills to teach my children about chores and consideration.
A: Give verbal instructions to help my children as they clean our house. Do not buffer with food! Do not order out! (going off food protocol). Do not make anything mean more than it does. Ask myself what’s the worse that can happen if the house isn’t clean for a week, or month, or longer? Consider hiring professional help. Buy wrist braces. Let children make lunch. Leave iron skillet on stove for husband to clean when he gets home. Or not. Do my best with the iron skillet tomorrow. Throw the cookie sheet away. (Find a way).
R: I feel better (FASTER) about my ability to get the job done without doing everything myself. I acknowledge my children are authentically capable and considerate young people and spending time with them is my favorite thing on the planet. Resolve to honor myself by making and keeping doctor appointments even if that means taking them with me. (Get it done). Focus on their school work without invading thoughts that do not serve me. Stay on schedule and our food protocol. Enjoy our day!
So model 2 is perfected thoughts leading to better results. And NOW the real work begins to make that model happen instead of the first one by reading over the ACTION that needs to take place to get the RESULT you want. Right? Think the improved thoughts. Feel the improved feelings. Do the improved actions. Get the better result. Stay in the 2nd model.
Can I truncate all these details so I don’t spend so much time retelling the story to myself? C: Husband refused to load dishwasher. Big deal, right? I brought the entire condition of the house, my daughter, my wrist into the scenario. When I walked into the kitchen and saw the dirty dishes still there from the night before, that didn’t spark anything. Maybe a bit of annoyance, but it wasn’t until he spoke– that he felt uninvited so therefore he was paying us back by not helping.
I already know he keeps score– and now I’m doing it. I’m keeping score of the inaccuracies of his score keeping. Which to me, is overthinking and “manufactured drama?” And that’s a boring waste of time. So I just stick to Model 2 and let all the other “thoughts that don’t serve me” fall to the wayside? Is this right? Does this get faster? It’s not denial–I am overly aware. They are simply thoughts that do not serve me. So there’s no point in thinking them.