Thursday, June 7, 2012

Be Nice or Leave

During a remodeling project last year our construction workers removed an old five and a half foot double-sinked vanity. I asked them to leave it on our front sidewalk as they were leaving for the night. I wanted to list the vanity for sale, but I needed to wait until daylight to take photos.
When I got up the next morning I saw it was pouring down rain. Steve had pulled his back out, and was currently hobbling about in a bent-over crippled position.
I mentioned to Steve that I needed to get the vanity moved into the garage or it would be ruined. My intent was to call our oldest son to ask him to stop by with his roommate to help. I would not have asked my hubby to move it.
The next thing I know Steve is stomping upstairs where he wakes youngest son up. He then drags our pajama clad Kidlet outside where they wrestle the vanity into the house through the front door just far enough to slam the door shut. Hubby then pushes the vanity over to block the door.
I was horrified. I said that I did NOT want it in the house & had not asked him to do anything with it. He responded that I would have to get someone else to move it if I didn’t like it there. He shuffled grotesquely down the hallway towards our room. Kidlet, standing in the hallway in his soaking wet pjs, just looked at me, then silently headed back up to bed himself.
Later that morning eldest son, also known as Manlet, and his roommate did come over to move the vanity to the garage for me. Hubby stayed in bed the rest of that day. Kidlet went home with Manlet and roommate for the rest of the weekend.
One of the toughest parts of communication in our marriage is Steve’s inability to listen to my thoughts, concerns or ideas without assuming that I am wanting some sort of action on his part.
If I tell him that I’ve brewed a fresh pot of coffee, he then assumes that I either want him to turn off the pot or bring me a cup. If I mention that I should go water my flowers, he assumes that I want him to do it, so he goes out and blows off all the blossoms by using the nozzle on full blast. It makes me hesitant to verbally share anything with him.
My inclination is to refuse to talk to him altogether. But that doesn’t solve anything. So I try to explain to him that when I make general observation, it is simply just that; an observation. I am not asking for action on his part. I tell him that I am an intelligent adult who knows how to ask for things. I don’t need to ‘hint’ around trying to get him to guess what I want. I know how to ask.
I ask him how he reacts to information and observations from others at work. If his boss announces at a meeting that there is a new coffee machine in the break room, does Steve immediately assume that the boss is asking him to go get everyone a cup of coffee? Of course not.
Aspies do need things clearly stated, and I try my best to do that. But I need Steve to treat me with the honor and respect he gives his co-workers. I know how to request help. He shouldn’t assume anything. He can’t read my thoughts.
When Steve is feeling angry or frustrated, he needs to go for a walk, or go out to his shop to putter. He should not take it out on me or the kids.
‘Not nice’ doesn’t belong in our home. Only love does. He can take his ‘not nice’ outside. Feelings are neither right nor wrong. They just are. How you react to those feelings is totally up to you.
I do love a sign that we saw in the entryway at a restaurant in Portland.
"Be nice or leave." The choice is yours.

No comments:

Post a Comment