I had a couple’s session on Friday and left with the exasperated utterance of “FREAKIN’ MEN!” hanging in the air of my therapist’s office. Well, I wasn’t going to say it, but my therapist, “Doc”, (my husband and I refer to our therapist as “Doc” outside of our session) said, “So you’re going to leave us guessing?,” so I paused, and thought “whatever,” and said it, “FREAKIN’ MEN!”
I apologize for this post at the front end. But this is a place for me to share my thoughts, feelings and express myself as authentically as possible (with just a little censorship)–hoping that anyone reading this post understands that these are my feelings for the moment, whether rational or not. This post will be filled with distortions–how can the categorical lumping of men into one disappointing heap, not be. If you are a man and I have already offended you, sorry, and you have the right to skip this post.
What triggered me to go into my “FREAKIN’ MEN!” mode? Well Dave, my husband, and I were talking about the management of chores in our household. The line of the session was going along the path of how my needs are being expressed, and how the chores were being negotiated.
I believe my temperature started to rise, when the conversation started to turn–that all I needed to do was to ask. To spell out my need. Say the need and leave out the justification part. Leave out the convincing part. Leave out the hurt and the past injustices and just ask for the need. The point was in my case, in dealing with Dave, if I leave out the extras and just ask for the need, Dave would not be triggered–there would be less of a risk of him tilting to his edge.
The “MEN” exasperatedly sighed mid-session, was not for all the men out there, but for the two men sitting in the therapist’s office not getting my experience at all. It was due to the lack of empathy and the lack of understanding of what I was dealing with, when dealing with Dave. I HAVE been asking for years, YEARS. And after 18 years I did not expect that I would still be asking for help with the wash, cleaning, etc.
It was a lack of understanding of the level of desperation I was feeling. That I’ve tried asking and it does not work. And the justification added onto the request was to help Dave to understand how desperately I need his help.
Doc did say that the best way probably not to get the extras added on would be for Dave to respond to the need. There is truth to that. But another component is that I don’t want to have to be the one to tell Dave every week.
The “FREAKIN’ MEN” comment at the end of the session was in response to Dave saying, “Why not just ask,” and Doc agreeing and saying, that it was a “worthwhile” question. REALLY? Did either of you just hear what I said a few minutes ago?
But as I step back today. Maybe it is a worthwhile question in the sense, that with Dave, it’s true, if I just asked him, he would probably do it. It’s me and my 18 years of marriage and wanting not to have to ask, and wanting not to have to be the one to initiate chores that is stopping me from asking.
After this session (and even prior) Dave has been trying harder to step up. This weekend he started the wash and helped clear up before the vacuuming. Hes been picking up dinner. He commented more during our marriage class that we cofacilitate at church. Dave also has been talking to me more. I see him making an effort and I do want to recognize that. He also has been taking his anti-depressant medication regularly so he seems less edgy, more even keeled.