Month Fifty-Three

sculptures

Dear Husband,

I don’t suppose we could get rid of I don’t suppose…

Now perhaps I shouldn’t really say anything. People in glass houses and throwing stones and all that. I’m definitely not saying that I am not in any way at fault here but if I had a dollar for every time my father said to me it’s not what you say but the way you say it…

I used to get chewed out all the time for what I said to my parents. Not necessarily for the precise language that I used. I didn’t swear at the drop of a hat for example. But I remember being accused of being rude and disrespectful and selfish. Which in hindsight was fair enough because on occasion, I was. The familiar refrain whilst growing up however, was that I needed to watch my attitude and my smart mouth because it wasn’t appreciated.

I’d like to say that I have grown out of this behaviour but that would be a lie. I do try to keep it to a minimum as much as possible though. For now I find myself turning into my parents, not as I speak to my own child as such, but as I speak to you. It is not uncommon for you to come through the door at the end of the day and exhale in a sigh as you walk into the kitchen and comment…I don’t suppose you had a chance to do the washing up…?

You say this like it is a question but it’s really not (you can usually see the dirty dishes stacked by the sink!). The phrase I don’t suppose is really a statement that you believe I have not done it. The tone and the body language however all imply how disappointed you are in the fact that I have not done it and the feeling that I should have done it. Then there is the connotation that I should have been more productive, less lazy and better at achieving even a basic level of good housekeeping…You of course have said none of the above literally. I often take offense however at the way you have “not said it”…and that’s where the argument starts.

Why am I getting annoyed? You haven’t accused me of anything! I have made an assumption. I have been guilty of misinterpreting. It’s my fault. After which I am countering with – why should I not be upset if I am being unfairly attacked? You are just as responsible for the delivery of what you say as the words you choose! If I were to say (insert relevant statement) in such a (assume a wildly exaggerated and snarky voice) manner, then are you telling me that you could only focus on the words??

Of course, depending on the day, the above could just be reversed. With minor differences. Why are you doing this? Do you really think this is fair? How can you possibly think that you are the only one being hardly done by? To which you come back with why am I being childish? Do I really think its appropriate to do that exact thing which I have said I don’t like?…Why do I always have to have the last word? Can’t I just learn to apologise when I have behaved badly and leave it at that?

I am trying. I am trying to communicate more clearly so there is less misinterpretation. I am trying to be more direct and to tell you what I am thinking when I ask leading questions. I am also trying not to take some of what you say so personally…I am trying to remain conscious of the fact that neither of us are particularly good at minding our manner when we are tired. I would really love it if we could rephrase I don’t suppose though.

Tryingly yours,

You Loving Wife

* Photo taken at this year’s Sculptures By The Sea

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