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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The Cup Overfloweth: Spilling out all the angst.

So, it occurred to me the other day that sometime when I'm very upset or annoyed, I will think about and/or express everything that has bothered me for a while instead of just focusing on the irritant of the moment.   Anyway, so I was processing why I think that happens.  I've previously addressed why some small irritation might send someone over the edge in Heavy straws & a broken camel's back.  In that post I was really speaking about meltdowns that occur when a micro-irritation presented itself.  The micro-irritation isn't really the object of the meltdown, but instead was the straw that broke the camel's back.  In other words, it is the irritant that finally destroys a 'brave front' against the thing(s) that is/are really behind the meltdown.

I guess you could say this thought is a corollary to it.   Why is it sometimes when we finally blow up with others including creditors or dealers, that we go over a list of things that have annoyed us.  It occurred to view it this way.   Each irritant is difference fluid filling up our cup (of patience) so to speak.  


When I bought my 2011 Mazda 3, the dealership didn't go down as much on price as I wanted them to.  However, just wanting to get it over with, I accepted paying a couple hundred more than I thought I should.  Anyway, the dealership advertised it as having Satellite Radio in it, which it didn't. I figured it was just because it wasn't turned on from Sirius XM.  I didn't learn otherwise until I called Sirius and we figured it had the buttons for Sirius XM, but not the underlying receiver.  I was annoyed but was willing to figure something out with them (such as them paying for a dash-mounted receiver and service for a period of time).  Also, when negotiating with them, they indicated that another employee, who wasn't present at the time, had the second key.  I didn't care too much as I figured a) I only need one key to test drive, b) I was going to pick up the car at a later point and I'd just get it then and c) they'd been in business for a number of years, so I figured they knew what they were doing.  I found the next day when I went to pick up the car, that the second key didn't work, irritating me more, but they said they'd work with me on it.  Additionally, it had been years since I bought a used car from a dealer, so they indicated they were waiting on the updated title as it was sold to them just a few days ago.  They expected it all to be resolved by within a few days.  Suffice to say it wasn't resolved by the end of the week.  Anyway, they did eventually get the updated title for me so, I got past that irritant.  In addition, I'd never included taxes in the loan and so when they said I could cash the check or sign it over to the DOR (Dept. of Revenue), I figured they knew what they were talking about.  It was a long week and I was tired and endorsed it wrong due to their instructions.   As the temporary tag period was about to expire I finally had enough and demanded to talk to the head of the used car division.  After being told that this person and that person were in a meeting and I'd have to leave a message.  I exploded and told her in no uncertain terms that I would personally go up to the dealership and wait until the highest person in charge was available.   That got her attention and she got a hold of the head of the used car division.   So, he said this isn't normally how business is done that they got the car and the staff rushed it to the sales floor before it was ready.


Next day, with a check for taxes reprinted I went to the DOR ready to title it and found it that the emissions inspection wasn't done.  Suffice to say, I lost it again and the guy in charge said, he'd 'find the paperwork'.  Which meant, we will do the emissions inspection.  I could have called them out on their lack of candor, but since they did the emissions inspection right then and there, I dropped the thought.  They apologized profusely for the whole experience and I ultimately forgave them as I didn't want to stay mad. 


Think of each screw-up a being a small cup which contained different flavored drinks.   Each when added to the a larger cup, would mix together.  Now think of the larger cup being almost full.  If you continued to add small cupful to it, it will spill over.   It wouldn't just spill over the one last flavor, but it would spill over all the flavor that had been mixed in.  The larger cup represents the overall patience I had.  Each small cup represented a screw-up that exhausted some of my patience.  When added, just like the smaller cupfuls would disturb the contents of the larger, cup, each screw-up would irritate me a little more.  The final screw-up not only disturbed the contents of the larger cup, but it caused the larger cup to overflow.  When my patience was exhausted, just like part of each of the flavors would come spilling out, each screw-up came spilling up of mouth when I let the used car manager have it.


Maybe it's just like that for a lot of people, they can take this hit or that hit and seemingly keep their cool, but each hit really tends to pile on.  If they hadn't had a chance to properly digest the individual hits before they piled on, when their patience is finally exhausted they'd address each hit to their patience.


Anyway, just some thoughts for the day.  Hopefully this makes a little sense.  As always thanks for reading and feel free to take from the post whatever might find helpful.


Cheers,

Rich


Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Relational Awareness: Being Aware of Your Relationship Surroundings.

Time and time again, I've heard that one of the keys to a successful marriage is communication.   It sounds good as an open line of communication is good in any relationship--friendship, professional, parent/child, sibling etc.  However, what does that mean in practical terms?   I've thought about that from time to time as I have explored or considered ways to improve the various relationships in my life.  I never could find the words to express it however.   I finally stumbled upon a phrase which captures it for me: Relational Awareness.

What I am talking about is: how to be yourself, but also be a good partner, friend, parent, sibling, etc.   I'll start by exploring (from my perspective), what I consider the unhealthy relationship personalities.


  • Co-dependence 
    • It can look like selflessness or thoughtfulness, but in reality it may be anything but that.
    • The co-dependent may truly and actually sacrifice, but often for the wrong reason or motivation.   Often the difference is subtle.
      • The codependent may truly be sacrificing, but it is hopes of gaining approval or in some cases just keeping the peace.
      • Behaviors/actions may be guided by a desire to keep (or make) the other party happy, not because it is the best course of action.  In other words, minimizing yourself in hopes of being approved of.
  • Ambivalence
    • Expressing mixed feelings or sending mixed messages.
    • Caring about the other person, but not necessarily being fully invested.  
    • It can at times appear one partner doesn't care about the other, but in some ways it might actually be caring too much, just not always showing it do to being in a conflicted state
  • Narcissism
    • Can play out in a few ways.
      • Obvious indifference to the other.
      • Actions/behaviors undertaken are taken without regard to what is important to your partner.
      • To the extent it seems like a narcissist cares about the other, it is usually based on subtly manipulating them for advantage.  Examples can include:
        • Being the 'helpful' or 'generous' one, when the real goal is to gain allies in quest for position.
        • Offering to buy a home security system or installing security on electronic devices when the goal is to monitor or keep track of another.

I'm sure this is not a complete list, but really my larger point is this: What characterizes good communication.  When I speak of communication, I don't just mean things spoken, but things unspoken too.   Each relationship personality type, is an example of what DOESN'T lend itself towards good communication.  

--

It occurred to me, a couple can best succeed if they have what I call relational awareness.  Some of the characteristics I see in relational awareness.
  • Being willing to step outside yourself and be willing to see others through a filter not your own.
    • Thinking of an alcoholic as a selfish jerk who doesn't care about others, when he may be a broken man who lost his family.
    • Thinking a kid who doesn't do their homework is just lazy, when the truth is the kid is struggling and is too embarrassed to ask for help.
  • Taking into account the other's circumstances/background in how you relate to them.
    • This doesn't mean letting relating to them completely on their terms as that can diminish your own self/needs.
      • Adopting their point of view (POV) or way might in some circumstances be beneficial anyway.
      • In other circumstances, adopting their POV or way may not be beneficial, however, being respectful of it can be helpful.
    • What it means is finding a way that respects both people's needs.  Your need to be 'heard' and their need for a type of communication which is healthy for them.
    • For example, a partner who grows up in a household beset by yelling and fighting.  That partner may respond poorly to yelling and fighting.
      • You work to see if the partner can unpack what bothers them.  
      • That doesn't mean never show displeasure at the them.  Instead, you might consider different ways to get the same point across before losing your cool and/or you might consider whether the issue is really worth losing your cool.  In other words, reserve or limit your 'loud' hostility to really important 'battles'.
  • Being willing to accept that there people have a way that works best for them and respecting that instead of trying to 'fix it'.
    • That doesn't mean you never provide or show an alternative way.  It can mean putting it out there, but not insisting.
    • It means that they may not be open to an alternative way at this time and considering whether it is an important enough point or issue to conflict on.
    • Realize that sometimes people come to the same conclusion in different timing.  It may just be they need to internalize another way as their own before they embrace it.
  • Being willing to consider that people have different ways of communicating and learning to accept it in many cases and work with it in other cases.  For example...
    • Some people need to talk it out as they process.
    • Some people need to heavily process before they talk it out.
    • Some people talk out only what they consider the important things.  When the 'important things' are agreed upon, the little things will tend to fall into place better.
    • Some people like to talk out what could be deemed as less important.  The 'big picture' is made up of countless 'little pictures'.

In short, it doesn't mean just conceding to the other person, but it does mean 
  • Accepting that other points of view can and often do have legitimacy.
  • Accepting that even if your way may look better objectively, their way may be better for them or better for them at this time (in other words, it may be something that can be worked on, just not forced upon them).
  • Accepting that some battles just aren't important enough.  In other words, you can disagree without being disagreeable, especially if their intent is good.
  • Accepting that a relationship is a work in progress.  Like any journey in life, the moment you think you've arrived, you stop growing.

If communication was easy then the country would not be awash in marital counselors.   If it was easy then people would never fight.  If it was easy the divorce rate would probably not be as high.

To me this is really an extension or expansion of my prior post about 2D vs. 3D relationships.   It is important not just knowing things about the other person, but really having a sense about what makes them tick and trying to work with that knowledge.

Jut my 1/50th of a $1 for the day.

Cheers,
Rich