I have been working hard to use the “perfect” words and phrases in my everyday interactions in order to minimize conflict and optimize understanding. Our therapists say to try to increase our usage of them everyday. Here they are:
- I love it when______
- Help me understand
- What would make it easier for you?
- I just got triggered and I feel ______
- Can I have a re-do? (Meaning you screwed up and would like to try again)
- I am not comfortable with______. Perhaps we can try ______ instead. How do you feel about that?
- I have a concern about_____
- I heard you say _____ and I am wondering what you mean by that.
- I am trying to understand please tell me more.
I have to say some of them work better than others. It seems like the “I like it when…” phrase often brings about the desired results and by saying “What would make it easier for you?” I get to know exactly what would be the most beneficial thing I could for B at that moment in time.
Last night I tried the “I have a concern about…” and it bombed…BIG TIME. Not only did I feel like my words had exploded in my face and I had been cut by shrapnel; I ended up feeling like a fire work that just wanted to explode…light the fuse…I dare you. Let me explain.
The kids started school two weeks ago and it has been absolute chaos. Between each kid being at a different school, two carpools, and one kid also taking a college class in addition to normal high school work; the hectic threshold has increased 20 fold in his house. Already I have gotten two phone calls and two emails from Andre’s school, one from Gracie’s and have had to contact Paul’s school three times for various things in addition to talking to the counselor. Add to that book marking each kids classes(12 total) so we can check on homework every night finding/loading emails for teachers and two IEP teams…well let’s just say that it has been a challenge.
So last night when I got home late after being voted in as secretary of a school organization (more about that some other time) I found B watching the Olympics which then proceeded to his playing of the bagpipes. Meanwhile, I went upstairs to ensure that Andre was doing his homework and spent 30 minutes going through all his class websites with him after getting a call from school earlier in the day. I spent another 20 minutes re-organizing his notebooks for what I hope is greater understanding of where papers/homework are and where handouts should go. I did the same last night with Paul who seems to not be getting any homework… hmmm. Had to check on that too.
As I climbed into bed, after thinking long and hard about how I wanted to approach the issue, I said to B:
“I have a concern about ______ (“using “perfect” word phrase) how we are going to get the boys through school this year.(Two boys who have autism and face many challenges when in school) So far I have received several emails and phone calls from the schools and since the boys are both in high school now, where even more is expected of them; I think we need to come up with a plan on how we are going to handle this because I can’t do it all. If you have any ideas about this I would be glad to hear them. This is what I was thinking. I was thinking that perhaps I could be responsible for Andre and checking his classes and that you could do the same for Paul. If there was math homework that help was needed on you could do that (I don’t do math) and English would be my responsibility. What do you think? Or do you have something else in mind?”
“I work from 7 am to 6 pm. I can’t do it.”
CANCEL CANCEL CANCEL (To find out what this means ) Read Sitting In the Silence
“Well, honey, I work too. I drive two carpools, answer calls and emails from the school, pay bills, clean house. I work too. I’m sorry, you don’t get to just hang up all the responsibilities of this household when you walk in the door.”
And so it went.
Later I told him, “You know I worked very hard thinking about how to say what needed to be said in a way that was non-confrontational using the words/phrases our therapists taught us and I feel like you just shot me down. I am very disappointed about how this went.”
“You are entitled to your feelings. Feelings are neither right nor wrong,” which is B’s new catch phrase.
Yeah, well, buddy… my feelings are now ones of being pissed and angry at your feelings of entitlement and your lack of sensitivity that I am trying my best to have a calm discussion with you to get what we both want/need for our boys. I am also thinking that if we had divorced you would be getting half of these calls, doing half these carpools and that you would need to hire and pay for wife that you now have for free. An expensive proposition to say the least. Frankly, I would like to kick you in the ass for being such a blockhead.
And so I went downstairs and listened to THREE meditation podcasts in an effort to bring myself back down to earth and re-locate my place of serenity. Afterwards, as I reflected on the day I wondered it there really is such a thing as “perfect words.”
I guess the answer is no…but I will keep trying to use them anyway.
And now I will: