01 August 2014

Nothing Really Matters

When I had to complete training to be a domestic violence advocate there were lots of little examples of healthy and unhealthy interactions.  Some of the examples were obvious and some of them were a little subversive, making you question any interaction that you've ever had.  The subversive ones, I should say, were usually paired with a "this example AND then this too."

One of the examples given was loading the dishwasher, which made me giggle because who argues over that? I realized that some people do and that's okay.  But the example was one of those that held a "and then this too" component.  Arguing over how to load the dishwasher is fine, per se but belittling the other person or becoming aggressive about it, is not fine.

This is the awkward part where a co-worker casually commented how she argues with her husband and son all the time about how it's done.  She continued with "It's not that hard really, how can they not figure it out? Are they dumb or just playing dumb?"

WHOA, red flag on the play ma'am.

Because I tend to automatically switch into smart ass mode in uncomfortable situations, I quickly stated something like "Well, clearly then you're the abuser" with an eye-roll and laugh.  The look of discomfort from the co-worker did not alleviate the awkwardness of the situation.

So, blundering on, I off-the-cuff mentioned that "I can't believe that's even an ISSUE.  As long as it gets done, who cares really?"  I was promptly given examples then of dishes needing rewashing or not fitting so they had to wait or be hand washed.  Again, I was all "I still don't get it, why is that a problem?  It's an inconvenience, yes but not a Problem.  Because if it is one, then you need bigger problems."

Finally, the instructor moved us onto another topic (really should have done that sooner, I guess)

But it made me think of examples of myself blowing a gasket over something like that.  I couldn't really think of one.  Certainly there are things that are annoying or irritating but not usually something that makes me lose it.  Perhaps that's just me, how I'm wired. I rarely fall into the "normal" category.

Really, though, is it worth it to argue over something little like that?  Does it really matter?  Are lives going to be lost because the cap isn't on the toothpaste or he doesn't empty the garbage or we run out of milk?  Are these offenses really something that we're going to look back on and think "That time is the time when things went off the rails." 

Probably not.  I just think we should save our arguments for the big things.  And really, few things are the big things. Money, family, life/death decisions: those are the big things.  Not dishes in the sink or socks on the floor, or forgotten garbage bins.

Nothing really matters *that* much to argue about, I think.  Time is short. 


Swistle said...

Things like this can definitely drive me crazy. I think it's because they can come to symbolize other, bigger issues. For example, if I say to Paul that if he puts a plate so that it covers a bowl, the bowl won't get cleaned, and then he does it again the very next day, the real issue to me isn't "how the dishwasher gets loaded," but instead "He doesn't listen to me" and/or "He doesn't care if he makes me life harder." If I ask him nicely to please put his socks in the laundry and not leave them on the bathroom floor, but he continues to leave them on the bathroom floor, the real issue isn't "he leaves his socks on the bathroom floor" but more like "He doesn't listen to me," "He ignores my completely reasonable requests as if they don't matter," and "He thinks of me as the one who should do all the drudge work." Like that. And then if I SAY SO, if I say, "When you leave your socks on the bathroom floor after I've asked you not to and you've agreed not to, it makes me feel like you think you're too important to lean over and pick them up but I'm not," and then he CONTINUES TO DO IT (so that he's heard what I think it symbolizes and has nevertheless continued to do it)---well, I think that IS something to argue about.

Surely said...

You're right, dear Swistle. Fair enough. I didn't think of it from that perspective. I think it's a good example of the "This and then..." but from a different perspective.