"Sometimes, but it's almost a 'sure thing' on Saturday night."
"It" is. So I need to write something intelligent down here. You are upset because you worked a 12 hour day and you see that things are calm at home and that everyone is happy and that is really what is upsetting you. That and the fact that after 12 hours you WISH he was a cook like you are but know he isn't and that you don't want him in the kitchen. So you have what Dr. G calls an "unresolvable problem."
"What is an unresolvable problem?"
"It's where someone expects someone to behave in a certain way. They aren't going to change and the expectant individual doesn't want to change their expectation. Just in case I'm wrong, what is it you'd like to experience when you get home on Saturday?"
"Honey, how are you? How was your day?"
"You really want him to ask how you are and how your day was when they both suck?"
"OK, got it." (She writes it down.) "Does he know that this is what you want?"
"Well no, but he should KNOW BETTER."
"OK, I'll make a note that he needs to be smarter.
STEP E: Be certain all emotion is reduced before going into a "rational, intelligent" process of thinking.
By the way, I'm not saying you shouldn't grab the kids and head for Texas, but before you fly the coop, maybe we think about this for a minute?"
Our Distressed Woman doesn't say a thing...she's already thought about it...and for a lot more than a minute.
"Right. OK. So let's look at how big of a jerk he is."
Our wife sits at attention. That's why she is here. Validation!
People don't want to do what is right, or smart, they simply want to BE RIGHT.
STEP F: State the problem in specifics, isolating just where on the map, the picture is at. Is it the whole map? All the time? 24/7?
"First, he's a big jerk on Saturday nights because he doesn't help you with cooking after you've had a long day at work. The problem is of course that you don't want him to help with cooking and that you are really upset that he isn't asking you how you are and how your day was which might resolve this...and this is also true some other times during the week. You blow up and you get into a fight, which you don't need any more of. Right?"
"Right. Except sometimes he blows up first and sometimes I do."
STEP G: Once you have one part of the emotional pie and the facts surrounding that, move to other things related to that emotion. Continue to pull up emotions so you can get to thinking.
"Got it. Now. I understand what you are angry about, but I bet there is more. What else is he a jerk about?"
"Well, on Sunday he's watching sports and you'd think he owns the TV. There is no sharing. It's just a given. Sunday is 'his day' to watch the big TV and it wouldn't dawn on him that anyone else might be interested. He just lives in there so it's his. And this happens during the week, too."
"OK. You're doing good. How else is he a jerk?"
"Disrespect! I can't get anything but sarcasm about what I do. Everything he does is important. Me? It's just passing time. My stuff doesn't matter, his does. My life doesn't matter. His does."
"You don't know the half of it."
"OK, how else is he a jerk?"
"He acts like he knows everything and that I'm a first rate idiot. I make as much money as he does and we both take care of the kids so if I'm an idiot, he's an idiot....or maybe I'm a bigger idiot because I'm still married to him..."
"Got it. (She writes this down on a piece of paper, next to her other comments.) What else?"
"Isn't that enough?"
STEP H: Once the facts are in and the emotions are out on the left side, it's time to work on the right side of the equation.
The "right" side? I thought my side was the right side:
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