True Love

Posted: 16 February 2008 in other folks, therapy

D. and I realized recently that we have very different models of complaining.  While I complain in order to make things change and generally just choose to sulk in silence if there is nothing to be done, she prefers the misery-loves-company path and will choose commiseration over action every time.  Despite being together nearly three official years, this disconnect had never registered before.  You might be wondering why it’s a disconnect, after all, it’s still miserable bitching and moaning and why don’t we just get up and do something about it already, right?  And you see?  That is exactly the problem. 

Me: It’s cold in here (actual complaint – is chilly, please immediately fetch blanket, hand-warmers, hot chocolate, small nuclear heating device)
Her: It’s cold in here (actual complaint – I have frostbite on my nose and four fingers but I don’t want you to move or bother yourself in any way, only to know that I’m uncomfortable over here, so uncomfortable, and to understand my misery.)

Make sense?  I’m an action girl.  I don’t always want to make the action happen myself. My mother (and that’s another post) always said “Stop hinting!” every time I complained.  So I suppose D. is correct not to understand that when I say, “My arm has fallen off” that means to call the ambulance.  I ought to just directly ask or, better yet, do as my mother would have me do and call the ambulance myself.  This, people, is why I walked six blocks home once on a broken ankle. 

D., on the other hand, just wants you to feel her pain.  She doesn’t expect you to do anything about it.  Her mother (arguably worse than mine) didn’t generally bother and so she doesn’t expect anyone to call the ambulance.  When I do, she’s pleasantly surprised.  Throughout our entire relationship, we’ve had a lot of these conversations:

Me: I’m cold.
Her: …
Me: Brrr.  Aren’t you cold?  I wonder if there’s a blanket in here.  Is there a blanket over there by you?
Her: Yes.
Me: …  Can I have it?

That’s what I mean by a disconnect.  Now that we know what our problem is, we might reach whole new height of sick devotion to one another!


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