Picking Fights

How’s this for starting a sunny Saturday with your beloved hubby:

My husband Thom tells me during breakfast (before we’re supposed to leave for a lovely day at our favorite lake), that he forgot to bring home the important papers he’d said we’d go over this weekend so we could make a major financial decision. No matter, we can do it during the week and hopefully it won’t impact much.

I stand in the kitchen, bowl in hand, considering how hard I’d have to throw it to hit him in the face. Because I’m not a violent person, and I love my husband dearly in spite of his forgetfulness, I put the bowl down and opt for a less grisly choice. I walk out of the kitchen, leaving him to finish his freshly made omelette all by himself. Two minutes later, I can’t help myself,  I come back into the kitchen, and find him nonchalantly chewing on his bagel, looking like his morning is going just peachy. I can’t resist. I deploy the nuclear weapon:

“Thom, do you know what I think about when you minimize important things, when you forget stuff, and when it doesn’t seem to faze you? Do you want to know? Would you like to know what goes through my head? I think the only option for me is to jump off the Piscataqua Bridge! It would end my suffering. I’d never have to be victimized by your forgetfulness again! Suicide. It would be quick, and less painful than living with you! They’d probably never find me, and you could do your own thing!”

Still chewing, he looks at me blankly. “Why don’t you go for your run before we leave, I think you need it.”

“A run isn’t going to solve this! How can I go to the lake with you? I’ll never be able to depend on you! What if I’m drowning? You’d forget to save me!”

And with that, he puts down his bagel and walks out of the room saying he’ll spend the day by himself because he’s obviously too dangerous to hang around with.

Three important things you need to know before I proceed:

  1. I love my husband dearly. He’s a sweetie pie. He’s dependable. He’s a bit forgetful.
  2. I would never jump off the Piscataqua bridge. I’m not suicidal, or depressed, or hopeless, especially over a piece of paper. Besides, it’s a LONG way down…..
  3. I’m from New York, and I’m dramatic. We New Yorkers tend toward hyperbole. And we say some things purely for effect. (You have to, when you’re one in ten million.)

Luckily, in my mid-twenties I became a psychotherapist, (probably partly to temper the innate hot-headedness in me which New York amplified). Part of the training is to do a lot of your own therapy, to understand the process, and to learn how to “steer your own ship”. One of the things you learn, if you’re a good student, is how and why you might pick fights. You also learn how to take the high road, and fess up when you’ve been an ass.

Fast forward back to my kitchen where Thom has dejectedly decided to finish his bagel. I walk in holding the beach bag full of fun stuff, flash a big smile and say, “Re-do! How would you like to go to the lake with your ridiculous wife who’s great at ruining a morning?  I’m sorry for jumping on you. Let’s have a great day.”

He ambles over to me, grins, gives me a big bagel kiss, and says, “Let’s go, Jumper.”

(If you choose to pick a fight, you can also choose to end it)………

Gotta go swimming,

Susan Lager

About Susan Lager

ABOUT ME Susan Lager, LICSW, BCD I grew up in New Rochelle, a suburb of NYC, lived in Manhattan for ten years during college and graduate school, and escaped the madness for the wilds of Maine to be with Thom, the sweet man I'm still married to after 34 years. (We have an awesome 29 year old son named Alec who will run the free world someday). I knew I'd survive the relocation from New York when I discovered the scenic, historic little city of Portsmouth, on the coast of New Hampshire, with its winding streets, great restaurants, and music everywhere. I was especially thrilled to attend the Portsmouth Psychotherapy Institute, an offshoot of the B.I.P., where I did post-graduate training, and then went into private practice creating The Couples Center PLLC, doing psychotherapy, with individuals, couples and groups. In 2010 I opened a division of the practice called COUPLESPEAK™, providing live and online coaching, training programs, workshops, and written materials for people in different kinds of partnerships. I'm still passionate about the work, which is NEVER boring! My clients are courageous pioneers, and they've taught me lots I'll pass on......
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