Eleanor had a problem on her hands. With three young children all requiring lots of help and attention to get ready for school in the morning, and a husband who seemed more interested in taking care of himself than in helping her, the resentment was building to a dangerous boiling point.
If she had been pressed, she would have had to acknowledge that there were some mornings where he did offer to help without needing to be asked, but she was mad that she ever had to ask. After all, she figured, you’d have to be BLIND or STUPID not to see the chaos and overwhelm she was dealing with every day. So, many mornings, in addition to three breakfasts, three lunches to pack, numerous temper tantrums as shoes or clothes didn’t fit right, someone’s homework to find, she was also packing a pretty hefty load of anger and frustration.
THE EXTRA WEIGHT OF RESENTMENT
She is making things harder for herself than they need to be, and with three young kids, she certainly doesn’t need to be doing that! There are times he does help on his own, and when he is asked he will help. In fact, it seems like the only reason he doesn’t help at certain times is because, rather than ask, she’d rather scream, bitch or sulk.
In my years of coaching women, I’ve seen a common issue: the belief or attitude that: “if he (boyfriend/husband) were really a (good/loving/thoughtful/aware/ mature - insert your favorite one here) man, I wouldn’t have to ask!” This attitude causes a lot of trouble in relationships between men and women. Let me give it to you straight and simple:
You have to ask.
Men need to know what we want. They can’t read our minds. They want to know what the right path is to success, so that they don’t risk failure (a very bad thing for a man to experience).
Think of it this way: I’m guessing you probably don’t need to think twice about taking out a map when you’re driving somewhere you don’t know how to get to. Well, this is just like that for men...they need the map. I know, you’re probably saying “but this is the same thing all the time – can’t I just tell him once and then it’s DONE?” That brings us to the next point about men.
MEN’S MONOTRACKING MINDS
It is a well-documented fact that men’s and women’s brains function differently. Men are “mono-tracking”, as compared to us being “multi-tracking”. So, even though you’re fuming at his seeming disregard for the most obvious chaos going on around him (and your crystal-clear need for his help – which ANYONE alive would see!), I will bet you that he isn’t even aware of it. He’s off in another world, solving this or that problem in his head. You’ll be much happier if you just give him the benefit of the doubt, assume he wants to help, and just ask.
The other thing that doesn’t work for Eleanor is the fact that she’s choosing to suffer and feel bitchy, rather than ask for help. Could it be that there is some part of her that feels more comfortable being resentful and/or bitchy?
I’ve certainly seen plenty of women over the years that have felt so resistant to intimacy and vulnerability (most often not very consciously) that things get set up in a relationship to keep the distance (which resentment certainly provides!).
If that is going on for you, please figure out how to stop that habit - quickly. Whatever pain from our past causes this behavior, we have more productive ways to get what we really need than to drive a wedge between us and our men.
We all want to feel loved, accepted, and respected in our relationships. It’s important to remember that men really are different, and need to be asked for what we want from them (respectfully, of course) rather than our expecting them to “know” what we need. When we do that, we can trust that the way we are relating with each other allows us to feel valued for exactly who we are. And isn’t that a whole lot better than bitching?
This article was posted on June 30, 2006
About The Author
Karen Jones is the founder of The Heart Matters – since 1997, a relationship coaching and seminar company that’s been successfully helping women have the relationship they’ve always dreamed of. To learn how Karen can help you find the right man, please visit her website: http://www.TheHeartMatters.com. To receive the complimentary monthly newsletter, “Ask the Coach”, and also get the immediately downloadable bonus gift “Three Things You Can Begin Doing Right Now to Dramatically Improve Your Relationships with Men” please go to: http://www.TheHeartMatters.com/Newsletter_Signup.htm.
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