Mean Reds

I loved Breakfast at Tiffany’s and this quote struck me the first time I watched the movie:

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Fear makes me angry. So for me the mean reds are being afraid and then lashing out but not quite knowing why. This has made it hard to blog because a lot of my posts that I prepared came across as extremely whiny and highly self-absorbed. Not the sort of energy I want to be putting out into the universe.

Then ML and I had an argument before he went to work yesterday. Thank goodness for technology! We were able to continue our conversation over text, not being in front of each other allowed us to delete phrases that weren’t kind before they were even sent. Within 5 minutes we realized that we had both been shrugging off little things in the interest of being nice. Except we hadn’t really been shrugging them off. We had been allowing them to build up and make us both miserable.

Through our conversation we realized we were afraid of making the other unhappy. Which baffled us because we both went, “Have I been mean recently?” Nope. I suspect this more to do with our own anxieties rather than the other person.

So this morning a small change made a big difference. ML hadn’t slept well last night. Previously I would have tried to tiptoe around him then get upset when I was running late for work and he hadn’t helped, in spite of the fact that he asked if I needed help and I said no because I was being nice. This morning, I let him sleep a bit longer but instead of letting him have coffee in bed I asked him to help me prepare breakfast while I did the dishes. Though we both woke a bit later we not only got everything done but I got to work on time. A huge difference from me doing all the things we can work on together and only waking him when I need him to move quickly and then shouting requests at him through the bathroom door as I get ready.

Instead we were a team. Not surprisingly he was happy to get out of bed and help. It turns out my ‘kindness’ was actually stressing him out and making him not feel useful but he thought it was working for me so didn’t want to ruin my plan.

The outcome of our conversation is that we need to focus on being partners again. Turns out we’re both suffering from the mean reds and the only way to combat them is to work on our self awareness and tell the other person what we need.

I’ve taken up walking and I hesitated to invite ML as he exercises and walking isn’t his favourite past time since he’s on his feet most of the day. Rather I’ll invite friends to go with me. It was only as a result of our argument that I found out he likes walking with me as it gives him a chance to say things he wouldn’t necessarily share otherwise. We have a date tonight and I’m looking forward to getting my steps in while just chatting with the person I love.

What do you do when you get the mean reds?

Image from here

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6 thoughts on “Mean Reds

  1. A fellow blogger wrote about “niceness” recently, and someone had said to her that nice people aren’t nice. Nice people say nice things to your face and then turn around and grumble about the things they’re not happy with. There was a bit more to it and I found it hard to hear, but realised how true it was. We need to realise that communicating effectively sometimes has nothing to do with being nice or not, that once everyone gets it all out on the table, it’s just sorting out facts and making a decision. I’m glad to hear you are communicating better with your partner and finding great solutions to bond again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks!
      That is an interesting perspective and I’m not sure i agree. I think if you’re willing to set and enforce boundaries you can be nice without being insincere. That sounds more like passive aggression, which we fell into, than actual niceness. I’ve found that the line between two can be very, very fine.
      Our big problem was that our communication eroded so slowly that we didn’t quite realize we had a problem until we were both upset. Thankfully that upset worked as a wake up call to communicate rather than to dig in our heels and make it worse.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great topic and I like how you addresed it. I used to do the same things, there were a lot of assumptions going on. Then someone casually said, “you need to ask for what you want.” It was an epiphany. Communicate! It really opened up a better intimacy for us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!
      It’s true that we need to be clear. I think ML and I work hard on our communication and then we have a period that we’re totally in sync with each other so we stop working on our communication and enter this cycle.
      Luckily it’s down to just a couple of weeks breakdown so we can quickly get back to a good spot.

      Liked by 1 person

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