Thursday, June 30, 2011

I figured it out!

With a little help :-). I think I understand the source of my relationship angst. I can't stand it when my partner talks to me like a child -- commands me to do something, demands compliance. When I tell him how this makes me feel, he defends himself with every excuse possible which makes me feel worse because he's basically telling me that my feelings don't count -- more childhood neurosis. There is no arguing with my partner -- in his mind he is rarely wrong. Feeling completely unloved and unrespected, I pull away. I am the Ice Queen for days. But it kills me inside because I don't like it when we are not getting along. The lack of any kind of affection is too much to take and finally I cave in. I apologize, we have sex and start all over again. This has been my life for the past two years. I am grateful for finally knowing exactly what it is that's pissed me off all this time. I just saved myself thousands of dollars of couples therapy! Now, how to fix it. It should be easy -- my partner has to change. WRONG ANSWER -- I cannot expect him to change. Been there with other relationships, bought the break-up t-shirt. I HAVE TO CHANGE. I have to forgive my Dad for never once considering my Mom's feelings or respecting her wishes. I have to forgive him for barking orders at us like soldiers in his platoon, for never once considering our feelings or letting us express an opposing view. I have to realize that most of us are naturally defensive when accused of a wrong-doing. I have to just accept that my partner is a defense attorney at heart and that he will not change. I should also insist that he treat me respectfully.  It's a deal breaker. Will these changes fix what's broken? Time will only tell. At least it's a start. I already feel better from just typing it.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Knowing your stuff

I know that I've really solidified my understanding of something when I can explain it to someone else -- especially someone like my Mom or my 5 year old. Better yet, is to be so confident of your understanding that you can politely challenge someone else's thinking. I was given the opportunity to present the other side to a colleague today who is fresh out of school and got all of his economic info from his professors who sing the praises of the monetary system. I was pretty psyched to expand his understanding by showing him the harsh realities of the system. But as I started to head down that path, I started stumbling. I was all over the place -- interest rates were up, inflation was up (or is that down), foreign currency was devalued (is that a good thing). After what seemed like an eternity of incoherent babbling, I resorted to useless ad hominems -- "yeah, those fat cats on wall street are assholes, there's collusion on both sides, the whole system is fucked up". Way to go D! Important lesson today -- when you're not really sure about something, just keep your mouth shut. And if you want to know more about something, then really LEARN about it -- from others who know and by reading reliable sources, not 5 min Youtube vids.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Marshall Law

What does it take for people to change their ways -- to stop trashing the earth, end poverty, defend their civil liberties, or even help one another? Forget 'people', what would make me act instead of just talk? I care. I vote. But neither affect change. Sadly, I think the majority of us need to be personally affected by something in order to make change happen. Taken to the extreme, if a national emergency were to strike and the health and safety of my family were at risk, I would damn well sure act. Marshall Law -- is that where we are headed? I hear signs of it more frequently now, thanks to my conspiracy theorist friends. I picture stock piling food, boarding up their homes and staying locked in their basements. Is it unrealistic? Why do people have to be pushed to the extreme before they'll take a stand? Why are we so glib about all of the freedom, security and luxuries we supposedly cherish? Maybe it's because we don't really care. We already have everything we need but feel compelled to want more (à la EGO), so we cling to ideals that are impossible to attain because the basics are boring.

I can't help but think of my 'ol friend Maslow again. Sometimes I feel over-privileged and out-of-touch when I hear myself go off about privacy and the right to freedom of expression when they are people who are fighting for their right to live. My cherished civil liberties are at the top of the pyramid -- they are nice to haves. They are also the first to go when survival needs are at risk. And then again, I am resentful that we cannot have one without the other -- privacy MUST be sacrificed in the name of national security. Says who? Maybe I just have to get out of this Utopian landscape I've painted for myself. Hopefully my family and I will never live to see Marshall Law. Hopefully life will get better with each passing generation. Hopefully.

I'm a failure as a parent

Big dose of karma as I play witness to my kid's disrespectful, unruly, whiny, spolied, inappropriate and annoying behaviour. Yes, these are the little products of my parenting. I have lost the battle -- they no longer respect my authority, they are a complete embarrassment to my half-assed attempt at 'gentle discipline'. I'm ready to get them each DSes, sign them up for away camp, send them to day-long playdates, plug them into more TV -- anything to get them out of my hair -- anything to placate them into complying.

SIGH. I know the melodrama here is a bit much, but this is how I feel -- completely hopeless. A friend of mine tried to help me out today by offering what works for them -- consistency, clear consequences, immediate repercussions -- no guff. Show them you mean business or they'll walk all over you. So I did it today and it was a colossal failure. When my daughter started to give me lip, I sternly told her that her behaviour was disrespectful and asked her to stop immediately. Same as always, she continued to back-talk, so I sent her to bed without story time -- a 'fair' punishment. And as expected she cried and yelled and fussed and got even angrier. When she finally calmed down, I asked her if she knew why she had been sent to bed and of course she could not articulate her offense. I was just a bad mean mother. Great. Did she 'learn the lesson'? No, she did not. Will she do it again? Probably. Maybe the punishment was not stern enough. In fact she decided that she much preferred reading to herself in bed anyways and made sure to show me that my lame-ass attempt at corporal punishment would not break her. Ugh. I've got to dig deep and find my back bone here. My friend is right -- consequences must be immediate. I am inconsistent, I tolerate inappropriate behaviour to avoid the pain and then just snap and go ape-shit on them when I can't take it anymore. I am the crazy woman in the picture my 7 year old drew of me here.

How will this play out next time? Warnings and reason -- I should have explained that we speak to eachtother with respect and that if she continues to speak to me in that tone I will not want to carry on a conversation with her let alone read her a story. It's the same punishment, but made with a better link to the offensive behaviour. Maybe if reminded of the consequence, she would have chosen to stop? I didn't give her the opportunity. I should know how to do this. I tell my partner all the time -- I'll be ready to carry on this conversation when you are ready to speak to me respectfully. And it always works.

I need to make it clear that when they are suffering the consequences for their misbehaviour (and throwing a fit in the process), that THEY are the ones that chose their path and that they are the ones that can make a different choice to fix the problem. I can see this working. Have to just remember to apply it which is not so easy when I am seeing red ... which is another important tip -- keep it together.

I also need better adjectives to describe their misbehaviour. "I don't like your attitude" "Smarten up" "Stop being a brat" -- these are not working. When I try to label the behaviour, I invite them to defend themselves, which just prolongs the lip. My words need to be few, but effective.

Last bit of great advice -- it will pass. My parenting days are few compared to the number of days they will live without me. This is not that big a deal. I was just as annoying as a child, it's what kids do. K, I think I'm ready for the next round. I will not let my partner rescue me. I want to be the best parent I can be. I want the best outcome for all of us.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

More on openness

Back to that story my friend told me of being stung by new love -- I am saddened for another reason. Being open and honest about his emotions is what pushed her away. The chase, the allure, the games -- it's so fucked up! Why hide the beauty of being into someone or something. I love to see passion in other people -- to hear it in their voice and see their eyes light up. It moves me to no end. I feel a special kinship with those who are not afraid to put it on the table and be true to their emotions. And yet I know that society will not embrace openness, that they will be trampled on and made to feel stupid for being so vulnerable. Sigh. I'd like to find this stupid chick and give her a piece of my mind for rejecting someone's honestly. Actually I'd like to round up all the game players and give them an earful.

Then again .... I do it too, inadvertently though. It's no secret that I am less interested in my partner after years of kids, fights, boredom, resentment, etc. That's marriage afterall. And yet what he perceives as aloofness turns him on even more. I know that karma will bite me in the ass for being so arrogant but it's just the way things are. I'm not purposefully trying to play hard to get, I just have a lot going on in my life and thankfully he doesn't take up much space. I don't NEED him and I like it that way. And so this un-neediness is what makes him want me more. Fool. So maybe my friend's love interest was disinterest and not rejection of his openness. Ahhh, it's still 'effed up.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Healing Sex

A friend of mine was telling about being stung by a girl he was really into. They had just met and he's the type of guy who typically plays his cards right from the start so that he can get what he's after. But for some reason this girl got the best of him -- her sweetness and attentiveness sucked him right in to the point of him losing the aloof demeanor that drives women to pursue him harder. He was really into her and started to show it. And unfortunately this openness and honesty was too much too soon. It put her off and she ended up rejecting him. Hurt and ashamed he ran to the bed of his ex that night and to the bed of his ex once removed the next night and then picked up a new girl the night after that. Sigh. While I never quite whored around like that, I know exactly the feeling of having sex to heal a wound. In fact I still do it. But does it really fix things? It seemed to repair my friend's esteem. But what did it do for the women he slept with in the process? I bet they did not realize they were being used. Then again, maybe they were using him.
Sex is complicated. We do it for so many reasons -- love, stress, routine, drunkenness, exercise, boredom, insomnia, restitution, guilt and even healing. The great thing about it is that you don't have to own up to why you want it. Your partner has their own reasons too and it's just understood that it's something you both get to keep to yourselves. Whatever brought you to eachother doesn't matter because sex is meant to melt it all away.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Review from Hell

Time to reflect on my Performance Review -- the review from hell. Rather than talk about ways to build on my strengths and overcome weakness it was an open stage for my manager to dredge up everything that pissed her off about my performance. I was accused of purposely hiding my work and not keeping her informed, taking on extra tasks to avoid working on my priorities, tarnishing my manager's career and being disrespectful and unprofessional by talking about her to her manager, being unable to communicate with people whose opinions differed from my own, and being unable to recognize when I was in over my head. I think there's more, but it disgusts me to write it.

It should not surprise me. We have a horrible working relationship and she blames me for her own poor performance and lack of leadership. That's not to say that I don't have faults. I do have a difficult time respecting the authority of those I fee don't desserve it. And I don't like being supervised for work I know how to do, which is why we are a match made in hell. She needs compliance -- someone who wants to be micro-managed and who will pander to her insecurities. I want autonomy, respect, and most of all PEACE. So rather than take the high road and politely smile at all these accusations, I fought back. And sadly, I legitimized her attacks by addressing them. But the Abused has to fight back or she cannot get better. So I should not regret it. I feel stronger because of it and for that alone I should be grateful. I should not let her negativity erode my self worth. I have already stewed about this for 7 hours. Innerpeace where are you?

Realize that none of this matters. The people whose opinions REALLY count know what I am capable of. More importantly, I know what I did, what I can do, what I will do. Keep that in your heart D and press on.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The other senses

I'm always blown away by the way a scent or song can take me right back to a particular time in my life -- more than any visual cues. Today it was the song 'Wicked Game'. I was 18 again and so in love with my boyfriend. Maybe it was the wine that helped transport me to his apartment tonight. It's been years since I've thought about those feelings -- inseparable in every way. No resentment, no expectation, no obligation. I was too young to know anything about relationship baggage. Time stood still in that tiny bachelor. We were eachother's world. Man, it was another lifetime ago.
The second time a non-visual sense evoked a strong memory this week was smelling a 'scratch-n-sniff' sticker the other day, dill pickle. Ho.Li.Shit. Suddenly I was sitting on the ratty carpet at the front of my Grade 2 classroom, impatiently waiting for my turn to smell it again, thrilled about how a mere sticker could smell so realistic and wondering what pizza or root beer would smell like.
Incredible, how little we appreciate our senses. How lucky I am to have them all still working!

Saturday, June 4, 2011


At what point does having an opinion become preaching your own dogma? I worry about this because I enjoy sharing my viewpoint on a topic but I don't want to come off as being opinionated or preachy. A senior colleague of mine told me yesterday that when people won't re-assess their views when presented with new evidence, there's no point even consulting them anymore. Yikes! I don't want that to be me. Is it too late?

I also worry about the effect it has on my kids. My last post on teaching my kids about consumerism has got me thinking about it. I don't want to send them the message that they have to conform to my views.  This is how I was raised. I want them to develop their OWN opinions.

A good friend of mine is quite good at keeping personal opinions in check. Wait to be asked. Don't be offended if someone's opinion is contrary to your own. Rather than defend your own views, ask questions and use the opportunity to educate yourself on the other side. This will either help you adjust your opinion or solidify it. People will respect you for it and if they are appreciative of your respect for hearing their side, they might want to do the same and hear your views. I suck at this! I get too emotional about my opinions. I identify myself with my beliefs. And I think people with opposing viewpoints are misinformed -- they are just wrong -- wrong and stupid. :-)

Again, this is something I can work on. When I see the dogma in others, it makes me even more aware. Using my friend's approach helps too. This I am grateful for. Climate change deniers, NeoCons, Pro Lifers .... bring it!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Some parenting notes

I've got to teach my kids about consumerism and the value of money. I think my partner and I do a fairly decent job by living by example. We skip commercials on the PVR, we don't give into our kid's demands for the latest plastic junk fad, we buy used clothing and toys as much as possible, and we have conversations about living within your means and investing in quality. But I think we can do better. Here are a couple other pointers I learned today:

1. Explain to kids that they are being marketed to: the toy companies don't care about you, they only care about your money. I don't think I've ever put it this way before. Makes perfect sense. Once they understand the intent behind the message, they'll be less likely to be sucked in. This one also makes me smile because it's a message I've reminded my partner of many times -- "the stripper that danced for you guys all night, she doesn't want you, just your money."

2. Show them the effects of consumerism: pictures of landfill, basements filled with shit (don't have to go far to witness that one), fat kids who ate too much MacDonald's, etc. Hell why not talk about child labour or unsafe working conditions in overseas sweat shops (k, maybe that's a bit too much, at least for now).

3. Talk about credit cards and the concept of interest. My 7 yr old is strong in math and I know he'll get this, but for some reason I hesitate to talk about the harsh realities of life. But why not be straight about it? Is this why so many ppl are are drowning in debt? Teaching the kids financial literacy is my responsibility. Maybe they are ready for it.