Monday, January 27, 2014

He Has Things to Process, Too

The other night, Seth and I found ourselves in the middle of a slightly sarcastic misunderstanding.

Let's be honest... We all have them.

What the misunderstanding was about makes no difference.

I was thinking one way.  He was thinking the other.

Once the sarcasm turned more serious, I started to get snippy.

He got snippy back.

I pulled the 'turn the shoulder and give him the silent treatment' method.

That genius, nonproductive, technique lasted a whole 3 minutes before I caved in.

Abruptly and snootily I said,

"Are you being serious? Like, really?  Why are you caught off guard by this? Why don't you understand what I'm saying?"

He began to tell me his thought process.

I tried to listen, but I kept cutting him off, with the intent to plaster my reasoning all over him.  I was hoping that my relentless gumption would somehow, miraculously, make him understand my train of thought.  And in the times he was trying to explain his side, I secretly found myself yearning for him to pause so I could jump back in and prove my point even further.   I found myself saying the same thing in circles.  I was repeating myself time and time again.

Our voices weren't raised quite yet.

But our squabble was still squabblish.

I tried one last time to get him to jump ship and settle it by agreeing with me when he said very even keeled,

"I have things to process, too."

His words stole my thunder.


He calmly and non-accusingly said,

"You know how you have to process things?  Like your triggers?  Or flashes from your past?  Or your trust stuff?  Well, I have things from my past too... I have insecurities too... I have things that creep up and cause me to panic a little too.  I need to work through those things, just like you do.  But the good thing is that we are able to talk about this now so that it doesn't fester and get bigger and grow out of proportion."

I had no sharp comeback after that.

He had things to process too.  How could I argue that?  I was in the wrong.

After we talked it through, he said,

"Thanks for talking this out with me.  I feel better.  Things take time and I'll work on X,Y,Z.  But in the mean time, I still might give you crap about it here and there."

He smiled, we laughed, and hugged and diverted our attention to whatever else needed to be done.

Life moved on.  The debacle was over.

But in that moment, I had this realization. One I already knew, but apparently I need to be reminded of it.

Instead of being so focused on trying to persuade Seth to come to my side and see things the exact way that I do, it's more productive and healthy if we both come from our own sides and work on creating a safe, understanding and comfortable home in the middle.  Because it's not always about me and my feelings all the time.  So instead of thinking only about me, and getting consumed in why I feel the way I do, and why I think my way is the right way, and how on earth could he possibly think that?, it's so much more beneficial to actually HEAR what he is saying, PROCESS why he is saying those things, DISSECT where the issue/misunderstanding/hurt is coming from on BOTH sides (not just mine) and then WORK on how the two of us can compromise and find balance, together.

Our time and energy is better spent when we approach our issues/insecurities/hurts this way.  Because by doing so, we don't yell.  We don't argue.  We don't storm off mad.  We don't react.  We don't say things we regret.  We don't do the silent treatment.  We don't escalate.  We don't lash out.

We work on coming together.

Two different people.

Two totally different experiences.

Two sets of ideas.

Two types of personalities.

Two different genders.

He is patient and calm.

I am a flipping roller coaster.

He is quiet and reserved.

I am loud and over the top.

But we come together.

We grow together.

And we are building something stable and consistent and safe.

It takes work; lots of work.

It come with tears; lots of tears.

It requires listening; oh so much listening!

It involves patience; holy patience (which I lack, but am working on).

And it takes massive amounts of humility and empathy; real humility and genuine empathy.

Because it's not just all about me and my feelings all the time.

He has things to process, too.


  1. Why is that such a hard thing to realize? I've been there, several times, in fact. Thank you for sharing this with us; we all have things to work on and process. Love you lady!

  2. The other night I was processing things in a conversation with Christian (about who-knows-what) and I was reminding myself (yet again) that he and I don't have to think alike. I said, "I don't have to make YOU into ME in order to... in order to..." and he said, "In order to be WE." Exactly.

    1. I dig this Molly. Totally. Thanks for sharing ;)

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