When someone is an asshole to me, my initial reaction is usually to think, “Wow you really suck salty scrotums. I hope you choke on sperm chunks so hard it comes out your nose then dribbles down your face and back into your mouth.” It is easy to assume that rude conduct is indicative of a rude human. It can be hard to distinguish between the behavior and the person when someone is energetically, metaphorically, or physically crapping in your mouth. Yet just because someone is acting like a dick doesn’t mean they are one.
Even if you want to be all empathetic and shit, humans can still be exhausting to deal with! At any given moment they are slightly contrary, mildly antagonistic, or moderately unreasonable. When the person you are with is in a headspace you can’t relate to, the tendency is to want to shake them like a British nanny until they are living in your reality. What is wrong with you and your crazy fucking thoughts!!?
But the other day I had this epiphany about relationships. I was listening to this podcast that was talking about people with Alzheimer’s, and how to best relate to them. The prevailing thinking used to be that when Grandma would make statements that weren’t consistent with “reality,” you would correct her. You would say things like Grandma this is your home now, or that is your grandson, or don’t eat that- it’s a book. Yet now they suggest that rather than trying to talk Alzheimer’s patients out of their reality, you enter into it. If Grandma says she sees monkeys out the window, you tell her how much you hope they come inside and run around. You don’t deny them of their reality, but instead embrace it.
Isn’t that so profound!? I feel like this logical is applicable to all people. We construct these narratives in our heads that make up our realities, and when people argue them it puts us on the defensive. NO MAN, STOP TELLING ME YOUR REALITY. THIS IS MY REALITY!! But instead of trying to always force our realities onto others, why not embrace theirs?
When I am having an issue with someone, what is usually most important to me is how they are making me feel. But what if I turned that thinking around and instead focused on what they felt? So I decided to try this with The Munch the other day to see if it could be effective in how I deal with her when she is being a total fuckface… I mean faintly challenging.
Here is the situation. We were getting ready in the morning, and I told her we had to go to her hippy doctor so she could get her wandering eye poked at with crystals and sage or whatever.
Munch: I don’t want to go today. I just want to go to Debbie’s house.
Toni: But I made the appointment already, and it is too late to cancel so we are going.
We went downstairs to eat breakfast, and The Munch’s mood turned to shit. She was cranky, yelling, and eventually threw her shoe in the sink while I was doing dishes. I wanted to throw my shoe at her damn face at after that, but I decided I would try and enter her reality instead.
Toni: Munch, what is going on with you? Is something wrong? I think you knew better than to throw your shoe. Can you tell me what is going on?
Munch: I really don’t want to go to the doctor today. It sometimes hurts, and I don’t want to get my eye adjusted. I just want to go to Debbie’s house.
Okay! I can work with that. In all fairness, she had made a request that I didn’t listen to, so she was upset. I can understand why it is hard for her to have to go to the doctor and get prodded – and she didn’t want to deal. It is not like I am going to acquiesce to her every time she doesn’t want to do something, but I felt compassion in the for her in that moment.
So I took Munch’s appointment at the hippy doctor and it was AWESOME! She totally fixed my ankle that had been hurt for months. So WIN for ME!
Poor Muchee and her eyepatch