The husband was sitting in the couch when the wife called out from the nursery, “Honey, come and see if you like this wallpaper I chose for the nursery.”
He called back “yes, it’s great” without getting up to see the wallpaper, thinking he just needed to say the right things.
“No. Come and see it,” the wife demanded, “I’m serious. Tell me if you like it.”
So he got up, walked to the nursery. Here was his wife, standing in their baby’s room, holding the wallpaper.
“What do you think?” She asked again, “Do you like the wallpaper I chose for the nursery?”
He hesitated for a few seconds, then he answered, “No, I don’t like it.”
As you can probably imagine, the wife got very upset and threw the wallpaper at him. But did the husband say anything wrong? He was just being honest.
After telling the story, Tweet this! Simon told us, “Listening is not repeating what was said. Listening is understanding why it was said in the first place.” He then explained how the wife was not really asking her husband whether he liked the wallpaper. She was really asking if he thought she was capable of making the right choices for her baby, whether he thought she was capable of being a mother. And he said “no”.
This revelation hit my heart like a hammer
I pulled over to the side of the road because my vision had become blurry. The children were soundly asleep in the back seat. I tried to control my sobbing so I wouldn’t wake the kids.
All of a sudden, I understood why I hap stopped asking my husband for his opinions about anything that has anything to do with me, why I simply hated hearing his voice.
When I was working in the bank as a new graduate, I would come home exhausted. And I would be lectured till 4am about how insensitive and inconsiderate I was for refusing sex, before I had to get up at 6.30am to start another day.
When I played with my babies and they crawl under my legs, I would be warned and yelled at for dooming my babies’ health and future.
When my young toddlers cry for whatever reason their daddy understood too little to figure out, I would be told plainly that I wasn’t capable at training good behavior in kids.
When I tried to get the kids to eat more at dinner so I wouldn’t have to get them food just before bedtime or in the middle of the night, I was told that I should sacrifice more.
When I asked if I could be alone for a couple of hours a week on Saturdays, I was told that I did not deserve any alone time because I wasn’t earning enough money to support the family.
Over the last ten years in this relationship, I was constantly being told that I am not capable, not adequate, not deserving, not enough. I had started to doubt myself. I had become more and more unsure of who I was.
Now that I know, I know I have a choice
It’s not about what other people say to us. it’s not about what happens to us. It’s about how we choose to respond.
I can continue to feel put down by some people’s words, or I can choose to be my strong and confident self.
I will not succumb to having sex just so I can get it over with and have a few more hours of sleep, or just to reduce the possibility of my husband cheating, or just to get a nice attitude from my husband for a few days. No. I will do what feels right to me.
I am grateful to my step-mum for what she has done for my dad and my grand parents. Whether she likes me or not is irrelevant. I will be there for her if she needs my help.
I am a good mother. And I know it because I know it. My affirmation comes from watching the babies grow into young toddlers, as they tell me their penguin and Spider-Man stories, as they ask me, “Mama, why are you so cute?” when we cuddle in bed in the morning.
I will be the breadwinner for my family one day. I was the one who built my husband’s client base to a level that’s providing our income now. And one day soon, I will be able to provide for my children and myself with the art that I create from my heart and with my soul!
And I will try to work through these issues in my marriage. Because that is what I choose.
Choose to see yourself as you are
Maybe like me, you have been emotionally abused. Maybe you have been told how you are inadequate, incapable or not good enough.
But know that these abusive words are not true. They come from only weakness. And these sources of weaknesses tend to latch onto a source of strength, which is you. Tweet this! You are strong, and stronger than you think. You just have to choose to see yourself that way.
“Are you near K-mart yet?” Alan woke up and started to look around.
“Almost.” I replied, gently wiping off my happy tears. I’ve started the engine, and I’m moving on.