Friday, May 04, 2007

Own it

Let's see if i can describe this succinctly.

I was talking with a woman i know. Kind of a friend, certainly someone with who i am friendly. She was telling me a story about how some other mother had interferred in some high school social situation and had hurt my friend's daughter's feelings. Certainly not intentionally, but thoughtlessly.

At the end of the conversation, after telling me that she knew that other mother had not been being mean, she said, "My husband's comment was 'What the hell was that idiot (other mother) thinking?'"

Something about this struck me as odd, so i have been navel-gazing about it for a few hours, and i realize that this is not the first time that my friend has used her husband as a proxy for her real feelings.

I am going to guess that she does this in order to preserve her image of herself as a nice person who doesn't talk smack about other people.


For god's sake woman, own your own crap! It's like a mirror of "Wait 'til your father gets home;" Daddy as heavy; The man as the repository of anything even vaguely hostile. Bah.

I don't need no man to be hostile for me, i can do it on my own. :)

40 comments:

TTQ said...

Own your crap, more people need to learn how to do that..

mrschili said...

It all comes back to personal responsibility. Owning it is step one.

I do have to admit, though, that my husband and I have a pact where, if one wants to get out of something - an invitation or some such - one has carte blanche to use the other as an excuse. "Oh, I"m so sorry, I can't come by this afternoon (or "I can't stay much longer," or whatever) because my husband/wife has a meeting/appointment/class and I have to be home for the girls." My best and dearest have also been given the green light to use me to get out of stuff. It's kind of a 'you lie and I'll swear to it' sort of thing. It's a little sketchy in the morality department, but it's come in handy many a time...

flutter said...

That's it EXACTLY. If you're going to be pissed, then be pissed! Own your crap!

Cagey said...

Oooo, astute observation! I am not sure if I do this myself, but will now be the one watch for it.

holly said...

jeez,you caught me! I try to be nice as often as possible (although those who know me may disagree) but there are times when I really want to slam someone.

for example, I was shopping with a friend, and she bought her toddler son a fruity little outfit, akin to something the princes of wales would have worn. I can't stand to see little boys wearing prissy outfits, so...I lied and said, "I think those little outfits are so cute, but rich won't let me dress tony in anything like that, he says he would look like a sissy." does that make me an awful person, since I couldn't bring myself to tell her that her sons look like sissies, and they act like it, too?

I am such a liar.

Gentleman Rook said...

There really is a wide grey line between lying and diplomacy, but you're right on the money about being your own person. There's something good about knowing your spouse has your back in case of a lie of necessity, but gods, take responsibility for your words and deeds. If more people did that we'd all be in a far better position as a society.

/soapbox

*grin* Hope everyone had a happy Friday!

Nancy Dancehall said...

Wow, so it's like, 'good spouse, bad spouse?' Eww. I wouldn't appreciate that, if O did it to me.

But we do take the same approach sometimes that Mrschilli takes; using each other (with permission) to get out of some things. It's rare, but we do.

meno said...

ttq, i have to admit, that i too am still working on it. But at least i try.

mrs.chili, the backing up the spouse thing is almost a given in my world. I do the same for Em if she is ever in an uncomfortable situation, just say that her mom needs her and off she goes. No problem. It was just the denial of the emotional response that caught me on this story.

flutter, yeah, none of this pretending that i am too ladylike to EVER get angry. HA!

cagey, well, if you ever do, i bet you'll notice it. I know i will now, i mean if i do it, not you.

hi holly, that's actually a pretty funny story. I wonder if she knew it was you anyway.

g. rook, thanks for stopping by. And take responsibility for your emotions, especially. I would, but my husband won't let me. :)

thailandchani said...

I'm big on owning your own crap. The quickest way to lose all credibility is to use someone else to relay messages.

Yuck~


~Cgani

QT said...

I am way too un-diplomatic to do something like that. Usually shitty emotions are written all over my face. That is not always a good thing.

patches said...

When the Missus attributes something emotional like that to the Mister, it is because he really said it and he should own it. She doesn't shift the blame to him. She either owns her crap or adopts the don't ask don't tell policy. If they don't ask her opinion, she doesn't give it.

Maggie said...

I think owning it is important too. Having each other's backs is a lot different than giving your emotions to someone else so you don't have to look bad. Hubby and I figure if one of us looks bad, the other does too. Cause you know, we try to be a team. Try.

And yes I would vote that you fulfilled the friday word challenge.

Lynn said...

Is she afraid to stand up and point fingers because she knows that there are fingers that would be pointed at her?

gr said...

Un huh, that's what the cats say, 'I can be hostile on my own'.

mrschili said...

Meno, I TOTALLY forgot about the whole kid thing! We're ALREADY talking to our kids about how they have a blank check to blame us so they can get out of ANYTHING that send up red flags for them, and they're only eight and nearly-ten.

"I'm sorry, I can't *insert problematic activity here* with you; Mom says I can't go" is a perfectly acceptable way to cover their own cute little butts. They can even bad-mouth me if they want; I don't really care what their friends will think of me, so long as my babies have a viable "out" for things they know they shouldn't do, but feel pressure to do anyway.

Joan said...

I absolutely agree that everyone should take responsibility for everything in their lives...including their own emotions. Why should the image of a spouse be tainted simply because a woman doesn't want to be branded as a nasty person? Geez...

Stucco said...

Most of us fellas have so few assigned roles- it's a shame o see you putting another man out of work :)

liv said...

Which is sort of the opposite of how the smack fell in my house for years....don't you even go pissing off that crazy liv. call her kind, lower blood pressured husband if there's bad news...

meno said...

nancy, i wouldn't appreciate it either. But mrs.chili's thing is okay with me. I've done it.

chani, exactly. My crap is mine dammit!

qt, i know, i have that issue too. :)

patches, i am big on not offering opinions unless asked. Except here of course.

maggie, we try for that team thing too. Sometimes we even achieve it. Thanks for your vote!

lynn, interesting question. I'll have to ask her. NOT!

gary, cats are good for that.

mrs.chili, i too am happy to be the "mean parent". i don't care. use me baby!

joan, i am just fine with being that nasty person. It's true.

stucco, so sorry. next time i'm blaming you!

liv, you are so MEAN! I hear that all the time from mine. Ask daddy if you want a yes. :)

AC said...

I've got to tell this story to my husband!!!!

YukYuk. His clients who are driving him crazy with their house remodel, use this tactic all the time. Particularly when one of them makes a change order,

"So-and-So thinks the window should be over two inches. I think its all right but he/she doesn't so I guess you need to change it..." So-and-So is very concerned that 17 television outlets are not enough. I don't think we need any more but he/she does so I guess you need to change it..."

You're description, when I was searching for an apt one, of the Sweet 16 party blow out-idiocy was spot on.

By the way, my hiatus is over (one day, I'm addicted, I admit it) and I've tagged you with the ABC's meme (see my latest post for format) I hope its something you'll enjoy.

Mother of Invention said...

I wonder what her husband would think of her often doing this or maybe he doesn't know. Don't think I'd ever do that and she couldn't fget away with that in our small town, it'd get back to him pronto. Yes, own your own crap proudly!

Yep, navel gazing counts..especially if you took out the lint! Innie or outie?!! Touching my navel gives me the heebies..it's just too sensitive...weird eh?

jen said...

it's a common thing, isn't it. women are taught not to express anger. it's ingrained, isn't it.

and such a cop out. we are better than our conditioning.

Em said...

Very interesting observation. And I think you are right. People do often hide behind spouses/bosses/co-workers/others as a way of expressing their own feelings. Thank goodness you don't need to do that. Neither do I. I have no problem saying what needs to be said.

Sober Briquette said...

Throughout my childhood, I thought it was my dad who couldn't stand chewing sounds, but I am now convinced it was my mother, blaming him.

I needed smelling salts last week at dinner after Fiona, who spent the afternoon at her house, announced "Uncle Dave doesn't like any kind of mouth noises when people are eating." My mother doesn't want her to be afraid of Grandpa, so Uncle Dave has graduated to the heavy. What's the matter with just explaining good table manners?

Recently, Lorenzo has been having tantrums if I put him in bed for his nap or at night. As in, he'll scream for over an hour if I let him go. But if Tony is home, he happily says, "Daddy is tuckin' me in." One day at nap time, I resorted to, "Daddy wants you to go to sleep now." And I was rewarded for my behavior! But just that one day. Back to my own desperate devices.

Ortizzle said...

Yeah, I think you nailed it on this one. If the woman were sincerely forgiving and not holding a grudge of any sort, why would she even mention her husband's reaction? That would have to cause her embarrassment... unless of course her purpose was to rip off her husband, which doesn't appear to be the case.

Shrewd observation, Meno.

Toni said...

My husband said he agrees!

sari said...

I think we're brought up to not have opinions or rock the boat.

It's nice when someone can just say how they feel about something. I mean, what's the big deal in her situation, the woman wasn't there, she didn't need her husband to say anything for her. She could have just expressed her opinion and been done.

Interesting!

LazyLazyMe said...

"fruity little number" ?

Nice.

meno said...

ac, it's so much easier to blame the one not present. Poor man must be going insane.

moi, maybe he doesn't want his sweet wifey getting angry either. Who knows. Innie! :)

jen, it is common. And i will be on the lookout for it too, and ask uncomfortable questions. HA!

em, i sometimes need to have a little more trouble when expressing my feelings!

de, don't ever leave us again, ok? Great story about your mom. Perfect illustration. That mean old Uncle Dave!

ortizzle, i would have been pissed at the other mom, and i know she must have been too. ADMIT IT!

toni, heh heh heh. Good one. You're funny.

sari, yes we are, but hopefully we get over that crap. You ask good questions, i wish i knew the answers.

lazy, i think your arcane comment is referring to the colors? If so, thanks, if not, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?

Lee said...

I blame everything on my dog Bistro.

"You know, Bistro thinks you're a jerk."

meno said...

lee. yeah, your dog called me this morning to tell me that. :)

Chili Pepper said...

I do not see responsibility as bad. I think is is a positive; responsibility is a human trait or act. Treat others as you wish to be treated - this is our responsibility - regardless of age. Talk to the people (woman or man), deal with it directly. Be what you want them to be - set the bar!

and, by no means do I think it is easy - yet (not but) It is important for kids to see us live our examples vs hear our "wise" words.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

You're so right. I can be hostile my own damn self, too.

lu said...

It is weird to use someone else's voice to make a hostile point. Why would she want her husband to look like the mean one?

My ex must have done this a lot, because he tells me his friends, with whom I've never spent time, think I'm a bitch. I suppose it's a way to get exponential hostile points.

Malnurtured Snay said...

When this woman is walking with her husband across a college campus in june, does she turn to him and say, "Wow, these coeds have big boobs?"

Pendullum said...

I can one up you here...
My SIL only uses her sons opinion for everything... from the age of three on... The kid is now seventeen... and all 'opinions' expressed are his...
Bloody frustrating at best...

GEWELS said...

Maybe that's all her husband is good for. Hmm, did you ever think of that?
No, seriously, you feel what you feel so own up to it. Makes life MUCH easier in the longrun.

meno said...

chili pepper, i don't see it as bas either. i do see passing off your feelings as someone else's as bad though. Good point about the kids.

hearts, yeah, i got that part covered!

lu, i'm only guessing here, but women are supposed to be nice and sweet. Anger doesn't fit into that image. If your ex's friends have any brains (which they may not) they should know that what he tells them is skewed.

mal, ha ha ha! I sure hope so, but i sure doubt it.

pendullum, okay, you win, although i do know a woman like that. Drives me bananas.

gewels, i ain't asking and i don't want to know. Actually, he seems like a perfectly reasonable man.

Tink said...

When I was a preteen I used to tell my Mom, "So-and-so would like me to go to the movies." That way if she said no, it didn't reflect badly on me. "No biggie. I didn't really want to go anyway. It was so-and-so's idea." I don't know why I did it. Maybe I just needed to develop my balls... er, tits. I guess some people never develop them.

Jhianna said...

Hmmm... I'm pretty sure that I've done something similar. Does it matter that he actually said the negative thing? Probably not - it's a way for me to slam something or someone without taking the heat I guess.

I'll have to think on this one, thanks Meno.