Step 4: Column 4 Tattletale
Resuming our Step 4 Inventory (see sidebar for Not So Scary Inventory Worksheet of Step 4) , we are ready for column 4: What Did I Do?
My brother, Randy, who had stopped speaking to me during our adult years, was just 2 years younger than I. For quite a while and couldn’t think of how I contributed to the problem.
What did I do? I tried to remember our early school years. One of his many nicknames for me was Tattletale. True. I wrote that down. Mom liked to have me tag along with him because I would tell her in detail everything that happened, never omitting to tell when he scooted his hairy toe over the line. I’ve mentioned earlier that I competed with his friends… so that also made me really popular with him. Wrote that down. But that was nothing compared to what I remembered next.
Besides having to take me along when he went hunting, fishing and clowning around with his friends; he had another legitimate gripe. My boyfriend had a sister that dated Randy for a while and we would double date in their family station wagon. In fact, often we would have both of our younger brothers and their dates in tow. That was a challenge. Being my normally controlling self, when we went ‘parking’ I levied hand checks every few minutes! I would turn on the inside dome light and yell “hand check” and everyone had to put their hands in the air. It was a big pain to everyone, but hey… the station wagon crew was my responsibility, or so I felt. I honestly don’t know how any of them put up with me! I did contribute to how little he wanted to talk to me.
Now for the next row: Mom. My mom who had a strong focus on all things male, found Randy infinitely more intriguing than me. I have to agree. He’s probably the funniest off-the-cuff quipper I’ve ever heard and a genius to boot. His epic humorous stories should be published. (But analyzing isn’t part of Step 4.)
What did I do? I froze her out.
When I wasn’t doing that I was mouthy, sassy, lippy… disrespectful to her. She loved to teach crafts, cooking, sewing and art. All my friends found her to be delightful but I rejected everything she knew. Resenting anything that she valued, I waited until the last semester to take home-ec which was required for all girls. Specifically, when she tried to help me cook, I’d explode. I remember once I yelled, “I can read, can’t I? I can read the recipe on the box, read a cookbook and look it up when I’m ready. I’ll figure it out when I leave home, if I live that long.” Such a joy to live with.
~ By the time I went down the rows and filled in the 4th column, I had a fairly accurate picture of my reactive behavior. Not a pretty picture. No wonder I’d been having so many relationship issues. If there’s one thing that I had going for me, it was consistency. Have you found yourself to be consistent?