Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Just the way you are!
I’m full of self-deprecation today. I am trying to be keenly aware of just how powerful my words can be. They can lift someone up or they can tear down an already fragile confidence.
Sometimes in my frustration I respond to my brother in what might seem to him, a condescending tone. His rituals at times make me react in a way that doesn’t sound very supportive. He has a routine that never varies and he adheres to adamantly. When he called last night at 7:30 on the dot to speak to Ron I had to tell him Ron had not gotten home from work. I told Mike that as soon as Ron arrived I would have him call him. Mike’s response was, “I take my pills at 8:00”.
With a tone of frustration, I responded, “OK, what does that have to do with Ron calling you back? You can still answer the phone can’t you?” Then I proceeded to go into a lecture about how the world won’t spin off its axis if he takes his pills at 8:15 rather than 8:00, etc. etc. etc.
I could almost hear my brother’s spirit wilt under the heat of my sharp tongue. I knew that I had failed to really listen to what my brother was telling me and to put myself in his world.
What Mike was really saying when he said, “I take my pills at 8:00” is…..
*I must take my pills at the same time every day for fear that I will forget them….
*I’m afraid that if I miss a pill I will have a psychotic episode and begin hearing, “The voices”.
*I’m fighting for my sanity!
*I need my routine in order to feel safe!
I was feeling really bad after I hung up the receiver because I realized my expectations are too high. I have to understand that it takes him longer to express himself, that sometimes he does sound goofy, that I have to accept him as he is……..love him as he is…..appreciate him as he is.
Within a few minutes my phone rang again. Mike began by saying, “I have to confess, I told you a white lie.” I said, “Really? Do you want to tell me what it was?”
After a slight pause Mike answered, “I don’t remember.”
Then it was my turn to confess. I told him I was sorry for not really listening to him. I validated his fear and told him he is doing a great job of keeping himself well. But, mostly I just said, “I love you, just the way you are.”