Joyce was so tired of her husband always having an excuse when it came time to help with the weekly house cleaning.
They both worked outside the home and Joyce thought it was only fair that they each contribute to keeping their home clean but…
Somehow on Saturdays, Joyce was always the one who was left doing it all and she was angry and frustrated about it.
On Fridays, when she mentioned that the house needed to be cleaned the next day, her comment was met with a shrug and a grunt.
On Saturday mornings, he always conveniently had an errand that took him away from the house for most of the day.
As a result, she was barely civil to him on Sundays and during each week day, she felt even more closed down to him.
She knew they couldn’t go on feeling this way so she reached out to us for a coaching conversation.
If you’re feeling manipulated, here are some questions and what Joyce discovered as we talked that you might find helpful as well…
1. Is what you’re doing moving you closer to or further from what you want?
Slowing down to discover what it is that you truly want and then seeing if how you’re going about it is taking you toward that or away from it is the first area to explore.
When Joyce got calmer and slowed down her thinking, she realized that she dreaded every weekend because it always ended up the same way.
She spent most of her week thinking about how he never and would never help with the housework, allowing her anger to simmer underneath her interactions with her husband.
She realized that yes, she did want help with the housework but she also wanted the relationship they used to have together.
She wanted their love back, to have fun with him again without feeling manipulated.
2. Are you making a genuine, honest request?
So often when we think we’re being clear, we really aren’t.
We aren’t directly asking for what we want.
In looking deeper, Joyce realized that she’d assumed that she asked for her husband’s help but what she’d really done was sarcastically tell him it was time once again to clean the house.
She hadn’t ever invited him to a conversation around the possibility of how they might get the job done in a way that suited both of them.
3. Are you being open to listening and looking for a place and the space to mutually meet?
True listening helps people feel heard and respected and it doesn’t mean you always agree.
It allows the other person to put down their defenses and listen to you in a more open way to find a solution that pleases both of you.
As we talked, Joyce realized that she’d never listened to her husband’s views about house cleaning. He’d just learned to make himself unavailable during that time each week.
The following day, Joyce did invite her husband to talk about how they could have a clean house and get the job done.
As Joyce listened, she discovered that he didn’t think every cleaning task had to be done every Saturday. He also wanted to do other things on that day but would help on other days after he got off work.
Joyce realized that she had followed this strict cleaning schedule because this was her mom’s way of keeping house. Although she certainly liked a clean home, she could see that every cleaning task didn’t have to be done every week on a Saturday.
They both came up with a schedule that worked for them with the idea that they could revisit it together whenever one of them felt like a change was needed.
Feeling manipulated can be a paralyzing feeling but it doesn’t have to be that way.