Friday, March 4, 2011

Talking... or Not

What is it that makes most of the world’s greatest books or movies great? Costumes and gorgeous scenery always work for me but if you set those aside it’s dialogue. Who can forget “Frankly my dear I don’t give a damn”, “Fasten your seatbelts it’s going to be a bumpy night”, “That’s all”, “Have fun storming the castle!”, and “Here’s looking at you, kid”. If you have a favorite movie then I’m willing to bet you can quote at least a couple of lines from it. If you’re like my husband and it’s The Big Lebowski then you can do the entire movie verbatim and to suit any occasion- which is a startling accomplishment from a man who can’t remember what we fought about at the Macaroni Grill in Denver on July 4, 1998 (I’m just saying).

Why then is dialogue one of the hardest things in real life? I’m sure there are massive groups of people out there who say exactly what they mean all the time (and not just the crazies, extremists, fundamentalists, haters etc.) but honestly, I don’t know any of them. When it counts we clam up. Not when it’s just a rude driver or inattentive waiter but when someone has hurt us or is hurting themselves. Why is it so hard to express ourselves to the people we're closest to?

Before you call my husband and tell him he's in trouble (like that's news) stop. This is not about him. We have very clear unspoken rules about topics for discussion. Basically, I discuss he ignores. It’s a guy thing and if you thought your marriage was going to be different then you should probably start a dialogue with your pharmacist or the wine guy at New Seasons.

This is about someone close to me whose behavior threw my entire life out of whack almost two years ago and who, while they may try and acknowledge their debt at times, still says things that indicate they have NO idea of the full impact of their actions. And yet, I say nothing. I have never told them exactly what I think about their behavior and the havoc it wreaked. I imagine there are a myriad of reasons, none of which are psychologically healthy (and are well beyond the cope of this little blog), but the greatest is most likely that it is easier to keep quiet. 

Sort of quiet. Posting something personal on a blog, even in the larger context of social relationships, is a bit passive aggressive. I'm taking my chances because I'm curious how others feel about the topic. How often do you say what you're really thinking?

And if you really hate this subject don't worry, I'll be posting something wildly frivolous next. Like photos of kittens in tutus.....

5 comments:

Niki Hudson said...

I tend to clam up, as well. Perhaps I'm afraid the Polite Police will come and take me away? Could be years of my mother admonsihing: "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." I have always wished I had the nerve to be more blunt and, though I'm better at communication now than I used to be, I still have a long way to go. Let me know if you find any tricks to this puzzle!
And ps: can't wait to see pictures of kittens in tutus! :)

Gemma @ My Big Nutshell said...

Hi, visiting from The Fibro.

I discussed this issue with my counsellor a while ago. I came to realise that sometimes people don't say anything because they aren't sure how the other person will react or if at all there is any benefit in saying anything because usually that person is so focused on themselves they have no ability to see how their behaviour impacts others AND they will never change.


annoying isnt it!

therhythmmethod said...

I hold my tongue with everyone except Mr Karen. Lucky he has a very thick skin, often covering his ears.
I think holding your tongue stems from being raised to be a 'good girl', where being assertive or standing up for yourself or your beliefs comes second to everybody else's needs and beliefs.
What would happen if you said what you really think? What's worse - thinking it, or saying it out loud?

Catherine said...

The whole polite/good girl thing is huge. Sometimes it is worth it but too often it just means we turn those negative feelings inwards- and we suffer. Not good.

Needless to say I have not figured this one out.

Life In A Pink Fibro said...

This is a timely post for me. It's not just about being polite or 'good', sometimes it's just realising that you will never change the other person's mind. Noise is not everything.

Thanks for Rewinding at the Fibro.

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