Hi, I would love some unbiased opinions on this conversation. One of my adult children and I have a strained relationship. The other adult child thinks the behavior is abusive and I think my ex had too much of an influence which I hope will fade with time. In this case almost all of the conversation was recorded in messaging, so I can ask for another opinion which I can't with a phone call. This went on over a period of almost 6 hours. Thank you for you time.
Me (around 6 pm): Want to chat?
AC: maybe in a little while? I'm working on stuff rn
Me: How long do you think?
AC: hm, are you busy tonight? I'll probably work all evening but I could take a little break to talk
Me: Just working,not going out
AC: ok is it ok if i message you when i'm feeling like having a break? maybe in an hour or so?
Me: OK, but I might not get it. I won’t be at the computer the whole time
AC: ok well i don't mind talking later
Me: or at least not right away OK
AC: the only think i'm doing tonight is running
AC: (around 7 pm) I could talk now but need to do some dishes and cooking so it would be good if we just do voice chat so I can do that at the same time
Me Give me 30 minutes
Me If you are so busy, we can talk another time. I love you
AC: I'm happy to talk as long as you don't mind doing it while I do dishes
Me I'd rather talk to you when you have more time
AC: I do have time I have to do the dishes anyway, but this way I have company. It's not exactly going to distract me from the conversation
Me (around 9 pm) There were a couple of things I wanted to do that are noisy. I wanted to get them done before it got too late Do you have time to talk now?
AC: yeah, but I can't talk for too long give me a few min to get ready
AC: (9:30 pm) i'm set
(I called on google chat and AC still had to do the dishes and put me on speaker. I said I would prefer to talk another time when we could do it face to face)
Back to messaging:
AC: I felt the way you refused to talk to me while I did the dishes was really rude
if you have a problem with me doing dishes while we talk, you should communicate that before starting the call instead of saying you'd rather talk when I have more time and trying to wait me out
good communication is very important
Me: In general, I don't like talking to disembodies voices. I thought I made it clear by asking to talk when you had more time.
AC: it was not clear because you didn't say what your problem was
I don't understand your problem with talking to "disembodied voices"
Me I didn't explicitly state that I didn't want to talk while you were doing other things, but honestly don't think that anyone would
AC: that's what a phone call is, and we have spoken on the phone many times
Me It is like you can't be bothered to take time for me.
I'm not big on phone calls either.
I tend to avoid them too.
AC: no, it's like I'm busy and I don't have time if we don't schedule it ahead of time
well we have had many long phone conversations
Me I can't remember the last time
AC: I often fit in speaking to people while doing other things (running and cooking, recently)
we used to
when I was in first year we spoke on the phone often
Me I can't hear what you are saying well enough without seeing you too
AC: of course you can the video freezes and lags
and we have spoken on the phone many times
Me I don't want to then
AC: ok, thank you for being clear
unless we prearrange time, I may only have time to talk to you while doing other things that need doing
Me: Who are you to tell me when I can and can't hear. How can you know whether or not I can hear?. I know if I can hear.
AC: I'm not telling you when you can and can't hear I am telling you that it is clear that you are lying
Me I can't understand well without seeing you
AC: that's just not true
Me I am not good at paying attention and without seeing you I can't do it
AC: we have spoken on the phone many times with little to no trouble with you understanding me
Me Not any time in the recent past
AC: have you gotten much worse at paying attention in the past 3-4 years?
or has your hearing gotten much worse?
if so it might be a good idea to see a doctor
Me It is rude of you to accuse me of lying
AC: it's rude of you to lie
Me: It happens in class too
I think it's attention
I wasn't lying
AC: well first you said it was hearing and then you said it was attention
initially you just avoided telling me the problem at all
it doesn't seem to me like you are being honest
you certainly aren't communicating effectively with me
as I said before, if you had a problem with me doing dishes
you could have said that explicitly so we could have discussed it
you could have told me that you don't feel like you're important to me if I'm doing other things when we speak
Me You hurt my feelings when you have no time for me
AC: and we could have scheduled a time to talk when we were both free
thank you for communicating your feelings to me
as I said before, I'm pretty busy and I'm not typically free at any given moment when you might message me. if we scheduled time in advance, I could keep that time free so that we can talk
if you want to communicate even more effectively, instead of telling me that I hurt your feelings when I have no time for you (which is blaming me for hurting your feelings and saying that I have no time for you when this isn't actually true), you could say that it makes you feel____when I say that I'm too busy to talk to you
talking about what happened and your own emotions instead of immediately placing blame on me for hurting you and for not having time for you (which isn't true) can help with having a more productive conversation.
I have things to do tonight, so let me know if you would like to schedule a time to talk at some point
Me: My feelings were hurt when you kept wanting to wash dishes while talking to me despite me repeatedly saying that I would prefer to talk when you weren't so busy.
AC: I think you know that your wording there is equally as unproductive as your original wording. The point is to have a productive conversation about how you and I each feel and what we are each thinking, not to blame me for not assuming a motive which you didn't communicate to me
That way we can take action to resolve the problem
As it is, I am having a problem (and have many times in the past) with the unkind way you are talking to me
I am also having a problem with your poor communication
Me It felt like you were pretending not to realize that I didn't want to talk to you while you were doing the dishes
AC: no, you were communicating poorly. it did seem like you didn't want to talk to me while I was doing the dishes, but you never stated the problem explicitly (this would have been good communication) and you didn't respond when I addressed the concern I perceived in your messages
Me: That is typical of my generation
AC: well, it is poor communication
I'm sorry that you were raised with a poor communication style
that might be something to work on in the future if you want to communicate more effectively
you might also want to work on your tone/way of explaining your thoughts, because it was unnecessarily rude and unkind
also, while it is not true that I don't have time for you, it is true that I am not actively making time to talk to you - this is because of chronic problems I have with the way you treat me
when you are consistently unkind to me, it doesn't make me excited to talk to you
Me: I feel disrespected when you tell me how I should talk
AC: it's incredibly problematic for you to try to blame me for enforcing boundaries in terms of the kindness I expect from the people I associate with
I'm not telling you how to talk
I'm telling you that if you don't change the way you speak to me, I will choose to speak to you less often
Me I feel like you are unreasonably pronouncing yourself a communication expert
AC: I have never described myself as a communication expert
I am giving you advice on how to communicate more effectively because you are communication very poorly
regardless, the way you responded to my messages is part of a much more significant problem - you are unkind to me on an extremely regular basis
I would not stay in contact with anyone else who treats me the way you do
because of our relationship I still stay in contact with you
but when you treat me like this for not making time for you...
why would that encourage me to make more of an effort?
Me I only stated that I don't want to talk with you when you are doing the dishes. How is that being unkind?
AC: your tone throughout this conversation has been unkind
the way you talk to me on a regular basis is unkind
Me I did it in a round about way because I considered it the kindest way to do it
AC: I have pointed out instances of this many times
I'm talking about your tone in the rest of the conversation
Me I considered it kinder to say that I will talk to you when you have more time than it is to say I don't want to talk to you when you are doing dishes
I and many people I know think it's kinder to be clear when communicating
but I am not referring to that portion of the conversation anyway
I don't really expect you to change the way you treat me since I have mentioned this many times and you only make an effort to be kinder when you worry that I will cut contact with you again
for the foreseeable future I will probably not have time to speak to you, because I am busy with work, class, activities and people who treat me with kindness and respect
this conversation has reminded me of how unpleasant I can find our interactions and has put me off of having more any time soon