I’m taking notes in a separate document while reading so I don’t lose any of my thoughts. Here goes:
I, too, depending on what I’m talking about, don’t like to talk to a person while they’re doing something else. They may claim they’re not distracted, but I don’t feel like I’m getting their full attention. Also, I HATE having to talk “over” noise. I have vocal issues, but even if I didn’t, I wouldn’t want to. Personally I think you were very diplomatic about asking for time that wasn’t during dish-doing. But there’s a chance AC didn’t “get” the reasons behind your not wanting to do it during dish-doing. Sometimes people look at it from the other side and think they need to “reassure” you that YOU won’t be distracting or interfering with THEM – when really, it’s something else entirely. So maybe AC is someone you might have to be more straightforward to about the “whys” of things like that.
Okay, so I just got to the part where AC says they think it was rude you refused to talk to them while they did dishes. I don’t think it was rude at all. I think you were diplomatic. But yeah, I can see that AC didn’t “get” the message and now gets angry that you didn’t say it straight out.
I think it’s easy to look at that and go, “Yeah, that’s a really good point. They just didn’t understand.” But what really troubles me – and I get a bit triggered by AC’s reaction there (no worries) because I’ve encountered it before – is the anger and the lashing-out. If it was a simple misunderstanding, okay. But here AC is turning it around back onto you and insulting your communication skills. Yes, you hinted rather than saying it straight-out – but AC could be more understanding, and there’s no call to attack you, call you rude, and then accuse you of “trying to wait them out” (what does that even mean?).
So at its face it “looks” like just a communication issue, but imo there’s more going on.
On the other hand, if AC is someone who needs things to be said straight-out or else they don’t pick up on hints and cues, I could see where they would get frustrating and think that you are just “playing games” with them. (Even though you’re not.) I can see that it would probably do you service to be more assertive and open in stating your needs. BUT the attacks on you were not appropriate. No call to call you “rude!” It wasn’t rude! You did not offend AC. AC just didn’t pick up on your hints, then turned it back around onto you and being your fault. Which yeah, is kind of an abusive behavior. Blame-shifting.
Okay, back to reading…
(For what it’s worth, I’m reading how you don’t like talking on the phone or disembodied voices, and I’m totally like that, too. I “get it.” And frankly the thought of video chat doesn’t make it better – and I’m no technophobe at all, it’s just that I would really hate it and be uncomfortable with it.)
Telling you that unless you prearrange time, AC may only have time to talk to you while doing other things? Again, on the surface that does seem reasonable. But you did ask to prearrange the time, unless I’m misunderstanding. You asked for a time you could talk interrupted. I heard that in what you said. It almost seems, now, like AC CHOSE to not “hear” that. Now is turning it back around onto you for not prearranging…when to me, it seems like that’s exactly what you tried to do. So another turnaround, confusing kind of thing where it seems reasonable on the surface – and it actually IS reasonable on the surface (except for the part of “I may not have time to talk to you unless I’m doing other things” because fer cryinoutloud you’re AC’s mother, sheesh, so that to me is kind of dismissive and disrespectful). But the fact is that you DID try to schedule the time. So twisting it around like that and making it “your fault” is an abusive-type manipulative behavior.
Telling you that you’re lying? And about something as personal as your ability to hear and perceive conversations? To me that seems abusive. And I know how to someone else it might seem “weird” to have issues like that, but it’s a real thing and no one has the right to tell you that.
And…. it’s definitely not okay for AC to say “it’s rude of you to lie” in response to your saying it was rude for AC to accuse you of lying. YOU SHOULD NOT HAVE TO “DEFEND” YOURSELF like that. That’s messed up. Your kid should not say these things to you. I’m sorry L
And then all the accusations about not being honest and criticizing your communication. BUT … then this:
AC: “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”
That sounds - on the surface - totally reasonable. BUT I’d venture a guess that if you DID say that last line, that AC would turn that around and criticize or go off on the “don’t feel like I’m important to you” thing. So if you DID change how you interacted, I’d leave it at “I don’t like to talk to you while you’re doing dishes” and leave out any of the “feels” because there’s too much opportunity to twist and be criticized for it. It’s okay to just state needs without defending the “whys” behind it.
(Also, you were - imo - pretty clear when you said:
"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"
...This to me is pretty clear that you DID mind talking while they did dishes.
Okay, now I’m at this long lecture from AC about how you “should” communicate. This part:
AC: “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.”
· Again, I thought you DID try to schedule in advance…
· I think saying “You hurt my feelings when you have no time for me” – is pretty much the same as saying “It makes you feel ____ when AC says they’re too busy to talk to you.” I feel like it’s splitting hairs. There’s not much difference except for the structure of the sentence. The message is almost identical. The only thing that AC can argue it’s “blaming” is because the sentence began with “You” instead of something else. But it’s not an important enough difference – in my opinion – to lecture or criticize, and definitely not from your own child.
This kind of lecturing and criticism, like I said, is kind of triggering for me. It feels condescending and the trigger in mine is coming from a psychopathic boss I had who really did a lot of damage to me. A LOT of damage.
Bottom line, your child should not speak to you like this. It sounds reasonable, but it’s really not, in my opinion. And I bet if you tried to draw your boundaries and remove yourself from a conversation like that, AC would accuse you of being melodramatic or some other negative. So you can’t win.
Okay, more coffee and reading on…
Oh. UGH. There was imo NOTHING wrong with this:
“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.”
But this response by AC?
“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”
This is not okay. And the “that way we can take action to resolve the problem” is really squicky and blaming and condescending is VERY critical and condescending and lecturing. The first sentence is really insulting and a put-down. There was NOTHING wrong with your wording – and in any event, IT DOESN’T MATTER. You’re being clear, you’re opening up to them, and all they’re doing is splitting hairs and criticizing and lecturing you and putting you down in a very squicky way that’s reallllllyy – imo – inappropriate and awful. is
AND YOU’RE NOT “UNKIND” in the way you are talking to them! You’re just stating your feelings! Sheesh.
Wow. Imo, all this is incredibly disrespectful and …wow. The “I am having a problem with your _____” and such, is SO reminiscent of the psychopathic manager I had that I’m wondering if they’re the same person. I’m sorry. L This is not okay, in my opinion.
I’m lacking words in this moment to explain … because the words “condescending” and “disrespectful” aren’t cutting it, for this behavior. I don’t have good words for it. This is a giant mind-fvck, imo. I’ve been victimized by this type of behavior and it’s among the most awful.
And this is your CHILD, who should not be talking to you like this anyway. And you do not have to put up with it. I’m sorry. L
Hah – okay I see you picked up on that it seemed like AC was choosing not to realize what you wanted. But then AC turns it back around to insult you AGAIN. And UGH – “this would have been good communication” – is incredibly condescending and patronizing toward you. Disrespectful.
I’m sorry – the stuff that follows is more of the same. I can barely read it – it’s really awful, in my opinion. I’m so sorry your child treats you like that. Omg, yeah, triggering… work on tone, consistently unkind…. no no no, none of that is okay or even in the realm of okayness (in my opinion).
You said “ I feel disrespected when you tell me how I should talk” ß I think that’s perfectly worded. And disrespected is putting it mildly.
Oy, and then the blame-shifting/twisting AGAIN from AC:
“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”
This whole time, you’ve barely said ANYTHING and AC has lectured, criticized, been disrespectful, “corrected” you - now is insulting and some sort of gibberish about boundaries that THEY are enforcing when THEY are the ones who are being offensive and inappropriate??? Oy, no L
At this of yours, I chuckled: “Me I feel like you are unreasonably pronouncing yourself a communication expert” <- SO TRUE. What you are feeling is accurate. Your perspective is valid. And their behavior was totally out of line, completely disrespectful and NOT focused on good communication.
You know what “good communication” would look like? If AC practiced it, and they honestly HADN’T realized what you’d meant about the dishes? Then AC would have said something like this:
“Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize that made you feel that way. It wasn’t my intention – I just need to get stuff done. If you want, we can schedule a time where I can give you my undivided attention.” (Something like that.)
“Good communication” is NOT a big lecture about how sucky they think you are about communicating – and blame-shifting, and claiming it’s about “boundaries” – and insulting you – and being totally disrespectful.
Okay yeah, the rest through the end is just more of the same.
I do agree, I think it’s abusive of AC. And this kind of thing can unfortunately be very damaging for you.
I’d encourage you to think about boundaries for yourself and what you’re willing to tolerate from AC. Rather than subject yourself to the criticism, can you end the conversation? It doesn’t really matter what AC is accusing you of – they’re just blame-shifting. So trying to defend or convince them otherwise isn’t going to work. So the only thing you can really do is protect yourself.
The attitude toward you that AC displays, to me, is gut-wrenching. Perhaps I relate too much because I experienced this, but you don’t need to take being put-down and disrespected like that. Unfortunately you’re never going to be able to change AC’s mind or convince them that they are being inappropriate. This is simply not how “good communication” works. They’re wrong about that. You don’t lecture someone and put them down and insult them and be so frickin imperious that they are the authority and you are the “problem”…. and all this over a very, very simple request. A request which was very reasonable and understandable from you.
I’m sorry L. This is really sucky feeling, especially from your own kid. L