I don’t want to be the adult in the conversation. I don’t want to have to be the one who steps up and says, “I’m sorry, when you said, “________” I did not react properly. I got mad and I felt like you were doing it just to hurt my feelings.”
And it did hurt my feelings. But it didn’t hurt them for the reasons you might think. It didn’t hurt because of what you really said. It didn’t hurt because of what I think you meant. Looking back on it, I think your intentions were good. You were just using a different mode of communication (teenager texted me asking for permission for something that was only mildly questionable) - but you did it by text, harder to argue or discuss, even though 5 minutes ago, I had been there and we could have discussed it in person.
You did it because you weren’t thinking about it 5 minutes ago. You did it because you aren’t in as much of a hurry to get out of the church lobby as I am - because the noise in the church lobby hurts my ears and head. You might have even done it because you know it would increase the likelihood that I would say, “Whatever……”
And that irritated me. Even though I spend most of my communication time doing it digitally, it irritated me that you were using that rather than face to face. And that wasn’t fair of me, because I do it to other people all of the time.
I do it a lot……
- I do it because my head hurts when I try to listen to one voice in a crowd.
- I do it because my voice wears out after a very short amount of time. And that doesn’t even count the air that is “sneaking” out between my paralyzed vocal cord and my fully functioning one - that makes it even harder since I can’t finish a complete sentence without having to stop once or more to catch a breath.
- I do it because there are times when every word I say vibrates up through my skull and then I don’t want to talk and can hardly think over top of that let alone talk.
- I do it because I can hide my emotions more easily. When there is a screen and a keyboard in between me and the other half of the conversation it is easier to be open, honest and to hide the pain.
- Because I can proofread what I write and can edit mistakes and add in words that should have been in message but weren’t there. I don’t know why my brain just skips sometimes but I’ll be typing along and I know I “thought” that word onto the but it doesn’t happen. (How many times did I do that in those two sentences?)
So what right do I have to get upset when someone else uses electronic communications? Yeah, not so much. And there again is a time where I’ve got to be the adult. I’ve got to be the one who says, “I’m sorry, I really screwed up and I made things more difficult.”
And then if I want to invest in the relationship, I need to explain the why behind it. Why did I do what I did? Let me tell you a few things:
- Let me explain why I reacted the way I did.
- Let me explain why my brain has a hard time dealing with chaos or change or….
- Let me explain how frustrating it is when you can’t follow things and structure things in a nice orderly way like you used to.
- Let me explain how frustrating it is when things around you are more confusing, more frustrating, and more difficult for you to be part of than it used to be.
I don’t like being the adult.
I don’t like being the one who has to say, "Son, I’m sorry…… Here’s some things you probably need to know about what has changed in the way Dad’s head works. Oh and these changes are totally different than what your grandpa died from last year (cancer). As my doctor said, I have less of a chance of a serious problem (I.e. Brain bleed) than I do getting in a car accident driving home from my son’s college (25 minute drive). It changes some things and those changes, when acknowledged and worked through, can actually make things better in the long run.
But being the adult isn’t fun. It’s not always fun when you are healthy and all is well. It’s definitely not fun when it involves looking at your own actions and seeing how they impact others, especially others who matter to you.
I don’t like being the adult. But I have to.
Someone has to.
And I know what’s going on better than anyone else.