411 Focus

You may want to talk about his/her mama! Wag your head! Call him/her everything but a 'chilagod'!"

Contributed By:Dorothy Nevils maslivend@sbcglobal.net

Another road

Remember “The Road Not Taken,” by Carl Sandburg. Sure, you do. It was a classic, one of my favorites. In fact, always stubborn, I toyed with a different, a sort of irregular interpretation of the last line: I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference… What if Sandburg emphasized by rather than traveled?

I shan’t argue that here, but I shall present an argument – about arguing!

A great pitcher is able to foil the best baseball batters by throwing a pitch they don’t expect. The batter stands ready for the fast ball – and the pitcher throws a changeup.

That’s what people have to do when arguing with people they love. They have to say the unexpected. However, most people don’t. Instead they say what the other person is used to hearing, what most people would say, but the person himself or herself would say, and therein lies the problem. Let’s see how that works.

The people who love each other are having a disagreement. One says something very harsh to the other. Normally the other one goes a bit harsher. This is what is expected, but we want the unexpected.

Forget that old saying about fighting with fire. We’re not talking about forest fires with raging winds and dead trees, where you’re trying to protect miles of land within reach. No. This is in-house – your house – and if there’s a fire in the kitchen, or a fire in the bathroom, or the bedroom… you don’t set a fire in the adjoining room! You go intimate.

So, what do I mean by going intimate? I mean you connect with that person with whom you share a life, that person whom you love, that person who loves you, that cherished person who, at the time, is angry. You tiptoe… Yes, I said, “Tiptoe” Walk quietly with your voice. Sneak into that space on which the other has, for the moment, slammed the door!

It goes something like this: You look at your mate, face empty of anger, eyes locked into the other’s, no wrinkles on your face… and you hold that momentarily. Now I know that goes all the way left of what that darn pent-up, roaring, raging creature inside you wants. It’s saying, “Cuss, girl (or man)! Tell the (bad word) off! Talk about his/her mama! Wag your head! Call him/her everything but a ‘chilagod’!”

Nah... Disappoint that demon with the scrunched-up face, balled up fists, and venom-filled soul. To borrow slang from the past, leave him hanging! Don’t go there. Looking into the other’s eyes, much like a pitcher as he prepares to deliver the pitch not expected, your mouth a blank slate, tell him/her quietly, very quietly, “You hurt me deeply. You wrenched my heart when you said …” (Here repeat the words that rent your soul…but quietly, very quietly). Then, as graphically as you can, tell your partner how you feel.

Now, unless you’re paired with an idiot, a thing that has not gone through the “stages of evolution” we remember from the charts posted on junior high walls, there will be a period, a space, where the blustering lunatic will be disarmed.

Now will that always work? No. Your partner will likely remember… and say something like, “…and don’t start your ‘This hurt me routine.’”

That, in and of itself, means you were heard… and isn’t that what you want?

Story Posted:11/10/2017

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