Story Time

I wrote a little article (posted on stickyminds) about how our interpretation of an interaction can get us in a tangle.

Sometimes we hear someone say something, and conclude that we’re being treated unfairly or we’re under attack.

A friend of mine wrote to share his story of being “under attack:”

My wife would come home and ask “Where are the kids?”

If I didn’t know then I was a “bad father.”

…in my mind the question became a statement “You are stupid, incompetent, …” and my reply became “Why are you berating me?”

You can imagine where the conversation went from there:

“I’m not berating you.”

“Yes, you are. You always imply I’m incompetent as a parent!”

Downward spiral ensues.

In the article, I describe two types of stories. In “I’m an innocent victim” stories, we tell ourselves our own motives are pure, and that we are 0% responsible in the situation.

“He’s a bad guy” stories ascribe evil motives to the other person and make the other person 100% responsible.

Either way, we’re off the hook, but the relationship is damaged.

My friend went on to say:

Finally I realized she was simply inquiring about the x,y coordinates of the children – not attacking me.

Sometimes we are under attack or being treated unfairly. But it’s worth checking out our own stories, and then checking out the other person’s intentions before going into the downward spiral.