Saying What’s Real…

…7 Keys to Authentic Communication and Relationship Success, by Susan Campbell.

I just started reading this, not even out of the introductory matter.

So far I’ve learned the phrase, “When you say that, I feel…” and I’m going to apply that to a vague memory of my daddy’s irritability towards me when I was a kid and trying to help him with something.

The Incident

All I remember is that it involved me holding a flashlight and that I wasn’t holding it to his satisfaction.  That doesn’t really matter though, because this scenario happened over and over between either me and him, my mom and him, or a sibling and him.

So, I’m a kid and stuck holding a flashlight for my dad.  My dad typically doesn’t explain what he wants, such as “Ok – shine the light here so that I can see in this area.”  Not only that, but when you don’t do it right he won’t correct in a friendly way.  You are just supposed to KNOW what he wants.

I don’t remember the words in any detail, just the basic message and my feelings.  Dad says something like, “No, don’t shine over there.  That is blinding me.  Can’t you see that I need the light over here?”  His tone is dripping with irritation and I’m hearing, “God, you’re such a stupid kid.  Can’t get anything right.”  I can’t be sure, but I think he may have even said those words to me at some point in time. If not me, probably at least to someone else in the family within my hearing distance.

The Impact

Ask anyone who knows me well, a HUGE button for me is when I feel like someone is implying I’m stupid or didn’t do something right or do something fast enough or good enough.

I still don’t have a clear picture of how Susan would recommend handling this situation, because I’ve just started the book.  But I feel that I need to start getting closure on this and so I’m going to say to my dad, “When you say that I feel stupid.”

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