Resuming our Step 4 Inventory (see below or click this link for the Not So Scary Inventory Worksheet of Step 4, we are ready for column 4: What Did I Do?
My brother, Randy, who sort of withdrew from the family, was just 2 years younger than I. For quite a while I couldn’t think of how I contributed to the problem.
What did I do? I tried to remember our early school years. One of his many nicknames for me was Tattletale. True. I wrote that down. Mom liked to have me tag along with him because I would tell her in detail everything that happened, never omitting to tell when he flopped his hairy toe over the line. I’ve mentioned earlier that I competed with his friends… so that also made me really popular with him. Wrote that down. But that was nothing compared to what I remembered next.
Besides having to take me along when he went hunting, fishing and clowning around with his friends; he had another legitimate gripe. My boyfriend had a sister that dated Randy for a while and we would double date in their family station wagon. In fact, often we would have both of our younger brothers and their dates in tow. Being my normally controlling self, when we went ‘parking’ I levied hand checks every few minutes! I would turn on the inside dome light and yell “hand check” and everyone had to put their hands in the air. It was a big pain to everyone, but hey… the station wagon crew was my responsibility, or so I felt. I honestly don’t know how any of them put up with me! This is just one small way I contributed to his withdrawal from me. Other examples of my controlling ways came to mind.
Now for the next row: Mom. My mom who had a strong focus on all things male found Randy infinitely more intriguing than me. I have to agree. He’s the funniest off-the-cuff quipper I’ve ever heard and a genius to boot. His epic humorous stories should be published. (But analyzing isn’t part of Step 4. You might need to remind me.) Back to the question.
What did I do? I froze her out.
When I wasn’t doing that I was mouthy, sassy, lippy… disrespectful to her. She loved to teach crafts, cooking, sewing and art. All my friends found her to be delightful but I rejected everything she knew. Resenting anything that she valued, I waited until the last semester to take home-ec which was required for all girls during the 60s. Specifically, when she tried to help me cook, I’d explode. I remember yelling, “I can read, can’t I? I can read the recipe on the box, read a cookbook or look it up when I’m ready. I’ll figure it out when I leave home if I live that long.” (Such a joy to live with.)
~ By the time I went down the rows and filled in the 4th column, I had a fairly accurate picture of my reactive behavior. Not a pretty picture, either. No wonder I’d been having so many relationship issues. If there’s one thing that I had going for me, it was consistency. Have you found yourself to be consistent? Do the work. Find out!