Last year I printed up what I call M’s 13 Commandments –
I kept the list taped to the inside of my planner, looking at it most days, trying to internalize the contents. M was so adamant that if I could only master these things our relationship would be Perfect. If only I would bend and not be so stubborn, he could love me. If only I would do these trifling things, I would be worthy to share his life. If only I would grow up and see that Real People live by these rules and are so much better than I could ever be – these are things to aspire to! Tenets that he lives his life by that I should adopt in the hope of improving my life and our relationship.
Let’s take a closer look, shall we? I abbreviated on the typed list, so I’ll expound here –
1. Symbiosis/Partnership – this means that we should operate as one unit – two bodies, one soul, always in sync, always in tune and working together. The problem is, HE is in control and what he really wants is for me to follow along in his wake, keeping things tidy and picking up the slack of HIS projects and adventures. All this with no instruction, warning, assistance, praise, thanks or gratitude. I am supposed to fit myself seamlessly into his life with no thought about who or what I was before him. My inability to do this is one of the biggest problems in our relationship.
2. Being able to receive and give gifts graciously – I’ve written about this before. I never get it right.
3. Give budget to receive itinerary – M refuses to tell me when and where he is going unless I give him a detailed budget. It’s a totally bullshit exercise he uses to control me that was posted here and here.
4. Communication/Connectivity/Compromise – This is the category that means I should tell him everything that goes on in my head so he can better control me. I should be totally connected to his needs, moods and desires and compromise my own principles to keep him happy, no matter the cost.
5. Share something (sailing) and work towards that goal – this is where I take on his favorite hobby/lifestyle and adopt it as my own philosophy. He does not have to reciprocate in any way – it is a one way street.
6. Show interest and mean it. Retain info. Do private research – I should devote myself to his hobbies, remember everything he tells me (even if he contradicts himself constantly) about those hobbies and do independent research to fill in the gaps that he just doesn’t have the time or patience to share with me. He claims that he can’t even remember what it’s like to be a total beginner at anything and he just can’t lower himself to my level to explain something that he learned at his Grandfather’s knee. Nor should he have to – it is my responsibility to research and learn everything I can on my own so his precious time is never wasted.
7. Plans for the future & relationship – this is where I constantly update my 20-year plan and have a separate plan for each and every eventuality that may occur from freak storms to hangnails. I should have a set amount of money in the bank and three back-up options for anything that could possibly go wrong. I have been instructed to include him in my plans as if he is unable to do anything for himself and as if I could lose everything at any minute. It’s a ploy to keep me in a state of low level panic every minute of every day so that he can better control me.
8. Get first job done – too many commitments – If I have a project that I want to do for myself, it must be done as quickly as possible with minimum disturbance for him. I should be ready at an moment to begin, resume or finish a project that is for him, regardless of what else I might be doing at the time. I should be “on call” for him 24/7 because his needs are more important than my own.
9. Pride in home ownership – the grass must be cut as soon as it’s 1/2″ taller than he likes, the yard constantly maintained, nothing out of place that could cause the neighbors to gossip in a negative way. The outward facade must be perfect at all costs. Letting any outside job get “out of hand” is a sure sign that there is something fundamentally wrong with my wiring – that I don’t jump at the first sign of a drooping limb on a bush outside is a symptom of my “renter’s mentality” and we all know that Renters are the lowest form of life on the planet.
10. Listen to and remember the important stuff – this is basically anything that comes out of his mouth. Unless it contradicts what he’s saying right now. Or if it proves a point that I’m trying to make. Or it exposes his lies. Or he later says he never said it. This one is a moving target.
11. Notice personal changes/Pride in appearance – I should Dress to Impress. Him, not anyone else. If I leave the house in clothes that he considers “nice” I must be going to meet another man. If I wear grubby clothes to work in the yard, well, I’m just being a slob and he complains that I’m not wearing nice clothes for him. My dress is always inappropriate to the task at hand. The fact that I refuse to wear makeup or spend an hour styling my hair is an insult aimed at him because, after all, he is the one who has to look at me all day! I should notice if he shaves the second he steps out of the bathroom. I should notice that he cut his hair and it’s now 1/16″ shorter than it was yesterday, even if he’s wearing a hat. He wants daily praise about his appearance – he acts like a 16-year-old girl about it some days.
12. Have an opinion/Share feelings – he wants me to express what I feel, to tell him my opinions, but he then pokes holes in any independent thought that I share and uses my feelings against me. This rule is only about giving him more ammunition to hurt me – it has nothing to do with helping me become a more mature person, as he claims.
13. Money talk does not have to be emotional – for him. He will berate, criticize, lecture, and demean me in any way he sees fit over money matters while protesting that a Responsible Adult can talk about money without emotion and I need to grow up and learn to be Responsible.
I tossed the list into the garbage after finishing this post. There will be no more rules for me except those that I write!