Every time I talk to my boyfriend about a dilemma, he comes up with a reason why it’s my fault, which ends up making me feel worse. For instance, I started a new job waiting tables. On my first night, I was having problems carrying the large trays full of heavy plates. That night, I got home and told him that the trays were really heavy and that I was afraid I would drop one on a customer. But he insisted that the trays weren’t heavy, and he literally said to me: “Why are you acting like a rookie? You’re just making up excuses because you’re nervous.” I’ve served food for almost 10 years, and I wasn’t nervous. When he says things like this, I get really upset. That makes him angry, because he doesn’t understand why I’m so upset because of trays. But it’s the way he treats me that’s making me upset — not the trays. Why is it so hard for him to understand this?
–Waiting For Him To Get It
Let me translate. He thinks he’s helping. You get mad. He tries harder. You get angrier. He tries again. You lose it. And that’s where you get stuck. How would you like him to reply? One possible way could be, “Dropping a tray on a diner’s head could hurt your tips. Try asking other female servers the best way to handle the trays. If they’re still heavy, we’ll do some weight training.” The difference? Instead of invalidating your feelings, he needs to validate your feelings. Now that you understand, help him to understand. If he can’t validate your need to be validated, invite him to visit you at work and “accidentally” drop a tray or food on his head (just a joke). Or better yet, you might want to find another boyfriend who can validate you.
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