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How Do You Deal with a Pusher?

Monday, January 04, 2021

No, not that kind of pusher. A general pusher.

Let me explain. Family dynamics 101: Many either want to be like their folks or the complete opposite. Many discover they become their folks whether they intended to or not. Similarly, many discover they have married someone with similarities to their equivalent parent. Ones own sympathies rest with the person one most relates themself to, either in character or desires.

In my family of origin my Mom felt somewhat trapped. They were from that time when wives were expected to support their husbands unconditionally. Dad controlled the budget and determined the course of their lives. She never had time or space to herself to do things she wanted or liked to do. She became apathetic/resigned and developed a somewhat passive aggressive response to suggestions she didn't care for. In response, Dad became a 'pusher' as he felt that was the only way to get things going. The more he pushed, the more obstinate she became. It was very dysfunctional, not to mention unpleasant and negative. In DH's family, similar dynamics were in play. He sympathized with his Dad who was helpless in the face of his Mom's passive aggressive negativity. He felt his Dad was justified in his decisions whether his Mom liked or agreed with them or not. He had no sympathy at all for her.

My DH is a Do-er. He has to go, go, GO. He flies by the seat of his pants but is lucky and lands on his feet most of the time. I am more methodic; I am not so lucky when I leap without looking and have learned through misadventure to invest in preparedness (which materially contributes to his luck in landing on his feet; but of course he can't see that). He gets impatient with my caution. Lately he has begun 'pushing'. A lot!

Partners. What does that mean? To me it means supporting, nurturing and encouraging each other, so that is what I do. I am not sure how it translates with DH, he seems to be more selective and conditional. He wants to know my plans for the next day (Do-er mentality) but then doesn't remember what I tell him and behaves as if I have no plans and he can co-opt me and my time and energy. Our current sleep patterns are out of sync which hasn't helped. He's up at the crack of still pitch black and has had plenty of time to ease into his morning by the time I get up with the sun. He doesn't give me time for coffee or to ease into my day, there's already a 'push' for his agenda. I frequently have to justify my activities which irritates me because I don't think I should have to do this. He doesn't.

We do talk about these things. We do try to discuss and agree on priorities. Unfortunately, often right after a priority discussion, at his designation, we embark on an item that's way down the list. This leads to me feeling disenfranchised and disrespected even though it isn't really deliberate or personal on his part. He is often surprised by my irritation, saying "We talked about this..." Uh, yeah we did, and we didn't put this at the top of the list. WTH?

The joys of Retirement, right? Or in my case, unemployment. I guess we'll figure these things out. Writing beats emotional eating.

I hope you get some (joyful) movement in today! Even angry or frustrated movement is OK.
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Peace and Care

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    One nice way to deal with a pusher is to gently say "No. I'm not going to do that until _____. I've had my coffee, I've taken a bath. I finish my chapter. " You wouldn't call it pushing if it was really important - you'd think of it as a call for real help. If you get push-back you can just say "No. That is your agenda. Mine is to ____ first. (coffee, bath, chapter?) You are so clearly defining you and your agenda. Keep it simple. Include no criticism of him or his agenda. But be firm about sticking to your agenda. If he really truly wants to know what's going on - that's your choice to discuss - but drawing your safety ring around yourself is, in the end, a loving thing to do - to him.

    P.S. Thank you for the bloglove about my very busy clean-the-attic day. Been swamped ever since and am just getting back here.
    40 days ago
    43 days ago
    I like what Ramona and others had to say and I think part of the gently pushing back/resistance is just figuring out and setting out your boundaries. Being at home so much together really has forced so many of us to figure out how we want to dance so to speak. Hope you find what works for you. Have a good weekend!
    48 days ago
    My husband and I have this dynamic both ways. We take turns on who's agenda gets attention. If it's something for the good of the household/kids, top priority, we both stop and work on it. Then we both leave each other very much to our own devices (in a good way). My husband also sounds much like yours where he wants a TON of communication, but not a lot of input. I've told him that I can't have conversations with him until they are dialogues because otherwise I feel frustrated and ignored. My husband is an external processer, which means he needs to talk everything through, including having me sit with him while he uploads forms sometimes. I am an internal processor so I just say what I've already accomplished once it's over, or only speak up when I'm stuck. It's been hard in covid, because he doesn't have his co-workers or friends to process with, so it's fallen to me to pick up the slack. Maybe having some conversations about your methods being respected as well would be good.
    50 days ago
    Marriage is an ever-evolving thing.
    We were just kids when we got married in 1968 and had a traditional marriage for many years, through good times and bad.
    As I matured I bristled at the male dominance inherent in that, so that had to change...which it did, but slowly and at times painfully.
    But, it really wasn't until his major health crisis of six months or so in 2014 that I became a full adult as I had to do it all.
    After he recovered, I maintained my adult status. emoticon
    Since then we have gotten along even better, with a few tweaks, or constant tweaking, really, but in a good way.
    Our relationship is the best it has ever been...with nobody trying to be in control, a true partnership, I feel.
    51 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/5/2021 1:01:25 PM
    emoticon Now that I am a widow, none of this applies any more, but I remember those days. emoticon
    51 days ago
    "Writing beats emotional eating.... so does angry or frustrated movement." AMEN!

    The first premise of dancing well with a partner is a good 'frame' (remember Dirty Dancing: "spaghetti arms!")... pushing/pulling against resistance... in my mind, not unlike marriage; and marriage can be a somewhat awkward dance at the best of times, let alone in the midst of forced and increased proximity, before you've learned to maintain a good 'frame'.

    The only way I know of to deal with a 'pusher' is to push back... not aggressively, not maliciously, not to assert my will 'over', but to create resistance... to create a good frame, so we can learn to dance well together.

    A thorn in my side throughout a good part of our marriage has been that unless I can clearly justify the importance of anything I deem important to My Beloved, he judges whatever it is to be unimportant, and therefore not worthy of his attention, time and effort. This did not change until I started to provide resistance/frame: asking him why nothing in our life was important until he judged it to be so? Until I stopped allowing myself to be pulled or pushed away from whatever I judged to be important. Until I became proactive about my own agenda. I didn't do any of it without regard for his agenda, I simply refused to allow him to disregard mine. People now tell us we dance together beautifully!
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    52 days ago
    A paper schedule? Fill your schedule with your priorities and he can fill in with his. Make these times non-negotiable. Negotiate about activities where there are no conflicts with time. Joint counseling is also an option. Good luck.
    52 days ago
    OH my. Difficult to say the least.

    DH retired in July 2019 and it's been a continuous evolution in dynamics! We are both organized and so on, but in different ways. Had to set boundaries and with the boundaries, things got a little better.

    Good luck .
    52 days ago
    Gosh, that sounds tough! Could a possible solution be to do some things separately? My husband and I are very independent, and it would drive me crazy if he was demanding that I rearrange my schedule for him, especially before I've had coffee and time to start my day!

    Could you tell your DH your schedule, and ask him to keep himself occupied with tasks that he can do on his own until X time in the morning? For example, you could tell him that you'll be waking up at 7am, and spending 2 hours to shower, have coffee/breakfast, exercise, etc, and thus you won't be able to work on joint projects with him until 9am (or whenever). If you lay out your schedule clearly, could he could mentally prepare himself to spend a few hours on tasks that he can do on his own in the morning?
    52 days ago
    We had a big blow out over the taking down of the Christmas tree and decor. Our ideas on when it needed to be done definitely clashed Can't remember when I've been that mad. He went for a drive to cool down. Unfortunately, our pattern is to get over it, move on, and never talk about it. I would prefer to talk things out to try to avoid repeating it in the future. Sigh. Gotta love 'em cause you can't change 'em, and replacements are out of the question.
    52 days ago
    52 days ago
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