It’s Not About You

Have you seen that movie?  The one with Channing Tatum and the girl that looks like Jennifer Garner but isn’t?  They’re in a car wreck and she loses her memory, and the movie tells the story of him trying to win her, and her trying to find herself again.  Did you see it?  You should.

Because you need to pay attention to the guy.  Watch how hard he tries to rediscover this love he had with his wife, and how he handles it.  Do you see him pushing, always pushing her past where she’s comfortable, taking more than what she offered?

He asks her to go to her studio, and she tries.  She tries to understand what she used to do there, but he keeps pushing her.  She agrees to go on a first date with him, and they have a great time, but at the end he says “I love you” and so obviously wants her to say it back.  And she can’t.  She was ready to give a first date, a first kiss, maybe even a second date…but when he pushed for more, he lost her.

So why am I delving into this, especially when Siskel and Ebert would probably do a better job?

Because I see this all of the time.  Smiddy is a pusher.  He takes what is given and then some.  It makes him successful in his job because he doesn’t stop where others might.  And he doesn’t bulldoze…he just nudges you down the path.  Mayhem is a pusher.  I just watched her push Frenzy into a decision that favored Mayhem.

I’m not a pusher.  I would have done exactly what the un-Jennifer-Garner did in the movie.  I would have run away.  I would have put as much distance as I could between me and the pusher.

Did you notice how it wasn’t until he finally gave up, quit pushing, that she came back to him?  Do you think he learned anything from it?

And how does a non-pusher learn to set boundaries, to push back enough?  Smiddy and I have been together for close to 20 years (married for 16 of them), and we’re still working on this.  I’ve learned to verbalize, “You’re pressuring me.”  I’ve also learned to stretch a little farther than I might have normally.  Smiddy has learned that sometimes, the way to get me to do what he wants me to do is to quit asking.  

We went to a water park last week.  One with water slides.  I hate water slides, roller coasters, all of that.  Put me on a tilt-o-whirl and I’ll outlast you, but don’t ask me to do vertical drops or go upside down.  I rode Splash Mountain with Chaos under duress, and hated every minute of it.  So, when we hit the water park, I decided that there was NO WAY I was riding any of the slides.  I had a whole argument about not doing something I hated, something that makes me feel sick and queasy and teary.  I was ready to stand my ground and push right back.

And then, no one made any mention of it.  I played in the shallow pool with Frenzy.  We discovered the medium slides and she had a blast.  I could see Smiddy and Chaos and Mayhem riding the huge slides and having a ball, so I got to share in their experience.  And I had a really good time.  Because no one asked me, no one pushed me into something I had decided I wouldn’t give.

Interesting, isn’t it?

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