March 2022 Relationship Challenge "No Heck Month"
This month was a huge challenge for me, I knew it and I was really looking forward to it. January and February was a warm up, I was getting ready for this - the "No Heck Month". Meaning, give a man a break, Rovena. He's trying pretty hard.
We used to practice no heck days. It would usually go like this: I'd start compiling about some silly nonsense things, as in why did he get the wrong types of apples when he went shopping, why did he dropped them on the floor when he brought them home, why did he spend too much money ….. Or when I'd get on a high horse and say something like “No one cleans the fridge in this house except me, and if it was’t for me, the’d live like pigs" … You get the picture.
Rick, being a patient man, and also knowing very well how to disarm me - would look at me with kind eyes (that’s the key, kind eyes) and ask for a No-Heck-Day. Meaning, can I please give a man a break, and stop giving him heck. He’s doing the best he can. He just went shopping, he tried hard to remember what kind of apples I like, he got me all kinds of other things, and he’ll clean the fridge if I want him to, but can I please, please leave him be. In peace.
And usually I can. I get the hint. I feel guilty for being petty and unreasonable. I know how hard he works for this family.
I just …. can’t help myself sometimes. I speak before I think. I get frustrated, even with little things. I also really think that my way is better. My way of cleaning the fridge is better. My way of drying the dishes. My way of saving money when shopping is better (except that I hate shopping and never go). The type of apples that I like is better....
Dear God, it’s worse than you think.
I started noticing it in February. Knowing that this challenge is coming up, I caught myself a few times, stoping mid sentence and reminding to myself - we are good, I don’t have to say it out loud (like when dishes are not done, or when there’s mess (there’s always mess, we live here :))
What's heck? It’s when I say - “Why did you do this?" Or "What’s this?" - when there’s a mess. We know what this is.
From John Gray: "When she says "why did you do that?", he hears - there are no good reason for doing it this way. You are stupid. You do not care. I give so much and you give nothing back." When she complains, men take it personally and think she complains about them, about their character.
It’s actually really embarrassing to even admit that I do that. A lot.
So that's what I wanted to do this month: no complaining, no "why did you do this", no criticism. If I have a request, I can ask for what I need without criticizing him or making it sound like my way is better.
From my journal: "March 2. I’m recognizing that I don’t know how to mark the days on the calendar. I've already succeeded 5 times and failed 5 times. I caught myself this morning wanting to give him heck ( "why did you leave this here?"). I didn’t say anything and was very proud of myself, only to give him heck a few minutes later because he took too much stuff out of the freezer, even though he’s the one planing meals and cooking!!!! Oh dear. I can see it’s not going to be easy. But I’m up for a challenge."
And that's pretty much how the whole month went. I'd succeed and I'd fail. One step forward, two steps back. I decided to put a check mark on the calendar when I noticeably try and succeed more than I fail, and put a minus when I noticeably failed. I'd get inspired and try really hard (and still fail) and I'd be ready to give up for a few days, but I still kept trying.
Sometimes it comes out of my mouth before I even catch myself, sometimes I can watch myself falling into the rabbit hole of “heck”, and yet, I can’t stop myself.
What’s clear - is that I’m going to get triggered. What’s unclear - how do I stop myself from reacting (why did you leave 3 lights on when you left the house? Why didn’t you eat the leftovers? I’m controlling and overreactive. He's patient and forgiving and a whole lot more easy going. (I know, I'm lucky)
I'm so much more triggered when I'm hungry or hangry (hungry and angry); when I'm tired; when we talk about money (I'm cheap) or kids (mama bear). A lot of it is simply a habit.
I wrote about criticalness clearing and used it a lot this month. I tried to remember to take a deep breath before I speak (I really wasn't successful at that). I grew to appreciate just how patient this man is.
I noticed how it feels to be on the receiving end of "Why do you always do this?" - he probably said it twice this month. I said or thought it twice a day.
I've learned a lot. Have a succeeded at the end? At first I was not sure because I was failing so much, but then I recognize that it IS a success. I'm excited and inspired to continue. I want to do better. Next month I want to try something different. I want to notice if I'm being unreasonable or critical and own up to it right away. April is self responsibility month. Responsibility for my actions, and responsibility for my words. Wish me luck!
P.S. To read about how the challenge started: click here.