Friday, October 24, 2003

Trash Can Drama 

One of few things about this relationship that I am proud of is that Steve and I do not fight over stupid shit. Or at least, it's very rare that we do. Today was the second such argument I can recall in the eleven months we've known each other.

Our main trash can was overfull. Not so overfull that things were spilling out of it, but full enough that adding anything else would be a bad idea. It had been full like this for a couple of days, and Steve told me he'd take it out when he did the laundry last night. He forgot.

I'm not the sort of woman to get pissed about things like that. In fact, I'm pretty damn laid back about it. So this afternoon, when we were getting ready to go out I said, "Hey, let's take the trash out on our way down."

He agreed we should, so I went over to the trash can and started removing the bag.

"Don't take the bag out!" Steve shouted at me, in a rather commanding tone.

I was thinking, "Who the fuck died and made *you* God?" but I said, "Huh? Why not? I'm taking the bag out."

...and Steve starts semi-forcibly pulling items out of the bag and putting them into another one. I was annoyed -- after all, I've been taking trash out since before he was born (literally!), and he was treating me like I was incompetant or something.

I stepped back and let him do what he wanted. Afterwards, I pulled the bag out, while he muttered something about not being able to close it up because it was too full. I think it was something like, "I want to see you get that bag closed completely."

It closed, easily, with plenty of room to spare -- it would have closed fine if he hadn't taken things out of it, too.

But whatever -- the trash bag, and whether or not it needed to have some items removed before taking it out, was the least of my concern. I do NOT take well to having orders shouted at me.

We talked about it afterwards, and the subject got dropped, but I'm still not really feeling much closure here. Mostly because of a few things that came up during the discussion...

At one point, Steve said, "I think that's one thing my parents did better than yours -- I don't have a problem with authority."

This comment was incredibly disturbing to me. I don't have a problem with authority -- when it's a legitimate authority figure, such as my supervisor at work, or a police officer. Steve, however, is most certainly not an authority figure to me, and never will be. I certainly hope he doesn't think I'm supposed to take orders from him.

Before that, I said something like, "Christ, I'm not incompetant, you know." And he replies, "Sometimes it's hard to tell."

Now what on earth is that supposed to mean? I'm not sure, but if he's got that little faith in my abilities (emptying a trash can, for God's sake!), then we have some serious talking to do.

And then when I was trying to explain to him how I felt about having orders shouted at me, he got this bored, "I'm tired of listening to you" expression on his face. I said something to the effect that it looked like he thought I was lecturing him. He confirmed this.


We had more drama later, which wasn't too bad, and then he was trying escape routes... wanting to take a nap to avoid talking to me, for example. Not cool.

I'm incredibly frustrated now. I can't remember ever feeling quite this way about our relationship. Somehow our conflict resolution skills have evaporated, and I can't figure out why.

Steve avoids conflict like the plague. I have absolutely no idea why, despite the fact this has been going on for a few months now. He falls asleep in mid-conversation, and then we wind up having a truly major bout of drama as soon as he wakes up. We talked about this tonight, but to be pefectly honest, I have little faith anything is going to change.

And worse, it's like I can't even tell him how something he did made me feel, anymore. If I try, he acts like an insolent child who is being lectured. Or he rags on himself, with one version or another of "I failed yet again". I used to believe that he was taking it that hard, but I'm not so sure anymore. Now it seems like a guilt trip intended to get me off his back.

In other words, Steve is using not only techniques to avoid and delay conflict, but also to abort it prematurely. This is not a good thing. Just thinking about it has caused my stress levels to skyrocket. The man is a whole lot more devious than he appears to be (although I'm not sure how much of that is conscious).

Not that I'm assigning him all the blame -- I'm quite certain that I'm at least partially responsible for all this. I just have no idea what I'm doing to cause or encourage the problem.


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