Accountability

I was walking along the road and a youngish couple were coming towards me holding hands. As they got close I heard him say, ‘I don’t understand why you’re taking a week’s holiday when I’m at work.’

She replied, sounding very defensive, ‘It’s not a week it’s three days and…’ But by then they’d moved out of earshot behind me and I didn’t hear the rest. That little exchange haunted me all the way home.

I felt there was something, if not downright wrong, about it, at least out of balance. But it took me while to try and work out what it was. And I’m not sure I’ve really got to the bottom of it now.

She replied as though he were not only asking a question, but one that held her to account. She was trying to justify herself. Why?

In fact he hadn’t asked a question; he had made a statement. I tried to imagine she’d said, ‘That’s OK. I don’t need you to understand.’ But perhaps she did need him to understand.

It certainly seemed that he wasn’t just making a statement about his own lack of comprehension; there was an implication of criticism. The sub text seemed to be, How dare you make an independent decision! That, I think, is what she was responding to.

I’ve never seen either of them before and the only clue to the relationship is that they were holding hands but I can’t help wondering how he would have replied if he’d been the one to take three days off work and she had made his comment.

How do you think she should have responded?
If there’s no good answer, does that mean he was out of line with what he said?

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About Rosalie Squires

'Who am I?' is a question whose answer keeps evolving, that can be answered in many, many ways; that has no known answer at all. But there are some clues to be found: stocksharpsquires.wordpress.
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4 Responses to Accountability

  1. paulaacton says:

    She should have just said I had days owing i took them off and asked him directly if he had a problem with that and if he said yes asked why, unless he had a valid reason such as perhaps if he worked a fixed rota and couldn’t book his holidays as he pleases (my other half did work on job where it was so many days on so many off for a while and holidays were expected to be arranged for when you were on the 11 days off in the cycle) if he didn’t have a valid reason other than being possessive she should run while she can

  2. Agatha Nolen says:

    Rosalie,
    What a great observation! I think that we all have insecurities that manifest themselves in self-judgment from time to time, so even the most innocent of phrases feels like condemnation. He obviously is longing for more time together, but then she reacts defensively as if wounded by his “concerns”. It would be interesting to follow the conversation through end to end…They both need to be more secure in themselves if they are going to have a meaningful relationships. If you think the other person is judging you, it doesn’t matter why.
    Thanks for the question.
    Agatha Nolen
    http://www.agathanolen.com

  3. Pingback: The Enchanted Vale | Rosalie Squires

  4. Thank you both, Paula and Agatha.Your comments have helped inspire today’s post. There are stories behind the most ordinary of everyday exchanges.

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