Issue 68 –
Suggestion #11: Rest into each other – don’t abdicate
Sidra : It’s wonderful to be able to turn to each other for help with something that they do better than you do or where they have more clarity about an issue. It’s hard to do but we try to ‘rest into’ each other rather than abdicate responsibility. There’s a clear difference between “What’s your hit on this? ” and turning the decision over to the other person.
We’ve also always understood that there are differences in our strengths. There are simply some things one of us does better than the other, and we’ll rest into the other person on it. For instance, I’ll take care of the books, but Hal watches over them and looks at reports. So it’s not a question of me being one hundred percent responsible. Then when there’s some kind of vulnerability that comes up, or some kind of glitch, he’s been in on the trip all along. That’s very important.
Hal : It’s really important – – even in straight counseling of clients. This is a very important differentiation. What happens in a lot of relationships is that they turn the thing over to the partner.
Sidra : And then one of them carries no responsibility at all. I know lots of women who won’t sign a check or even look at the checkbook, or take the car in to be fixed. “Oh, the car, that’s his. I don’t know. It’s making a funny sound, so I turn the radio up louder. That’s his province.” Stuff like that!
Hal : I think this takes us to the whole subject of entrapment. Entrapment is simply a word that describes what happens when a particular self in us has been in charge for too long and it’s gotten too big. We always feel trapped. The moment you start to feel trapped, underneath it negativity starts to come in, if you’re lucky. I mean that. If you’re lucky, you get negative about things and then you have to deal with it in some way. Whether you scream your head off or whether you do it consciously, the fact is an issue is created around the situation. If you get trapped long enough, in enough issues, and you don’t feel the anger and the resentment, then you get sick.
Sidra : You get sick, or suddenly you find yourself in bed with somebody else. Then you wake up and wonder, “How did this happen? It wasn’t in my plans! ”
Hal : Well, that’s exactly how it happens. So, the money thing is very important because I couldn’t in a million years do what she does in terms of the handling of our money. Sidra’s definitely in charge. But approximately once a month, I have all the reports in front of me, I can see everything that she’s done, and we go over everything. So I’m absolutely a part of it.
Sidra : And, we discuss any big decisions.
Hal : And, whatever I handle works the same way for her. I handle a lot of detail work now, but back in the old days, I handled all the calls that came in for workshops and trainings. I organized all that and then we’d sit down at a certain point and have a business meeting.
Suggestion # 12: Business Meetings
We’ve talked about this in our books and tapes, and no matter how troublesome it is, those business meetings are absolutely essential. A lot of times it alleviates so much anxiety. I’ve discovered, for example, that when that part of Sidra feels anxious about how much has to be done, and pushes her into that place of overwork, I look at her and say, “What’s my part? ”
Sidra : I like that.
Hal : And, my part of it is that if I were more proactive and required that the business meeting… Well, it wouldn’t all be on her plate in that way.
Sidra : Right, because I have a gatherer, a sort of hunter/gatherer self, that gathers everything up and heaps it on a big plate in front of me.
Hal : A life like ours has just an enormous amount of detail; and although I can’t take care of the money in the way that she does, there’s a lot I can take care of. So, whenever we have a business meeting, I can always see the thousand-pounder that sits at the desk, stuck to it like glue until I speak up, reminding it that I’m a partner in this. It immediately loses weight and becomes properly proportionate. What I do to get her attention is I ‘ ll complain … …
Sidra : (Laughing) Right away the eighteen-wheeler turns into a pick- up truck.
Hal : (Keeping his train of thought) I’ll say something like, “You’re not partnering with me, ” but I’m not demanding the meeting. I don’t say, “We’re going to have a business meeting in a half hour. Period! That kind of proactive thing forces it. But that’s where I’m weaker in the face of her strength. Of course, the vulnerable child in me sees her working at the desk, keeping us safe. So he really isn’t so anxious to intervene because everything gets done, even though he pays a price in linkage.
Sidra : (Smiling, knowingly.) Yes, he’s okay with that for a little bit.