What do you do? This time, after the blow-up, I decide on three tactics. May I remember them next time!
February 19, 1991
“The January electric bill was THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS! … You’ve been leaving the burner under the hydrocollator going all the time and….” (Jesse’s voice dies out as he can’t think of any other ways to blame it on me.)
“YOU’D BETTER FIND THEM.” [The electric bills; I have momentarily forgotten where they are.] (Here a tone of threat in addition to volume.)
While we are recording checks together, I ask questions that come to my mind, that I need to answer to do the job. He complains this is taking too long; I respond I’m happy to stop whenever he says. Nevertheless, he continues, and starts raising his voice when I ask the questions I need to ask.
We come to a check to a computer hardware supplier, a check I wrote (and remember his telling me to write). It’s for a lot of money—$900 or so. He says he didn’t spend that much there. I repeat what the check says; he yells at me. I observe he’s raising his voice and he says WELL, YOU’RE ATTACKING ME: TELLING ME I’M WRONG. I go to the computer receipts and find one for the amount in question, for “8 meg mem”; and he remembers it.
(Sometime in the past, I remember asking him why he was raising his voice at me and he said it was to fight back at me…before I started fighting.)
When he pulls this, I resolve to remember:
- Ask him why he’s raising his voice.
- When he says he’s “feeling that” I’m doing something to him, affirm that I am not attacking him by disagreeing with him; not fighting him by doing things in my style; not angry at him…whatever his projection is.
- Maybe even try mirroring that he feels threatened, etc… and that’s his feeling, not what I am doing.