"Actually, Mom...that's on you."
Although it wasn't what I wanted to hear
(I really wanted to hear him say, "Sorry for taking all of the hot water")
What he said gave me some comfort.
Because I was making a slightly manipulative play and hadn't even realized it.
I'll take you back to the day.
I had worked out hard and come home hot and sweaty to shower and get ready for my coaching appointments.
And when I came home from my workout my son was showering.
I knocked and asked him to please make it quick because I needed a shower.
He didn't make it quick.
He took his sweet time.
When I tried to shower we were out of hot water.
Frustrated, I tried to clean off the best I could and got dressed for my coaching upcoming appointment.
I said, "Hey, now I have to work feeling gross".
And he said, "Actually, Mom, that's on you."
You see, I had, unintentionally given him ownership of my choice.
I was blaming him for my frustration and my decision to not shower yet.
I could have had a cold shower.
I could have owned that my thoughts were what was creating my frustration.
But I wanted to take the easier way out and give him responsibility for my choice and my feelings.
Because I have a human brain.
But the good news is there were plenty of times in the past he had heard me use good boundaries with him.
He has heard me kindly hand responsibility back when someone tried to place them on my shoulders.
He has heard me say out loud that I wanted to blame someone else but I realized it was my own thoughts.
That day he heard me say, "You know, you're right. I could have had a cold shower. I just really didn't want to. Next time will you please remember me too?"
And do you know what...he did.
My son is very manipulation-proofed
Against friends and even against people who love him very much...like me....
Who just forget sometimes that he is not in charge of managing their thoughts, feelings, actions, and results
I have a great deal of peace and confidence that I have protected and taught my son in that way
By being a version of a person that has strong boundaries and ownership myself.
It doesn't matter if you have kids or not
Or how old they are
The people around you learn how to treat you and how to treat themselves
By how you interact.
Having appropriate, non-manipulative boundaries is one of the kindest, most respectful things you can do for another human
It protects you from resentment, disconnection, and dishonesty which are relationship busters.
Your relationship with your spouse is full of daily interactions that teach others just by being exposed to it.
If you want to teach something different
And experience that relationship differently
Please reach out.
I can help you become manipulation-free and manipulation-proof for deeper, more peaceful, more intimate relationships.
Just click below to schedule a time to talk.