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Pecked To Death

March 30, 2011

I had duck for lunch

A friend told me he had recently spent the day with an ex-girlfriend (long story) and in the course of the day, she gave him grief about the way he said “Thank you.”

Apparently his inflection on “you” is too high, giving, in her opinion, an unflatteringly feminine tone to his speech.

He and I had a good laugh about it. The ridiculousness of someone busting you about the way you string two words together – a common phrase – ludicrous!

We also agreed that in couple relationships, those things are much more touchy. You know they said a jerky thing to you, but do you fight about it or do you let it go? How long do you put up with being the projection screen for someone else’s unhappiness?

I was in a relationship where I got picked on constantly and I can’t adequately describe how soul-killing it is.

To have the person who supposedly loves you and chooses to share their time with you pick pick pick at every flaw, real or imagined is like water on a stone. Or on a loaf of bread, depending on the day and my mood. Some days it bounced off, taking a tiny piece of me, other times it left me soggy and melted. It never did anything to help.

It isn’t like I don’t have my own inner critic to battle. I wanted to tell him “You don’t have to criticize the way I do everything – I CAN DO IT MYSELF.”

I’m not saying there isn’t a lot to criticize. If I wasn’t me, I don’t think I could live with myself. I do drive myself crazy on a fairly regular basis. But isn’t part of loving forgiving the person for being themselves? Until we accept someone for being who they are, can we truly love them?

I also know the pain of being the Picker, the one who is sitting there thinking “If I have to put up with one more day of him chewing with his mouth open, I am going to run away screaming.” I have had minor irritations grow into Huge Issues. I have had people turn from my beloved into Oh My God I Am In a Relationship With the Most Irritating Person in the World Why Must They Be Like That?

Just wondering. How do you handle it when the one you love picks at you? Do you pick at them? Do you try to stop?

  1. March 30, 2011 17:56

    i live alone. probably ’nuff said.

  2. Nicole Reeves permalink
    March 30, 2011 22:01

    I tend to be the picker (try not to pick aloud too much though) and my husband has told me point blank how crushing it is. Usually when everything thing he does makes me want to scratch his eyes out it’s a sign that something is going on with me. When I take care of myself everyone else looks and acts a lot better.

  3. Cindy in Walla Walla permalink
    March 31, 2011 10:09

    We’ve been married for 27 years, somewhere along the way I quit picking (yes, I really did tell him that he could be perfect if he would just do what I say — and I’m pretty sure I meant it. He laughed, he thought I was joking) and started appreciating. The more I commented on and concentrated on the things I love about this fellow, the less I noticed the other stuff. We laugh more now, are truly grateful for each other, and the small stuff really is small stuff. It took time to figure that one out.

    • March 31, 2011 19:57

      I’m glad you figured it out. So many people don’t.

  4. March 31, 2011 15:02

    It is my experience that the more I notice someone else’s faults one of two things is going on: My feelings for the perosn are not what I thought they were, or b) I’m subconsciously avoiding taking my own inventory by focusing on someone else’s. That’s when its time to have some time alone and seek understanding.

    I really love the part of a relationship where everything is new and exciting and nothing the other person does or says bothers you because you just LOVE THEM SO MUCH. Sadly, this is usually followed by moving in together, and then you realize that not only do they do the stuff your ex did that made you crazy, but they do other, worse stuff too. Me and the new guy have already decided there will be no living together anytime soon. I do better alone.

  5. April 1, 2011 14:56

    It’s not so much picking / pecking. It’s an absence of empathy. I need people. The hard part is learning that they don’t need me back.

  6. April 2, 2011 11:00

    Gah…I had a boyfriend once who I thought I loved, but every little thing he did drove me nuts. I was a bitch when I was with him. He wasn’t a bad person, just not the right person for me.

    With my husband (we’ve been together for almost 24 years), sure we annoy each other sometimes, but we don’t pick. There are so many more things I like about him than annoy me, so I keep any picking internal, and he does as well. And you’re right, we’re hard enough on ourselves. It’s a gift to have someone around who believes in you more than you do.

  7. April 6, 2011 16:43

    My ex husband picked on me constantly. It was always disguised as a joke, or “all in fun”. But for me, it stopped being funny when everything I said or did seemed to be the target of ridicule. For a long time he had me convinced I was just being overly sensitive or too serious.

    • April 6, 2011 16:46

      Oh yeah, the “I was just joking” defense.

  8. Al_Pal permalink
    April 19, 2011 23:17

    It makes me sad when I see couples that seem to pick at each other all the time. We occasionally request changes of habit but for the most part are very good at praising and lavishing with love. It’ll be ten years of togetherness this year.😉

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