After I went into the bathroom the other night to have my shower, I heard Marian take the dog downstairs to have her do her business before retiring for the night. While having my shower, I thought about how she had started this new routine the past few nights, of letting the dog out when I was going to have my shower, and then asking me to let the dog in, after I had it. While I’ve been doing it, I was also feeling that something was wrong. When I got out of the shower and was beginning to go downstairs to my room, Marian asked me again to let the dog in, but this time I said no, and just continued to go downstairs to my room. I came back upstairs a few minutes later and put the kettle on to make myself some tea. While in the kitchen, I heard Marian go downstairs and let the dog in. She came back upstairs and went to her room, not saying a word.
I realized that what started out as doing her a simple favor was now turning into a habit for her and me. I could see the unseen role of denial at play, and although she never said it, or would even admit to her intent, it was yet another way for her to control me. Getting me to do what she had been doing for months in the past was a way of making her life easier. Again it was put in the form of a question, as she didn’t make it sound like she was telling me what to do, yet that was what she was doing. By denial of expressing her true intent, she was silently and nicely getting me to take up the slack. What she didn’t want to do, she was getting me to do. What was her responsibility was being passed on to me. It was all so subtle and smooth that I didn’t get it the first few times it happened, although I did feel that something was off, and even when I thought about it in the shower, I didn’t “get it” until I actually heard her ask me again and felt the unloving tug, and decided to say no. It was only then that it all became clear.