As children we form our core attitudes based on what we see and experience around us. As we get older, learn more, are exposed to the world and society at large those attitudes expand and we adapt them. But still deep in our mind those first learned attitudes and values linger and all to often unconsciously rear their little heads.
My husband’s core attitudes are that he is smarter than everyone else; women should be seen and not heard and belong in the home; women are not as competent as men and certainly there is no woman who is smarter and more competent than he. As he grew up those attitudes did not serve him well and he adjusted and adapted – not a lot but enough.
Then he met me.
In the last two years both of us have had limited interaction with the world at large. My husband works from home and I don’t work at all, and not by choice. I prefer to work, as domesticity is not one of my core attitudes/values/aspirations.
Lately he has started to tell me how to do things that I taught him. What? Because he is not constantly reminded that there is a larger world he has to function in, he often, unconsciously, reverts to his first-learned perceptions of himself and his place in the world.
I have made him aware of this and he agrees. Good of him to agree – that is a plus in his favor. In the past when, on the rare occasion his arrogant, unsophisticated little boy made an appearance, all I had to do was raise an eyebrow. Today, I had to lay it out in no uncertain terms. We nearly had a heated argument but somehow I made us laugh and then the serious conversation ensued.
Which means, I have to find a job. As he said, I am not happy when I am not working and if I’m miserable then so is he. It’s like the old saying “If the Momma ain’t happy, then nobody’s happy” Well, I ain’t the Momma, but I sure as hell am unhappy, and my unhappiness is palpable.
It’s not healthy to define yourself by work but I do. And as long as I’m working my husband does not regress to his core attitudes as often. Unfortunately my disability is becoming more pronounced and where I live is not so amenable to the disabled – difficult to get around but I shall have to find a way...
Or I can just keep on smacking my husband up-side the head when he forgets who is dealing with.