Newton's Third Law of Motion, For Adults

I say something.  You respond.  I wish that you had said something more, something else.   It doesn't seem like you were listening.   I feel rejected, overwhelmed.  I start falling down the rabbit hole of reaction.

"That was so cold," I say.  "Why can't you be more supportive?  Why do I have to ask for everything I need so explicitly?  Why don't you ever just know how I need you to respond?"

You say something else.  It still isn't what I wanted.  By now, I am well on my way to losing it.

"Never mind, I don't need your help anyway.  I can do it myself.  I don't need you.  I don't need anybody.  I'll do it on my own.  I know that you think I'm a burden whenever I ask for help."

Now you're getting angry, feeling attacked.  You start trying to protect yourself.  I get even more defensive, turning your anger back on myself.

"I'm a terrible person, I shouldn't need to ask for help.  I'm so weak.  I'm such a failure.  I don't see how you can stand even being around me."

Now we're both yelling.  You feel got at, I feel even more threatened.  It's almost as if I wanted to make you attack so as to prove myself right.

And yet all that we were talking about was whose turn it was to cook.

To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Unless, that is, one overreacts.  The trick, of course, not being a billiard ball, is feeling safe enough to be able properly to gauge how one reacts.


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