I don’t want to give away the punchline, so watch the video first, and then we’ll get to the reader question. The video is about ten minutes long, and is not safe for work, but it’s basically only so for a bunch of F-Bombs.
So the reader question…
Reader: This morning we got into a fight about responsibilities and getting things done in and around the house. Six months ago, I would have given in just to avoid the fight, but nowadays I stand my ground. Especially when I’m absolutely sure that I’m right.
This seems to be really difficult for her and for me too actually. Standing my ground feels very unnatural for me, especially since it escalates the fight. So I’m hoping that this tactic will prove its worth in the long run. Anyway, she was still quite mad when she left for work and the last thing she said was “You’re starting to be more like your father every day”.
It’s the first time she ever said that. When someone used to say that I was a bit like my father or even looked like him, I used to take that as in insult (my father was an alcoholic that was never really around). But my father is also quite the alpha male (a bit too much even). So the fact that she said that wasn’t insulting to me, it was more of an acknowledgement that she sees the change. So I guess that all in all things are progressing in a positive way, even if we seem to have more fights nowadays.
Athol: So yeah… here’s why comparing you to your father is always going to be a below the belt punch.
Whether you like it or not, you have an enormously strong emotional tie to your father. That may be a strong positive, a strong negative, or a strong reaction to the fact that there isn’t a strong connection to your father. You’re pretty much locked into him emotionally somehow.
So when she said “You’re just like your father”, it’s going to tap a deep emotional well. If you happen to react negatively to your father, it’s going to be a vicious insult because in at least some ways, you’re actually going to be like your father. So it’s a cutting statement in no small part because… well, because it’s true.
If you happen to react positively to your father, it’s going to rile you up because she’s making a clear insinuation that your father isn’t that great, and by implication you aren’t that great. So then there’s this thing where she’s implying that you’re kinda destined to suck on a biological level. You’re not even Mr. Suck Sr, you’re Mr. Suck Jr.
So there’s usually not much way around having a bad reaction to her statement. It’s exactly as Dane Cook says, designed to screw with your head. What you have to do, is see it for what it is designed to do, and respond to that, rather than to the actual comment.
The good news is that if she is reaching for the emotional terrorism as a tactic, it means she hasn’t managed to achieve her objectives by her usual tactics. Or in plain English, she throws out the “You’re just like your father” as a line when she’s losing the war.
So my reader is exactly right. He’s making progress on the whole MAP front and his Sex Rank is going up and the relationship power balance is starting to swing toward him and away from her. He’s not just folding up like a wet napkin over everything. She’s getting freaked out by that change and has been pushing back on his pushing back on her, so yes fights will have increased in the short term. But the whole “You’re just like your father.” line implies that she’s getting to the end of thinking pushing back on him will work.
What should be done now, is he should claim victory, and an immediate end to this round of arguments. “Your whole line about how I’m just like my father has nothing to do about whatever our current issue is, which means I won this argument, and you said that simply for the purpose of hurting me. Now I am totally fine with the idea of us having disagreements, and talking them through, but if you want to turn this relationship into one where purposely hurting each other is acceptable, you’re standing on the wrong side of the front door.” Say it with total commitment and hardcore eye contact with her. Don’t yell it, just controlled anger. You’re looking to create that “Oh shit!” reaction in her.
The frame is that you are in charge of this relationship, and there is simply no purposeful hurting of each other allowed.
Of course this is all going to mess with her head, as you just announced her relationship just switched from ME/him to HIM/me. She’s going to be pretty sure that you’re cheating on her, but likely have zero evidence that you are. She wants to be in charge to ensure she can’t be hurt by you, but you just took charge to ensure that there would be no hurting. So she’s going to be seriously confused as to what is going on. At some point you may have to unveil MMSL to avoid her totally freaking out on you. But in the meantime, use this line…
“I just feel like a stronger person now.”
…which of course doesn’t really mean anything immediately. But she’ll be thinking about it for days to come lol. What the hell he did mean by that? Detonation in 5.. 4.. 3… 2…
Jennifer: Even saying “You’re like your father.” as a compliment is going to potentially backfire on you. I agree it’s a low blow. I like the “I’m a stronger person” line too. Because if it’s true, she can’t really argue it can she.