Kill The Stenographer: and other relationship tips

Do you ever wish that never-ending loop in your head, (you know the one about your last argument with your loved one?) could be spliced, falling away on the cutting room floor?

If you are like me, you are an obsessor, and not only will you obsess about the past hurts you feel, dredging it up out of the cellar of your memory like a fine wine to enjoy over and over again, you will obsess until you are drunk with bitterness and all sorts of convoluted imagery that is partially based on fact, but most definitely, a variety of delusions. This fine vintage is a blend you see. It is a blend of past hurts, past traumas, and poor decisions you haven’t acknowledged properly.  Oh, I’ve toasted to them plenty, but my “Bon Voyage Past Regrets and Trauma” Pity Party has not stopped them from hanging around for leftovers years later.

Here is typically how things start, and then go horribly awry.

My opening statement: “So, I’ve been thinking and scheming about how to revive my numbers for the “Chatty Cathy Social Butterfly” group AND how this would be a Jump-Off project into talking about Social Awareness ,and by extension rid the planet of Styrofoam once and for all! I have had 4 cups of coffee and my spoon is talking to me really fast, but I can translate. This is how it could work…. ”

My Sailor, unruffled by my penchant for social experiments and shenanigans, settles in for the long ride.  ”So, what is your projected timeline on this?”  (Timidly testing the waters)

Me: “Well, it will take a trapeze, which is no problem what-so-ever, a couple of liability waivers, 6 weeks of classes to train the monkeys to form a giant net in the shape of a disposable coffee cup, and a Facebook Page.”

My Sailor starts to get the eye twitch and shifts nervously in her seat, like she is contemplating dislodging an ear of corn from her back molars. She cross-examines. “Let me see if I have heard you correctly. Are you saying there are monkeys involved in your Save the Styrofoam project?”

Me: “Look! I didn’t come to you for the 3rd degree here! Yes, there are Monkeys’, because you know how the ladies really open up when we talk about animals, and remember how well therapy dogs work for humans? I really thought you would be SO much more supportive here. I have had a lifetime already of Non-Supportive people in my life. Don’t make me unravel the list of names.” (huffing and puffing while rifling through a pile notes scribbled on napkins, paper plates, and grocery receipts.)

My Sailor: “Umm ….. What just happened? “(Perplexed, lost, and not sure if she should just go to the store for chocolate therapy, come home with flowers or go into fetal position and ride out the crazy.)

When I feel wronged in a conversation, there are easily 3 parties present: me, my wife, and my internal Stenographer.  The Stenographer’s notes are glossy brochures in colorful detail about all the areas I have felt wronged, disappointed, unheard, or not understood. The Stenographer has notes that date back to the early years of who stole my blanket out of the grocery cart and why I wasn’t chosen as Cheese Wedge #5 in the 4th grade school play.

I depend on the Stenographer when I want to hold a really good grudge and feel morally justified to bring up the past. Unfortunately, while the Stenographer may be able to recall events in a vague air of disgruntlement and hurt, she is lousy at dictation. She can’t remember fine details to save her life. I should have fired her long ago, but she makes good coffee.

Living as an ADD adult often means we confuse the facts and get lost in the details. We feel morally justified, but we lack evidence to our convictions (having been misplaced in the wrong folder under “Spice Garden tips”) Verbatim is not a friend we are remotely acquainted with. Many times, our projections of being misunderstood or rejected lie within our own inability to put down a linear breadcrumb trail from A to B that other’s can follow.

It is at this point that “Killing the Stenographer”, (Or at least putting her on permanent leave) is the saving grace for the relationship. Chances are pretty great that most ADD Adults have a litany of past failures, unrealized dreams, unfinished projects, and missed opportunities…but often the gift of ADD gets lost among the milieu of broken pieces. Letting go of the details and endless tracking of verbal repartee, allows the opportunity to put aside the defenses and get right down into the raw trenches of extracting what is really genuine and really needed.

I might not ever follow through on my plan to create a net of Monkeys and save the world from Styrofoam. Chances are good I won’t. But my wife knows that I need to be heard, appreciated, and encouraged to think that it is POSSIBLE. She affirms that my dreams and ideas matter and that when the right dream comes along, I will have the confidence to follow it to the end, because I have someone in my corner who believes in me.


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