I decided to stay home with the kids and raise them, but I do not like to do housework. My husband comes home annoyed every night, which makes me feel I’m lazy. How can I make him understand how hard things are for me so he will stop making me feel this way? I’m starting to get depressed. I don’t like being a servant.
Woman in Medfield
Dear Woman in Medfield,
I worked with a woman who had the same problem you did – her husband made her feel lazy. Finally, she brought him in to see me one day. Here’s a condensed glimpse of how the session went:
Elaine : He says I’m lazy, and I can’t take it any more. It has to stop.
Thomas : I never said you’re lazy! I don’t think you’re lazy!
Elaine : Look, stop pretending. You know perfectly well that you are constantly complaining about the
house. Don’t try to make yourself out to be like a saint here.
Thomas : I don’t like the house being a mess, but I never said you’re lazy…
Elaine : OH, COME ON!
Thomas : I think I should be doing more – that’s part of the reason I complain – I feel guilty. But I’m too
Claudia : How come you don’t think of yourself as lazy, Thomas?
Thomas : Because I work all day!
Elaine : I work all day too!
Claudia : So how come he doesn’t think of himself as lazy, Elaine, but you think of yourself as lazy?
Elaine : Because he makes me feel lazy!
Claudia : Would it be more fair if he thought of himself as lazy, too?
Elaine : Yes, he should! And the kids are disgusting pigs too, for that matter!
Claudia : So Elaine, you really have a very lazy family.
Thomas : Wait a minute…
Elaine: Lazy and annoyed.
Claudia: Well, what’s wrong with that? Why can’t you be a lazy, annoyed family?
Elaine : (laughs) You are not helping here, Claudia.
Mrs. Smith felt much better after this session. Why? Because she had been so busy feeling lazy that she didn’t realize she actually thought her whole family was lazy. When she realized her whole family was lazy, she got them to help her a little, which made her feel better about herself, and about them.
Apparently, their house is still a mess, and they are still a lazy, annoyed family. Mercifully, they seem to be less depressed and angry about it… which from where I’m sitting, is all that counts.