This morning, on our way to town, Ming and I had a ferocious argument, with him yelling and me shrieking and both of us swearing and me crying.
Our first stop was the chemist so I left Ming in the car, slammed the door, wiped my eyes and went in to get a few things with a big fake smile on my face. It took awhile for a couple of prescriptions to be filled so I went back to the car to find Ming with silent tears rolling down his cheeks. I got into the car and sobbed an apology which was reciprocated, then we just sat in silence for a few minutes, staring dully though the windscreen.
Then we began to talk:
Ming: There is something wrong with me. I’m ruining your life.
Me: There is nothing wrong with you and you are not ruining my life.
Ming: Then why does this keep happening?
Me: Because you keep losing your temper with me and I keep overreacting.
Ming: I just want to make things perfect and it never works.
Me: Yes, and that includes me?
Ming: Yes, well, no – I just want you to be happy.
Me: Well I just want you to be happy too. But you are a bully!
Ming: I think we should go back to counselling.
Me: I agree.
Ming: Sometimes when I wake up, I just want to go back to sleep.
Me: Same here.
Ming: I want to be a child again.
Me: So do I, sort of.
Ming: Am I really harder for you than Dad?
Me: Physically, no, mentally, yes – emotionally, about the same.
Ming: But I’m only trying to help.
Me: By nagging me, reprimanding me, trying to control me, yelling at me?
Ming: You said we’d leave today at 11am.
Me: So we left at 11.10am – was that a tragedy?
Ming: No, but you’re always letting me down – you never want to leave the house.
Me: I’m having a bad time with lethargy.
Ming: Same here.
Me: So we need a plan of attack. From now on we will make a daily plan for each day. We’ll do one chore together and one separately, schedule it into the day and allocate a definite time. Neither of us is allowed to renege or be late. We’ll write tomorrow’s plan tonight and sign it like a contract.
Ming: That’s what I’ve been saying for ages, Mum – teamwork!
Me: Okay, I don’t particularly like that word but yes, you are right.
Ming: Shake hands then?
We went on and did the rest of our town errands and got home smiling. I feel terrible about the horrible, cruelly sarcastic things I said to Ming, and for screaming at him like a psycho, and he feels terrible for his control-freaky temper, but maybe we had to have this crash in order to wake up.
I am hopeful.