Failure to Communicate

So the other night around 1.30am we were woken up by the shrill sound of the land line ringing, it rings so infrequently that it took me a while to register to what it actually was, by the time I got to the phone whoever it was was gone and I managed half asleep and in the pitch black to dial 1471 to see who it was, will never know, it was a withheld number. We went back to bed and just as I was drifting off started to dream that I had picked up the phone and it was the serial killer from Black Christmas calling me, probably seen one to many horror movies but then it made me realise how much I hate that phone and how it causes me so much anxiety. Actually I hate those kind of phones in general, the ring tones are too harsh, the sense of urgency to pick up the phone only to be greeted to by some half wit across the world trying to con you into suing for an accident you never had.

I have discovered recently that this anxiety of dealing/making phone calls etc is not all that uncommon. For me phone calls also synonymous with stress, in my last job it was always people upset, angry or urgently needing something and generally resulting in my going out of my job remit to fix something that someone else couldn’t be bothered to do. Or explaining for the fifty billionth time just because you didn’t read it before signing the contract isn’t a get out clause for not paying your service charges! I cannot tell you how blissful it is to be working from home, pretty much in silence not worrying about who’s going to call you next and with what problem. I say that but I do have a land line phone and recently I’ve been asking myself why?

When we moved the guy who came to set up the Internet and install our TV box asked who has landlines anymore? My answer well me obviously and my parents! Yeah my parents, it turns out I got the landline just so they could call because it’s cheaper for them! I got the landline for my parents, not because I actually needed or wanted it. At the time I probably thought I was being helpful, forking out for a landline we never actually use just so two people can call maybe once a week. But lately the phone has become a totem of evil! When it does ring it’s either a survey, ambulance chaser for fake accidents, PPI or my parents and all of them cause me unwanted anxiety (I’m not sure any anxiety is wanted but anyway). I get that most people look forward to phone calls from their parents, a nice little catch up, shooting the breeze, exchanging pleasantries, just generally a nice chat and too be honest I’m a little jealous of that but when my parent call 99% of the time come off the phone deflated and weighed down under the negativity that has just been sent down the line at me and it’s getting worse to the point where I actually don’t want them to ring and I understand how horrible that sounds to say out loud but that is the way that it is. I don’t even think they realise they are doing it (well they might after the last phone call!!) but it has become a source of anxiety that I just don’t need anymore in my life. It’s not that I don’t care, I have just run out of energy to take that kind of emotional burden on every week, I am not a professional therapist!

In context I’m not that close to my parents, I think a combination of me being the eldest, they had me quite young, we clash a lot due to personality differences and probably more due to personality likenesses, the parent/child roles are frequently swapped, lately I feel like I’m stuck on the wrong side and my patience has been tested. The thing is I’m not against listening to people’s problems, I like to help, as some one who has struggled over the years with mental health issues I have an understanding and want for people not to feel that way but sometimes you have to draw a line and say sorry but I can’t help you, mainly because you don’t want help. It’s something I’ve come across frequently in my life, where people constantly complain about things but refuse or reject all help to make things better or find a myriad of excuses as to why they can’t or won’t make they life easier or better and a lot of time that excuse is that it is the fault of someone else and not them! I guess it goes much deeper than this and something a ranty blog post cannot fix but in the mean time if they cannot use the phone responsibly or play nice then I’m doing what any parent would do, I’m taking it away until they can play nice and with that the the phone of doom has gone. Though all is not lost from this situation, if anything it has made my own relationship with my partner much stronger and we make time to talk and listen to each other, we’ve both learned that staying silent on a subject is not the answer and listening is the key as the failure in communicating is not always what is being said or the way something is said but what is not being heard! If people don’t want to listen then I will no longer waste my time trying to be heard.