Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Cycling Death Fatality "Dooring" "Dooring" related Bike Fall in front of Traffic Sydney Road, Brunswick, Moreland, Melbourne abc.net.au/news Feb. 28th 2015 & Herald Sun/ Leader North-West March 3rd 2015 Strip-Shopping Centre Trams Community Safety

I support signage in strip-shopping centres re "Dooring" as "Dooring" mostly occurs un-surprisingly in strip-shopping centres: lines of cars people getting in and out. Strip-shopping centres are also unsafe routes for cycling particularly where trams are also involved: i.e Sydney Rd, Brunswick St, Chapel St, Glenferrie Rd

“Dooring” is a common cycling accident type “on the radar” with the wider Victorian community,

but as part of the emphasis on other road users’ behaviour not cyclists'.

Collisions with vehicle doors opened onto traffic or “dooring” (DCA 163)* accounts for one cyclist fatality,

and 306 serious injuries in Victoria during the period June 30th 2004- June 30th 2013 according to VicRoads CrashStats.

Yet Nine cyclists were fatally injured riding from the footpath onto the road or a crossing (DCA 148)* in Victoria during the same period June 30th 2004- June 30th 2013 according to VicRoads CrashStats.

There were also 510 cyclists seriously injured riding from the footpath or driveway onto the road or a crossing during the same period.

The lion’s share of these fatalities and serious injuries also occurred to cyclists over 12 years of age riding on the footpath.

Six of the Nine cyclists fatally injured

riding from the footpath onto the road or a crossing DCA 148 in Victoria during the period June 30th 2004- June 30th 2013 according to VicRoads CrashStats

were aged 13 years or above and therefore illegally on the footpath.

394 of the 510 total cyclists seriously injured

riding from the footpath or driveway onto the road or a crossing DCA 147 and DCA 148 during the same period

were aged 13 years or above and therefore illegally on the footpath.

Therefore increasing the legal age limit for cyclists to ride on the footpath above 12 years of age does not better protect cyclists.

Yet riding from the footpath or driveway onto the road or a crossing is not a cycling safety issue in the wider community!

* Police use the Definition for Classifying Accidents (DCA) when reporting the geometry and circumstance of a crash.

Pete Dowe

Road Safety Advocate

Cyclist’s death fuels calls for Sydney Rd infrastructure overhaul

Floral tributes have flowed for the Italian cyclist killed on Sydney Rd.
Tributes flow for an Italian cyclist killed on Sydney Rd. Pictures: Carmelow Bazzano
SYDNEY RD needs to be stripped back and resigned if cycling deaths and accidents are going to be slashed, according to Moreland bicycle and residents’ groups.
Community leaders will meet tomorrow in the wake of Friday’s tragic death of a 25-year-old cyclist in Brunswick, with residents’ and cycling groups calling for safety upgrades to the Brunswick arterial road.
HAVE YOUR SAY: How can safety be improved on Sydney Rd for all road users? Tell us below.
The Italian man was hit by a truck on Sydney Rd after being knocked from his bicycle when a parked motorist opened their car door into his path.
Investigations continue into the death.
Floral tributes lay near the site of the accident, north of Barkly St.
Floral tributes lay near the site of the accident, north of Barkly St.
Alleged dooring death on Sydney Rd
Moreland Bicycle User Group’s deputy convener Ross Millward said Sydney Rd must be redesigned if collisions were to be reduced.
Mr Millward said bike safety must be taken seriously during the road design phase and safety measures built into the system.
“It’s a tragedy for the family, but it’s inevitable when you’ve engineered a system with people parking cars within a door space (to cyclists) and cyclists falling over in the space of a truck,” Mr Millward said.
“It’s up to the engineers, but bikes shouldn’t be an afterthought; they need to be built into the system.
“VicRoads should be feeling really guilty that someone has died: they should have done better.
“It’s impossible to guarantee this ever happening unless we engineer a system with separate spaces.”
Mr Millward said cyclists were encouraged to ride at least the space of an open car door from parked vehicles, but many riders were afraid to ride so close to passing traffic, especially on narrow roads such as Sydney Rd.
He said a clearly marked cyclist safety zone, between parked cars and the traffic lane, would help alleviate the situation.
Ross Millward of Moreland Bicycle User Group.
Ross Millward of Moreland Bicycle User Group.
“Cyclists tend to be scared of traffic so they cycle closer to the cars and drivers feel aggrieved if you come out too far,” he said.
“A marked zone would put bikes in a better place and it would make cars understand.”
Brunswick Residents Network spokesman Nic Maclellan said investment in infrastructure was essential to improving cyclist and pedestrian safety on Sydney Rd.
“Brunswick’s population is growing and with very narrow roads, arterial and residential, we need to manage the traffic coming through Brunswick, and for that reason we need to invest in infrastructure,” Mr Maclellan said.
“It is clear that Brunswick has a high proportion of bike riders and you need to be aware (of that) if you drive a vehicle.
“This is only going to increase as more and more people come to live in the inner city.”
Mr Maclellan said an increasing number of cyclists were being funnelled through suburbs such as Brunswick, Richmond and Fitzroy on their commute into the central business district.
He said education and a change in behaviour from road users was important, but without adequate infrastructure road accidents were sure to continue.
“It’s a multifaceted issue involving people — all users of the road — and we need to recognise each other’s rights,” he said.
“It’s not just about changing attitudes — cyclists have a right to be cycling on Sydney Rd.”
Brunswick state Labor MP Jane Garrett said a meeting between authorities, public transport groups, traders and police would hopefully kick start a strategy to make Sydney Rd safer.
Last week Ms Garrett announced the State Government would spend $1.6 million on safety upgrades between Barkly and Albion streets.
That money will be used to ban right turns and upgrade street lighting and signs.
$1.6 million plan to reduce Sydney Rd accidents
A change.org petition to remove car parking between Weston and Barkly streets is also gaining traction with more than 1500 people adding their name to the campaign.
Ms Garrett said all options were up for discussion, including Moreland Council’s Brunswick Integrated Traffic Strategy, which was passed last year.
“We have to find a way to coexist,” Ms Garrett said.
“This is not just an issue for Sydney Rd, it’s one for Victoria.
“Everything is up for discussion. This (meeting) will be the start of an ongoing discussion. Every group has its part to play.”
VicRoads Metro North West Regional Director Adam Maguire confirmed the roads authority would attend the meeting.
“VicRoads was very saddened to hear about the unfortunate cyclist fatality on Sydney Rd last Friday,” Mr Maguire said.
“As announced by Jane Garrett MP recently, VicRoads will be delivering road safety improvements along Sydney Rd between Albion St and Barkly St on behalf of the Victorian Government.
“These upgrades are aimed at improving safety for cyclists and other road users.
“The works will include the banning of right turns at certain intersections, upgrades to lighting and signage to alert drivers to the heavy presence of cyclists and pedestrians and extensions and improvements to bicycle facilities.”
Brunswick state Labor MP Jane Garrett on Sydney Rd.
Brunswick state Labor MP Jane Garrett on Sydney Rd.


Brunswick cyclist death: 'Car-dooring' fatality prompts calls for motorists to pay more attention


A car-dooring that allegedly led to the death of a cyclist on a notorious Melbourne road has revived warnings from bicycle advocates that motorists are not paying enough attention.
The 25-year-old Italian cyclist was cycling south on Sydney Road in Brunswick just after 4:00pm when a person in a parked car allegedly opened their door, knocking him onto the road.
The cyclist was struck by a passing truck and died at the scene, police said.
Bicycle Network Victoria (BNV) spokesman Garry Brennan said while the majority of motorists were becoming more aware about the dangers of dooring cyclists, some people were ignoring the safety messages.
"We're optimistic that we're getting on top of the dooring problem, but you can never relent for one moment," he said.
"There are thousands and thousands of people getting in and out of cars, and they're simply not paying enough attention."
Sydney Road is a notorious stretch of road for cyclists, who must navigate trams, cars and pedestrians.

The official figures show about three serious accidents a week involving a car door, but that's really just the tip of the iceberg.

Greens Leader Greg Barber

It has one of the highest accident rates for cyclists in the state, prompting police and VicRoads to conduct an "enforcement and awareness" campaign over the summer.
Senior Constable Sarah O'Keefe said road users needed to be more aware of each other.
"We have been working tirelessly trying to get that message across," she said
But Victorian Greens Leader Greg Barber said Friday's fatality highlighted the need for a better campaign to raise awareness of driving safely around cyclists.
"Unfortunately these type of accidents happen all the time," he said.
"The official figures show about three serious accidents a week involving a car door, but that's really just the tip of the iceberg as any cyclist will tell you."

'Unfortunate' Sydney Road upgrades were not made sooner: BNV

Last week, the State Government announced a $1.6 million package to make riding and walking along the road safer.
The package includes banning right turns at 17 intersections and increasing off-street parking to reduce the number of doorings.
Mr Brennan said the work should be completed next year.
"[Sydney Road] is a risky area for bike riders and for pedestrians, but the plans are already underway and it's unfortunate that we couldn't get this work done earlier," he said.
Floral tributes have been placed at the scene of the fatality.

First posted


Community Safety Bullying Covert Bullying Female Aggression towards Females Women Bullying Women Mean Girls Dr Jill Weber PhD Healthy Living Magazine US Indirect Bullying Social Aggression Relational Bullying Social Exclusion Spreading Rumours and Lies Bullying at School Workplace Bullying Bullying in Public Vigilantism Hyper-Vigilantism Family Violence Domestic Violence Emotional Violence Emotional Cruelty Women Bullying Men

Women bullying women

Mean Girls

Women bullying woman. Mean girls

Body hatred and women verbally bullying one another are tied together. Culture stigmatizes women who do not meet traditional standards of beauty and, too often, women use this unforgiving reality to harshly judge one another as a means to gain leverage and power. As a result of being treated as if something essential is missing from their nature, many operate with the belief that other women must also be deficient.
Friendships between girls and between adult women are a great source of emotional strength. Yet the very importance of these relationships means the pain is all the more intense when friendship is denied. Boys and girls bully, but research shows girls are much more likely than boys to use indirect or relational aggression. In my work with young women, there are two relationally aggressive dynamics that are the most depleting to a girl’s sense of self and well-being. The first is when a social group suddenly turns against one member by refusing to speak to the victim and by excluding her from the group’s activities. The second is when one member of a clique becomes the subject of gossip. Rather than speaking to the girl in question, members talk about her to others and may spread rumors to those outside of the clique. Typically, the subject of the gossip has to do either with the victimized girl’s attractiveness to the opposite sex (weight, general appearance and demeanor) or it has to do with the girl’s real or imagined sexual history.
I see these kinds of incidents play out consistently with the adolescent girls I treat in my practice. On a broader canvas, we see these dynamics between adult women and increasingly it seems to me this bulling is more directly aggressive.
For example, during recent NBA playoffs, Claire Crawford (a pen name for a CBS blogger) called out an NBA cheerleader as being too “chunky” to fit the bill of an Oklahoma City Thunder cheerleader. She also asked her readers to complete a poll and rate whether the cheerleader had “the perfect look to be an NBA cheerleader,”... “could use some tightening up in her midsection,” or “has no business wearing that outfit in front of people.” Similarly, former Green Bay Packers cheerleader Kaitlyn Collins was described as “ugly” on a Chicago Bears fan page last February. Both of these women have spoken openly about the hurt and embarrassment such widely disseminated scorn and criticism triggered.
Also recently, a University of Maryland Delta Gamma sorority girl’s acid-pen email went viral. Using a blizzard of expletives, she calls out her sisters for not being good enough hosts to sustain fraternity attention. Reading this email is a memorable experience, even momentarily disorienting to hear a stereotypical image of a sorority girl—social, nice, fun, full of sisterly love—debunked with such passion as the writer systematically bludgeons her sisters for their behavior. But, as is unfortunately true for women in our culture today, for some the only truly satisfying way to debunk is by going to the extreme and adopting the same language some men have been known to use to keep women feeling powerless and insecure.
The young author employs these words to crack the whip and force Delta Gamma to be better representatives at social functions with the local Sigma Nu fraternity. On one hand, this is a tempest in a teacup; on the other, it is a stark example of a kind of bold female bullying that is common but usually takes place out of public sight.
Body hatred and women verbally bullying one another are tied together. Culture stigmatizes women who do not meet traditional standards of beauty and, too often, women use this unforgiving reality to harshly judge one another as a means to gain leverage and power. As a result of being treated as if something essential is missing from their nature, many operate with the belief that other women must also be deficient.
It is not unusual for girls early in puberty to see their contemporaries in a sharply competitive way and to express negative opinions about these perceived competitors. For them, it is better to be on offense making aggressively negative judgments about others in order to give themselves a sense of control. The price of this behavior can be crippling when, as often happens, the girl is acutely aware that the tables may be turned on her, and that notion promotes a relentless self-scrutiny and panic at the prospect of having her own shortcomings attacked. Many see other girls as intimidating, deceitful and emotionally vicious.
When the feeling develops that others are being critical of behaviors or appearance, it is not unusual for the subject of this attack to fall into a cycle of self-reproach. Never mind if this self-critical monologue has any relationship with reality; once it starts playing, it can be hard to turn off. The 2010 Massachusetts case involving the suicide of 15-year-old Phoebe Prince was related to a three-month campaign of emotional and physical bullying on the part of nine of her peers, seven of whom were girls. It is believed this ongoing torture was inflicted on Phoebe because of upset over her dating relationships with popular male peers. In a more recent example, Rehtaeh Parsons, a 17-yearold Canadian high school student, committed suicide after enduring a year of public ridicule and bullying after making an accusation that she was raped. Photos of the incident were circulated by her alleged attackers through social media. As Rehtaeh’s best friend, Jenna Campbell, told the Daily Beast on April 27th, “Everyone assumed she was being a slut. That she wanted it. She was telling people ‘I got raped,’ and they said she was a slut and decided not to believe her.”
Mercifully, the result of abusive behavior by others usually does not result in suicide, but the many who suffer its consequences feel intense emotional pain. Why do girls do this to one another? Too often girls, and many women, are taught and come to believe that they must conform to a rigid mold of femininity generally adopted by their circle. Break the mold and they may face exclusion.
Judging, fearing, and turning on their own sex, women effectively sabotage their opportunity for durable female relationships and greater empowerment. A self-fulfilling prophecy develops whereby a woman may begin to believe that most other women are untrustworthy. These women tend to see this consequence as more evidence to the nature of women and, too often, they fail to consider the impact of their own behavior.
Girls and women place high value on their relationships. They become painfully self-critical when they feel unwanted by others. For many girls, their self-esteem rests on their ability to stay connected with others. When they feel unwanted and are given no direct reason as to why, girls and women often feel rejected and worthless. Girls become emotionally overwhelmed by bullying and are
The more girls and women can stay connected with their actual experiences and less with the rigid expectations of others, the greater their empathy and compassion for other women who may be bound by these same rigid expectations.
so caught up in self-blame that they have trouble organizing or making sense of their reactions. Feeling emotionally overwhelmed often becomes misinterpreted as “drama,” a highly judgmental label that further renders young girls and adult women fearful of expressing their more negative emotions or experiences.
Without the protective element of close female friendship, they feel abandoned and look for what they can control. As I explore in my book, Having Sex, Wanting Intimacy—Why Women Settle for One-Sided Relationships, girls who are fearful of one another and have fewer intimate female relationships are more likely to turn to sextimacy as an avenue for acceptance. Sextimacy is when girls and women use sex to find emotional intimacy with men.
Most girls are born with well-tuned emotional radar and a compassionate desire to support and nurture others. They also experience emotional ups and downs, disappointments and heartbreaks. The contradiction between what girls and women really are versus what many are trained to believe they should be creates emotional turmoil and a depleted self. The more girls and women can stay connected with their actual experiences and less with the rigid expectations of others, the greater their empathy and compassion for other women who may be bound by these same rigid expectations. Research suggests there is one clearly protective element in female development: the power of strong female relationships. Girls who are fearful of one another have fewer intimate female relationships—the very thing that can help them the most. If you are a parent of a girl, avoid giving her extreme, either-or messages; every time she expresses disappointment with a peer, refrain from telling her it is “no big deal” or that she is too “dramatic” and should think about things from her friend’s perspective. And it is also important to avoid the alternate extreme—suggesting to her that her friends are out to get her, encouraging peer manipulation and going behind her friends’ backs to get what she needs. Become aware of how you communicate about your own female friends and if you either directly or indirectly insinuate that girls are untrustworthy and that she needs to be vigilant. Instead, model for her how to directly assess and assert your needs to the others you are close to. When a daughter expresses disappointment, anger and other negative emotions, simply encourage her to tell you more about it and ask questions so she may more thoroughly consider her own feelings and needs, and eventually how best to handle the situation.
The more girls hold their upset inside and unexpressed, the more they tend to ruminate and then become agonizingly self-critical which, in some cases, leads to depression. Try not to control how a daughter reacts but list.” Also, talk about how to take such feedback from others while maintaining her self-esteem. For example, tell her that feedback is not a statement about her character, merely information about how she may impact others. It is okay to hear another’s feedback and not become defensive. Simply hear the person out and see if there is anything in what they are saying that you can take responsibility for that does not feel false to you.
Mean-spirited attacks—direct or indirect—can hurt, but talking about it with a caregiver who will listen and not tell a daughter how she is supposed to feel, but rather acknowledge how she actually feels, can make a big difference in a girl’s life.
Dr. Jill Weber, a licensed clinical psychologist, practices in the Washington, DC area. Dr. Weber offers expertise in psychotherapy for adults, teenagers, and couples, tailoring her treatment to individual history and problem areas. Dr. Weber writes a blog for Psychology Today and is the author of Having Sex, Wanting Intimacy-- Why Women Settle for One-Sided Relationships. Follow her on twitter @DrJillWeber


Saturday, February 28, 2015

Community Safety Family Violence Domestic Violence 'Tolstoy was Frigid' The Other Tolstoy and the Book of Night www.slate.com Feb. 2015 Emotional Violence Gender Equality Appropriate Attitudes Towards Men

What if the roles were reversed here? 

"That 'frigid bitch' Tolstoy, he should 'put-out' more often?"

Pete Dowe

"That Tolstoy, you know, the Russian novelist? Conventionally credited with being the greatest illuminator of the human experience in literature? The same one who—and fewer readers are aware of this—late in his life turned into a sex-hating crank who (seriously) argued that the extinction of the human species would be a small price to pay for the immediate cessation of all sexual intercourse."

The Other Tolstoy and the Book of Night

Sofiya Tolstoy’s long-lost novella tells us more about love and sex than her husband ever could.

Two Tolstoys: The happy couple in Gaspra, Crimea, in May 1902.
Photo public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

It seemed like sensational news to me. I’m not sure why it hasn’t become more of a high-profile issue in literary circles. I found it to be—in the words of Mary McCarthy’s awestruck review of Nabokov’s Pale Fire—“A bolt from the blue.”

After all, this is a revelation about the mind of Lev Nikolaevitch Tolstoy. That Tolstoy, you know, the Russian novelist? Conventionally credited with being the greatest illuminator of the human experience in literature? The same one who—and fewer readers are aware of this—late in his life turned into a sex-hating crank who (seriously) argued that the extinction of the human species would be a small price to pay for the immediate cessation of all sexual intercourse. Everyone, everywhere. You there, hiding in the shadows: Stop fucking now!

And fewer still are aware of Tolstoy’s devastating “consolatory” response when it was pointed out to him that cessation of all sex would mean the rapid extinction of the human species. 

He replied with what might be the single worst attempt at “consolation” in all of literature, perhaps all of life. What’s the problem with human extinction? Tolstoy asked. After all, science tells us the sun will eventually cool and all life on Earth will die off anyway. Sure, billions of years in the future, probably. But there’s actually a bright side to near-term extinction, he said: It will mean the human race will be spared billions of years of shame, billions of years of further degradation in what he charmingly called the “pigsty” of sex.

Glass half-full!

Seriously. Yes, it’s shocking, especially from a novelist whose works are known for their superb vitality, bursting with the love of life. And yet, far less well-known are his late anti-sexual novellas: The Devil, Father Sergius, and, most vicious, venomous, and sex-hating of all, the 100-page The Kreutzer Sonata. It’s a deceptively innocent title for the heartwarming story of a madman wife-murderer who delivers an interminable monologue on an interminable night-train journey across the Russian steppes. Who horrifies his captive audience—the passengers in his compartment—with a denunciation of men, women, and sex. Who thereby—in his mind—justifies the bloody murder.

Oh it must be ironic, said the Moscow-to-Petersburg Acela corridor chattering class of the time. He was portraying a character. True, his protagonist was a wife-murderer who’d been freed on judgment that he'd been driven to kill by justified defense of his "honor." But Tolstoy himself was not justifying the murderer’s rationale for his act. Impossible!

No, NO! thundered Lev Nikolaevitch in a “Postface” he insisted be added to Kreutzer to clear things up: He stood behind every word of the madman’s rationale, if not his final bloody act. Lev converted to a radical form of “primitive Christianity” in the 1880s and found an affinity with an anti-sexual sect that advocated voluntary castration. (He did not volunteer.) He hadn’t gotten around to killing his own wife, but clearly he could understand, he could empathize with the logic of the deed. Human love and sexuality were irredeemably evil; women were sinister provocateurs of male murderousness. (I am generally opposed to biographical criticism, but it’s worth reading The Last Station, Jay Parini’s historically based novel about the last days of Tolstoy’s bitter marriage—just to see how emotionally murderous that marriage was in the decade before he died in 1910.)

None too surprisingly, Tolstoy’s wife, Sofiya, took his tale of a wife-murderer personally, especially since it seemed to her it was inspired by the “issues” in her own marriage. The Kreutzer narrator—a Tolstoy-like landowner—fantasized an adulterous tryst between his wife and the violinist she played duets with. Mad sexual jealousy. And then when he comes home one night and unexpectedly finds the two dining together, he imagines the worst and stabs her to death.


It was fair to say Sofiya was humiliated and incensed when the novella was published and her marriage to The Great Man became suspect, subject to nationwide speculation. (And yet such was her devotion she made a special plea to the Czar to allow its publication after Orthodox Church objections banned it. In an unusual moment in the annals of censorship, the church objected not so much to a surplus of sex in Kreutzer, but rather to its denunciation of even church-sanctified marital sex as legitimized depravity.) 

For a long time, it had been thought Sofiya kept her dismay to her private diary. But now—and this is the revelation I first saw reported in the New York Times last summer—it turns out she wrote an entire novella of her own that has languished unpublished and untranslated in the depths of the archives of the Tolstoy Museum in Moscow for more than a century.

And what a novel it is! Just published for the first time in English in a translation by the scholar Michael R. Katz, it appears in a Yale University Press edition that includes not only Tolstoy’s original Kreutzer, not only Sofiya’s “answer novel,” not only a response document from Tolstoy’s son and from his daughter, but much more. The volume is called The Kreutzer Sonata Variations.

It has not been established whether Sofiya ever wanted the 90-page novella published, or was content to let it remain a silent reproof in her possessions. In any case, evidence of how she felt about her husband’s depiction of their marriage in Kreutzer can be found in her list of possible titles for her novella:

Is She Guilty?
Long Since Murdered
Gradual Murder
How She Was Murdered
How Husbands Murder Their Wives
One More Murdered Woman [or Wife]

Ultimately she chose a somewhat graceless alternate: Whose Fault?

So now, 125 years after Kreutzer’s 1889 publication, Tolstoy’s wife gets to have her say. It will take years to assimilate all the variations in Katz’s volume, but I want to focus on the single most impressive thing I found on my first reading: Sofiya Tolstoy can write! I’m still puzzled by the Times story’s somewhat cavalier unwillingness to consider her novella’s literary merit and even more by the subhead’s sexist characterization of her work as nothing but “a scorned wife’s rebuttal.” In fact, I think she’s good. At times one could almost say she’s … Tolstoyan. And when it comes to love and sex, she shows her husband up for the demented fool he became. 

Specifically, Sofiya pulls off a remarkable structural feat in mirroring Kreutzer’s wife-murder plot from the point of view of the murdered wife. And she does it with prose that (in English at least) comes across as graceful, emotionally intuitive, and heartbreaking.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Community Safety Domestic Emotional Violence Family Violence: The "Hamburger Meat Moment" "Happy Wife, Happy Life?" "I Wasn't Treating My Husband Fairly, And It Wasn't Fair" Sunny Skyz Dec 28th 2014 Female Aggression Female Family Violence Female Domestic Emotional Violence Bullying Covert Bullying Appropriate Attitudes Towards Men Gender Equality Women Bullying Men

I Wasn't Treating My Husband Fairly, And It Wasn't Fair

December 28, 2014
It's never easy to admit you have a problem, or that you were wrong. This woman had a recent "revelation" and decided to write it all down in hopes that it might help other marriages. This is what she wrote...

image: http://www.sunnyskyz.com/uploads/2014/12/vwr7x-husband-600.jpg
wife open letter to husband
Image Credit: Shutterstock Via MissFranJanSan
My "Aha Moment" happened because of a package of hamburger meat. I asked my husband to stop by the store to pick up a few things for dinner, and when he got home, he plopped the bag on the counter. I started pulling things out of the bag, and realized he'd gotten the 70/30 hamburger meat - which means it's 70% lean and 30% fat.
I asked, "What's this?"
"Hamburger meat," he replied, slightly confused.
"You didn't get the right kind," I said.
"I didn't?" He replied with his brow furrowed. " Was there some other brand you wanted or something?"
"No. You're missing the point, " I said. "You got the 70/30. I always get at least the 80/20."
He laughed. "Oh. That's all? I thought I'd really messed up or something."
That's how it started. I launched into him. I berated him for not being smarter. Why would he not get the more healthy option? Did he even read the labels? Why can't I trust him? Do I need to spell out every little thing for him in minute detail so he gets it right? Also, and the thing I was probably most offended by, why wasn't he more observant? How could he not have noticed over the years what I always get? Does he not pay attention to anything I do?
As he sat there, bearing the brunt of my righteous indignation and muttering responses like, "I never noticed," "I really don't think it's that big of a deal," and "I'll get it right next time," I saw his face gradually take on an expression that I'd seen on him a lot in recent years. It was a combination of resignation and demoralization. He looked eerily like our son does when he gets chastised. That's when it hit me. "Why am I doing this? I'm not his mom."
I suddenly felt terrible. And embarrassed for myself. He was right. It really wasn't anything to get bent out of shape over. And there I was doing just that. Over a silly package of hamburger meat that he dutifully picked up from the grocery store just like I asked. If I had specific requirements, I should have been clearer. I didn't know how to gracefully extract myself from the conversation without coming across like I have some kind of split personality, so I just mumbled something like, "Yeah. I guess we'll make do with this. I'm going to start dinner."
He seemed relieved it was over and he left the kitchen.

And then I sat there and thought long and hard about what I'd just done. And what I'd been doing to him for years, probably. The "hamburger meat moment," as I've come to call it, certainly wasn't the first time I scolded him for not doing something the way I thought it should be done. He was always putting something away in the wrong place. Or leaving something out. Or neglecting to do something altogether. And I was always right there to point it out to him.
Why do I do that? How does it benefit me to constantly belittle my husband? The man that I've taken as my partner in life. The father of my children. The guy I want to have by my side as I grow old. Why do I do what women are so often accused of, and try to change the way he does every little thing? Do I feel like I'm accomplishing something? Clearly not if I feel I have to keep doing it. Why do I think it's reasonable to expect him to remember everything I want and do it just that way? The instances in which he does something differently, does it mean he's wrong? When did "my way" become "the only way?" When did it become okay to constantly correct him and lecture him and point out every little thing I didn't like as if he were making some kind of mistake?
And how does it benefit him? Does it make him think, "Wow! I'm sure glad she was there to set me straight?" I highly doubt it. He probably feels like I'm harping on him for no reason whatsoever. And it I'm pretty sure it makes him think his best approach in regards to me is to either stop doing things around the house, or avoid me altogether.
Two cases in point. #1. I recently found a shard of glass on the kitchen floor. I asked him what happened. He said he broke a glass the night before. When I asked why he didn't tell me, he said, "I just cleaned it up and threw it away because I didn't want you to have a conniption fit over it." #2. I was taking out the trash and found a pair of blue tube socks in the bin outside. I asked him what happened and why he'd thrown them away. He said, "They accidentally got in the wash with my jeans. Every time I put in laundry, you feel the need to remind me not to mix colors and whites. I didn't want you to see them and reinforce your obvious belief that I don't know how to wash clothes after 35 years."
So it got to the point where he felt it was a better idea — or just plain easier — to cover things up than admit he made a human error. What kind of environment have I created where he feels he's not allowed to make mistakes?
And let's look at these "offenses": A broken glass. A pair of blue tube socks. Both common mistakes that anyone could have made. But he was right. Regarding the glass, I not only pointed out his clumsiness for breaking it, but also due to the shard I found, his sad attempt at cleaning it up. As for the socks, even though he'd clearly stated it was an accident, I gave him a verbal lesson about making sure he pays more attention when he's sorting clothes. Whenever any issues like this arise, he'll sit there and take it for a little bit, but always responds in the end with something like, "I guess it just doesn't matter that much to me."
I know now that what he means is, "this thing that has you so upset is a small detail, or a matter of opinion, or a preference, and I don't see why you're making it such a big deal." But from my end I came to interpret it over time that he didn't care about my happiness or trying to do things the way I think they should be done. I came to view it like "this guy just doesn't get it." I am clearly the brains of this operation.
I started thinking about what I'd observed with my friends' relationships, and things my girlfriends would complain about regarding their husbands, and I realized that I wasn't alone. Somehow, too many women have fallen into the belief that Wife Always Knows Best. There's even a phrase to reinforce it: "Happy wife, happy life." That doesn't leave a lot of room for his opinions, does it?
It's an easy stereotype to buy into. Look at the media. Movies, TV, advertisements - they're all filled with images of hapless husbands and clever wives. He can't cook. He can't take care of the kids. If you send him out to get three things, he'll come back with two — and they'll both be wrong. We see it again and again.
(On a side note, I have a friend in advertising, and I asked him why so much of that stereotype exists. He basically said, "'Smart wife/dumb husband' is really the only joke that's allowed anymore. Imagine doing a commercial with a clueless or helpless wife who needs a man to come in and save the day. Customers would be up in arms because of the company's antiquated views on women. Plus women make the majority of household purchases in this country, and you want to make them feel smart for choosing your product. So what you always get is the dumb husband character foil.)
What this constant nagging and harping does is send a message to our husbands that says "we don't respect you. We don't think you're smart enough to do things right. We expect you to mess up. And when you do, you'll be called out on it swiftly and without reservation." Given this kind of negative reinforcement over time, he feels like nothing he can do is right (in your eyes). If he's confident with himself and who he is, he'll come to resent you. If he's at all unsure about himself, he'll start to believe you, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Neither one is a desirable, beneficial outcome to you, him or the marriage.
Did my husband do the same to me? Just as I'm sure there are untold numbers of women who don't ever do this kind of thing to their husbands, I'm sure there are men who do it to their wives too. But I don't think of it as a typical male characteristic. As I sat and thought about it, I realized my husband didn't display the same behavior toward me. I even thought about some of the times I really did make mistakes. The time I backed into the gate and scratched the car? He never said a word about it. The time I was making dinner, got distracted by a call from my mom, and burned it to cinders? He just said, "we can just order a pizza." The time I tried to put the new patio furniture together and left his good tools out in the rain? "Accidents happen," was his only response.
I shuddered to think what I would have said had the shoe been on the other foot and he'd made those mistakes.
So is he just a better person than me? Why doesn't he bite my head off when I don't do things the way he likes? I'd be a fool to think it doesn't happen. And yet I don't remember him ever calling me out on it. It doesn't seem he's as intent as changing the way I do things. But why?
Maybe I should take what's he always said at face value. The fact that these little things "really don't matter that much to him" is not a sign that he's lazy, or that he's incapable of learning, or that he just doesn't give a damn about what I want. Maybe to him, the small details are not that important in his mind — and justifiably so. They're not the kinds of things to start fights over. They're not the kinds of things he needs to change about me. It certainly doesn't make him dumb or inept. He's just not as concerned with some of the minutia as I am. And it's why he doesn't freak out when he's on the other side of the fence.
The bottom line in all this is that I chose this man as my partner. He's not my servant. He's not my employee. He's not my child. I didn't think he was stupid when I married him - otherwise I wouldn't have. He doesn't need to be reprimanded by me because I don't like the way he does some things.
When I got to that point mentally, it then made me start thinking about all the good things about him. He's intelligent. He's a good person. He's devoted. He's awesome with the kids. And he does always help around the house. (Just not always to my liking!) Even more, not only does he refrain from giving me grief when I make mistakes or do things differently than him, he's always been very agreeable to my way of doing things. And for the most part, if he notices I prefer to do something a certain way, he tries to remember it in the future. Instead of focusing on those wonderful things, I just harped on the negative. And again, I know I'm not alone in this.
If we keep attempting to make our husbands feel small, or foolish, or inept because they occasionally mess up (and I use that term to also mean "do things differently than us"), then eventually they're going to stop trying to do things. Or worse yet, they'll actually come to believe those labels are true.
In my case it's my husband of 12+ years I'm talking about. The same man who thanklessly changed my car tire in the rain. The guy who taught our kids to ride bikes. The person who stayed with me at the hospital all night when my mom was sick. The man who has always worked hard to make a decent living and support his family.
He knows how to change the oil in the car. He can re-install my computer's operating system. He lifts things for me that are too heavy and opens stuck jar lids. He shovels the sidewalk. He can put up a ceiling fan. He fixes the toilet when it won't stop running. I can't (or don't) do any of those things. And yet I give him grief about a dish out of place. He's a good man who does a lot for me, and doesn't deserve to be harassed over little things that really don't matter in the grand scheme of things.
Since my revelation, I try to catch myself when I start to nag. I'm not always 100% consistent, but I know I've gotten a lot better. And I've seen that one little change make a big improvement in our relationship. Things seem more relaxed. We seem to be getting along better. It think we're both starting to see each other more as trusted partners, not adversarial opponents at odds with each other in our day-to-day existence. I've even come to accept that sometimes his way of doing things may be better!
It takes two to make a partnership. No one is always right and no one is always wrong. And you're not always going to see eye-to-eye on every little thing. It doesn't make you smarter, or superior, or more right to point out every little thing he does that's not to your liking. Ladies, remember, it's just hamburger meat.
This post originally appeared on Reddit.

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