I’d like to take you on a little journey around my home and introduce to some real characters that I share my home life with. Be warned that there are a lot so you’ll need to pay attention to keep up. I’ll begin with the family there’s my Daughter who is completely horse mad and my son who is tractor crazy and my two dogs (soon to be three) who are just plain crazy and the cat who lives mostly on a shelf, in the garage. That’s all pretty normal and pretty boring if I’m honest, I hear you say……the real characters are coming next!
I’ll start in the utility room as that’s where all the real fun and games goes on. Here we have whacky Wilbur the Washing machine, what a scoundrel this one is. I know that may be hard to believe as he’s just a washing machine, but believe me this is one washing machine that’s had one too many wash pods. He’s a bit of an old boy coming up on his 12thbirthday which in washing machine years makes him around 96. Washing machine years are slightly shorter than dog years with the average being 8 per calendar year. In his 12 years he’s caused some serious issues around my house, trust me.
Wilbur is a wannabe kidnapper, which really comes from his deep need for attention. On a semi regular basis, he point blank refuses to release whatever clothes are unfortunate enough to be in his drum when he gets one of his urges for attention. This has been going on for many years and to this day I do not know what triggers him. Occasionally I suspect that he thinks he’s being taken for granted as I just put the clothes in he does his thing I take them out and pop them into Terry the Tumble Dryer, then repeat. For most washing machines this would be perfectly acceptable, but Wilbur is not most washing machines, he’s unique. Wilbur wants to be appreciated, he wants to be acknowledged, recognised, and most of all loved. That’s why he has a name because he has many human characteristics and is not just my washing machine. He works really hard for me every day and sometimes I forget to appreciate him, sometimes I take him for granted and when I do that it makes him feel so bad that he then wants to make me feel bad, so he keeps things from me, he won’t give me what I want. He has also been known to completely flood my utility room and occasionally it makes it right into the kitchen if he’s been holding on to a lot of water. I can manage when he won’t open up and let me at my clothes but when he floods I get annoyed as the mess is so difficult to clear up.
Often people in relationship behave like Wilbur, sometimes our kids do, sometimes the parents do, even our grandparents can. So chances are that this means we can to. Its ok for Wilbur to do this as he’s a washing machine and he has no other way to communicate his needs or feelings to me but you do. If you are in a relationship and like Wilbur you feel taken for granted, used, ignored, not appreciated, unloved how to you communicate this? Do you hold things back, do you leave things unsaid, are you fed up saying what you want and being ignored or does it sometimes get so bad that you just let rip and your feelings gush and leak out flooding people with your emotions. When this happens to you does it makes things better or worse? Do you feel heard or embarrassed?
As I said Wilbur has no choice he’s a washing machine, you do have a choice, you have a voice and a marvellous wonderfully complex brain which can learn to change. All of our habits and beliefs can be altered, nothing is written in stone we can rewrite our programes or rewire our brains whichever sounds best to you.
There are some very simple things we can do
1. Establish boundaries, make sure that you let people know in a calm and straightforward way what is acceptable and what is not.
2. Learn to say No, its ok not to do everything thats asked of you. Its ok to say not to say Yes to everything you are asked,
3. Remember that you are just as important as everyone else, you matter, and your needs matter.
4. Learn the difference between I want and I need. People will often say to you ‘I need you to do X’ when really that ‘want’ you to do X . They could do it, others could do it but they want you to do it. So become more aware of the things that you and only you can do and the things that others could do and make sure you educate others on their use of the word ‘need’.
5. Look after yourself, take time out for you, make time for some self-care. Even if it’s just a few mins stolen away here and there, make it happen.
6. You need to be your own priority (and yes I did mean to use the word need)
So to close, next time you feel frustrated, taken for granted, used or just simply not appreciated remember, with a smile, if you can I’m not Wilbur the Washing Machine I have a voice and I can initiate change, state my boundaries and ask for what I need.