Tag Archives: Closed-ended question

Channeling Your Inner 2 Year Old


I seem to channeling my inner 2-year-old lately.  The one that yells “No, no, No, no!”  Then throws herself on the floor and rolls around in a tantrum. Open ended questions seem to really set me off.  Do you want to…”NO” I bark before I hear of the question. “Did you….? No! I didn’t and I’m not gonna either! I don’t want to and you can’t make me.” Go ahead – try it – my capacity to refuse any request, reasonable or not, knows no bounds. “Are you OK?” …NO, yes, maybe, …I don’t know – go away!”

I’ve been on bipolar mood stabilizer meds for a month now. This is part of what’s causing this second child hood. I was living the life of doing anything and everything a spouse, family member, or friend, orders, wheedles or otherwise manipulates me into doing. Now I’m reveling in this new ability to take care of my needs first and I’m taking it the Nth extreme. Not unlike any new I venture to try. Hopefully this is only a phase I’m going through and will find a middle ground. I can’t stay 2 years old forever. Well maybe I could but I prefer to be a little older, like 12 maybe.

Mr. Husband is the target of the lion’s share of this because of his close proximity. Also, 2 of his behaviors are the biggest hurdles to get over; 1) his father was a highly successful lawyer and a skilled manipulator. Open ended questions were his forte. He’d ask one and sit back while the person he questions hoists themselves on their own petard.  Hubman learned this manipulation technique at his daddy’s knee, and he’s darn good at it.

And 2) Hiding an order or request in a question. For example, “Do you want to clean the cat litter box?” The correct answer is “not only NO, but hell no! Who in their right mind wants to clean a friggin cat box? Yea buddy, nothing like a good whiff of cat poo in the morning.” There is no graceful way out of this. If I don’t take my turn with the cat box I feel guilty. If I do clean the cat box I have implied that yes, I do want to so this. Either way I’m screwed. Far better if Hubman would just fess up, spit it out and say “Hey!!!! It’s your turn, get off yer ass and clean that box!” That might not work either, but far fewer emotional entanglement and resentments are attached.

Drive-by, open-ended questions are the worst offenders. I’ll be sitting there minding my own business watching a movie while reading a book. Hubman breezes by and asks, “Do you want to do something?” Excuse me? I AM doing something. Reading IS doing something. I’m doing what exactly what I want at the moment. I’m not just sitting here, empty-headed, waiting for someone to pull the string on me like I’m a wind up doll.

This question implies that I should stop doing what I want to be doing and try to figure out some alternative activity that Hubman may or may not want to do. Hubman, if there is something you want to do or you just want to spend time with me, then just say it, dammit. Don’t throw it my lap and expect me to drag out my Ouija board and figure out what it is that you really want. It’s all I can do to figure out what I want. Figuring out what you want to do is your job.

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