Nancy does not feel appreciated by her husband Bob. They are retired and share the maintenance of their 23-year home and land along with their other interests.
Nancy feels resentment towards Bob. Instead giving recognition, appreciation and validation he criticises, minimizes and condemns her work.
When there is a need for house or land maintenance and Nancy is willing to do the job Bob resists, delays and complains. He says, “NO it can't be done” Nancy says,“YES it can.” Bob's philosophy is “Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow” and Nancy's is “Never put off for tomorrow what you can do today, a stitch in time saves nine” and “every problem has a solution.”
Bob loves to complain and be a victim. His favorite complaint is about the house's shoddy work by the previous builder/owner. Nancy responds, “We moved into the house in 1998 and lived in it for 11 years. It's time to take responsibility and correct the problems NOT complain and continue to be a victim.
Bob and Nancy had a big blow up when the house's roof began to leak. Nancy and Bob called a roofing company and was told they needed to replace the cedar siding on their three dormers and the shingle roof.
Since it could be a month or two before a roofer does the job Nancy wanted to put plastic over the roof leaks. Bob disagreed. Nancy was stunned as there was a prediction of heavy rains and the leak in the kitchen was destroying the kitchen cabinets.
While Nancy put plastic over a hole in the roof above the kitchen Bob relented. He stood at the base of the ladder and told Nancy how to raise the shingles and place the plastic underneath. When Nancy cleaned the area at the back of the house Bob suggested she put a roofing tar around the leak instead of plastic. Nancy agreed and let Bob finish the project. She was delighted and grateful.
When the roof did not leak during the next heavy rain Nancy expressed relief to Bob, “Yes I know. You need to stop over reacting. It's no big deal.”
Nancy was hurt. She felt Bob minimized her accomplishment. “Too bad you can't share my pride and satisfaction,” she said with sadness.
She looked at the other projects where Bob expressed negativity. The list was long. The same thing happened when she stained the house's interior and exterior logs, chinked between logs, stained and sealed the upstairs wood floors, repaired the stone floor with grout, hauled gravel runoff back to the driveway, redirected the water flow during and after rains and lay down bricks in low lying areas. She also put in a drain pipe for water run off, cleaned mold off porch rafters, trimmed bushes and trees, raked leaves and removed a wasp nest. Nancy expressed appreciation and gratitude when Bob helped her complete some of these projects.
She was surprised at the frequency of Bob's negativity. When Nancy showed Bob he became defensive. “Why don't you just do the the projects? You don't need to tell me!” He said walking away.
Nancy wondered what was going on. Did Bob's negativity relate only to house and yard maintenance? Perhaps he felt this is his domain and needs to control when, where, how and who does the project. Why can't Bob give her recognition, appreciation, support and validating? Could he feel the project is not his priority and feels pressure? Since he admits to procrastination or may not want to do the job he feels guilt. Or he's not interested, and thinks it has no value. If Bob has difficulty relating to her needs he may be unable to take pride in her work, efforts and accomplishments. This would also explain why he has difficulty expressing gratitude or saying “thank you.” It's also possible Bob wants to be the hero of the household and the center of attention.
Nancy remembered with gratitude all the things Bob has done around the house. Maintaining cars, cutting grass, fixing plumbing and electrical problems, building a deck and cover for the hot tub, cutting down and removing trees, hauling gravel for the driveway in a dump truck, fixing the skylight and some roof shingles, planting new flower beds, fixing and replacing home appliances, building a wall in front of the house, a clothes line, bird houses, a chicken coop and dog enclosure and demolished the chicken coop.
The following day Bob and Nancy talked again. Nancy asked Bob, “On a scale of 1-10 how do I rate in relation to expressing my appreciation and validation about your accomplishments? ” Bob thought a moment, “You're a ten.”
“You're a two on my scale,” Nancy said sadly.
“I'll have to work on that!” Bob said taking Nancy's hand, “I did not realize I was hurting you. I'm sorry.”
Nancy cried and said, “I accept your apology. Thank you. I'm sorry for my grumpiness.”