Practical Psychology

Case Study 1: “I Feel (You Are A Weiner)” Messages

Woman: You know all those flattened cardboard boxes behind the trash can?

Man: Uh huh.

Woman: Those are trash, too. I flatten the small boxes so then you can put them in another bigger box and take them out to the curb when you take out the garbage each week.

Man: Mmm.

Woman: Because, you know, those boxes have been there for four weeks now.

Man: Oh.

Woman: And they are trash. I just don’t put them in the trash can because why put cardboard in a plastic garbage bag?


Woman: Are you listening to me?

Man: Hmm?

Woman: Because sometimes I feel like no one listens to me.

Man: Yes…I was listening.

Woman: And when no one listens to me, I begin to feel powerless.

Man: Yes.

Woman: I start to feel…you know…like no one takes me seriously.

Man: I hear you.

Woman: I don’t feel respected.

Man: I’m listening.

Woman: What did I say?


Woman: Sigh. Okay, all those flattened cardboard boxes. See them?

Man: Mmm-hmm.

Woman: All those cereal boxes and oatmeal boxes and granola bar boxes?

Man: Yes.

Woman: Those are trash.

Man: Okay.

Woman: So, when you take out the trash tonight, put them in a bigger box.

Man: Oh.

Woman: You know, like when you buy a case of beer and then there is the big empty box? Just fill that beer box with the smaller boxes, and then put it out by the curb, and I will feel happy.


Woman: So, you got it?

Man: Yes.

You are hearing what I am telling you? I still don’t feel as if I’m being heard. I feel frustrated when people don’t listen to what I’m saying.

Yes, I am hearing what you are telling me.

Woman: Good.

Man: You told me to buy more beer.


Case Study 2: Haim Ginott Can Bite Me

8-year-old Child: I can’t find my shoes!

Child: Mommy! I SAID I can't FIND my SHOES!

Empathetic Mother: I hear how frustrated you are, Honey.


Mother: I don’t know. The rule is that our shoes should be in the shoe bin or in our bedrooms. If your shoes are not in your room or in the shoe bin, I don’t know where they are.


Mother: I hear how angry you are, Darling.




Mother: Boy, I can really hear how upset you are, Sweetie.

WHHHHAAAAHHH! sob! WHHHAAAAHHHH! sob! sob! WHHH--hhu!-huh-hu!-hu---Whhu!---hu-hu!--!

Mother: Okay, I hear you hyperventilating.


Mother: It’s okay. You’ll find your shoes and I will drive you to school.

Child: Buh--but--bu-but everyone--ry--whuh--hu--

Mother: You need to breath. “Everyone” what?

Child: Everyone will st--sttt-st-stare at mmm-huh!--h!-huh!--me. When I wwwww--wwwalk in the rrrr-rrroom….

Mother: I hear how worried you are. It will be okay. Just find your shoes, and I will drive you to school.


Mother: Okay, you need to calm down.



Child: H--huh--hh--hh--

Mother: YOU need to GRAB a PIECE of PERSPECTIVE here!

Child: Sniffle!

Mother: We’re talking about a missed bus and a few of your friends looking at you as you walk into your classroom! You need to GET a GRIP!

Child: Snoof. Snurffle.

Mother: I mean, right now there are kids wandering around barefoot through sewage in the alleys of Kibera. Right now, some little girl in Iraq wishes she could go to school at all if it weren’t so dangerous to walk outside her house. Right now, there’s another little girl waiting in an emergency room about to get a shot or have stitches put in! And your big problem this morning is finding one of your five pairs of comfy shoes and then riding to school in a comfy seat while listening to your favorite music, and then walking into your warm, well-lit classroom without first having to scrape poop and dead rats off your feet or holding your backpack over your head to deflect shrapnel!

Child: Snurf.

Mother: So, you know…chill out. Just a few degrees, okay?

Child: Okay, Mommy.

Mother: A little perspective, right?

Child: Right, Mommy.

Mother: Life is good.

Child: Life is good.

Mother: Good. Give me a hug and let’s find your shoes.

Child: Mommy?

Mother: Yes?

Child: Can I be just a little upset that my hair looks poofy in the front?

Mother: Of course, Dearest. Even people in Kibera have bad hair days.


S said...

These are hysterical. I thought it couldn't get funnier after the first piece, and then it did!

I find myself saying to my husband far too frequently, "What did I just say to you? WHAT DID I JUST SAY TO YOU?" And it's clear that he has neither heard my original statement nor my frantic attempts at reassurance. And he takes guesses, as did your guy, though the results are less comical than mean...

Thanks for the funniness.

Anonymous said...

Nobody listens to me either, but I can't make it anywhere near as funny as you can. And I'm guessing that most guys think the answer is "Buy more beer."

But I'm jealous that your garbage - even a portion of it - is taken out. Usually I hear the truck rumble past and realize that Kyle did NOT take it out. Not so bad in January, but brutal in August.

karengreeners said...

hey, when were you talking to my husband?

(can't you recycle the boxes?) said...

We can bring cardboard to our township cardboard dumpster, but I'm not sure whether that's recycled or just sent to a carboard-specific graveyard.

Usually, I reuse some for art projects and mailing. I should find out more about the recycling. For now, I figure that at least not encasing it in plastic is better than nothing. Don't rat on me to Al Gore. ;-)

Unknown said...

I check back for the first time and whoa!
Gut laughs!
With that hint of yonkogirl poignancy.
I read the missing shoes ALOUD to my wife and six year old son. We all laughed at different times and had a family moment. Are you bound and published yet?
My wife yelled, "Bookmark her for me!"
No higher honor.

Anonymous said...

The first place our kids look for shoes is NEVER in the closet. Every other place is an option...except for the one place they should be.

Anonymous said...

I have SUCH a girlcrush on you.

Debbie said...

*dares mamatulip to a fight*

I saw her first, MT.

Julie Pippert said...

I'm so vain, I bet I think this blog post is about me, don't I don't I.

But you're strumming my pain with your fingers, singing my life with your words...killing me softly with your blog...


Too hilarious!

I have actually, regarding food, told my children, "You know what? You know WHAT?!?! There are children in Africa who are TOO TIRED and TOO HUNGRY to whine! And when they get food, they cry REAL TEARS of JOY, joyous gratitude that they got any food at all. So suck it up sisters and EAT WHAT I SERVED."

Elaine and Adele would be so proud.

Julie Pippert said...

Jozet, don't feel too bad. I have to get past the air force first to recycle around here. Color me sucky but some weeks I'm just too ready to have it gone, without me having to load up the car and explain myself to Homeland Security again. Just to recycle.

I think they are deliberately giving people they think might be Al Gore supporters---such as people who go to all that trouble to recycle---extra shit.

steph said...

love it. as a teacher and soon-to-be wife, i feel, hear, your pain.

Her Bad Mother said...

Bad hair is just cause for screeching, ALWAYS.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

I've yelled at my oldest that there are children who sleep in their CARS or on the STREET or in a cardboard BOX so she sould just stay the hell in her bed at night and be HAPPY! Never, ever works.

The book cover is brilliant. Oh, and I make my husband repeat what I've said as well. Drives me batty.

Mom101 said...

So your point that some men actually take out the garbage? Because then, wow, where can I get one of those?

nadzent said...

Ummm...when were you here? I am so embarassed that you saw that pile of cardboard boxes (cereal, baby cereal, oatmeal, granola bars...) in my kitchen. And that big box from the case of Yuengling (OK, I know I spelled it wrong all you Skyl'countyers). It is always there. Never goes out with the RECYCLING - yes, in Connecticut we do recycle right along with the garbage. AS a matter of fact, if they find a recyclable item mixed in with your garbage they give you a ticket and a fine....

But really, when were you here?

Kelly said...

Dang, I'm halfway through Between Parent and Child.

Your post seriously made me think about chucking it! said...

Actually, I give my seal of approval to anything written by Faber and Mazlish. They are goddesses. The Siblings Without Rivalry book is a MUST HAVE. Really.

I just forget to do my daily affirmations and verse readings.

Bon said...

damn. read the first post and thought "how the heck did this woman get into my house?"

read the second and realized that i'm not sure i WANT my ten-month old to start talking.

found you through the ROFL awards and am duly impressed...great writing. depressing, in its truthfulness, but great. :)

Anonymous said...

You talk funny long time! Me laugh without stopping.

Anonymous said...

this is directed towards my wife Nadzent, who doesn't know how good she has it. I'm going to go out of my way to NOT listen to her even more.

S said...

Umm, this is embarrassing, because you probably don't know me from Adam, but I've tagged you for a meme; instructions are on my site. I will slouch away now -- I'm good at that.

Anonymous said...

I feel sad when I haven't visited your blog for awhile. I feel happy that you wrote "Practical Psychology." I hear you venting your frustration in a hilarious and non-threatening way. I feel validated when I see that I am not the only one whose kids can't find a darned thing...

gingajoy said...

Oh Lord. My husband is frequently asking me "what did I just say?" as I look up from "just checking my email."

Amanda said...

WHen BF talks about work/computers, I do the same thing... MmmHmm. Yep. Uh-huh. Gotcha. And he's like, did you absorb a single thing I just said?

I always smile then, and ask him if he would rather make out than talk PCs.

I wish I could tell you the not finding shoes thing gets better with age.... but I lost my shoes two weeks ago and had virtually the same conversation. Sigh.

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