I Wish I Would Keep My Word

Here is something, like most of my less desirable behaviors, that I am not proud of.  It's something I'm not even entirely motivated to work on, yet it bothers me on some level.

I am not very good at keeping commitments.  For example, my boyfriend and I both agreed - mutually - that he would take on a bit more of the financial burden as I work only part-time, and to make up for it a bit, I would keep the house nice and cook.

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But, sometimes, I "don't feel like it," and I don't keep my end of the bargain.  I hadn't really considered it before today, but I can't tell you how outraged and freaked out I would be if he only paid the utility bill or his share of the rent when he "felt like it." Yet, some part of me thinks it's perfectly okay to keep or not keep commitments based on how I feel.

The "adult who wants to be healthy" part of me frowns on the rebellious and selfish side that shows up and parks her butt on the couch, eating ice cream and watching reality tv while the sink is full and the rugs show tons of cat hair, but more often than not, the latter part wins. (Perhaps she is the teen who wishes she could now have someone take care of her once in a while.)

As I was cleaning up the pans and utensils I used to cook dinner tonight, I did it begrudgingly.  Essentially, I had an attitude. I thought about leaving the big mess and hoping he'd read my mind that I wished he would do the dishes after I had worked so hard on the meal.

But then I remembered the deal. I remembered the commitment.  It flashed me back to a time in college when I was living with a friend who had a young son and an (emotionally and sometimes physically) abusive husband.  The deal was I could sleep on their couch and join them for meals if I helped take care of their son and washed the dishes throughout the day.

I remember not keeping my commitment then, either.  It wan't paranoia - her husband, who didn't like me, especially when I stood up for my friend when he would become abusive - purposefully used numerous glasses, plates, and utensils throughout the day and invited his friends to do the same, telling them that I would do them. (My boyfriend does NOT do this, by the way.)

It didn't matter to my friend when she came home from a long day at school and work why there was a pile of dishes in the sink.  In an attempt to "show him" (her husband), I hurt her by ignoring the commitment that I made.  I was passive aggressive instead of dealing with the issue head on, though I'm sure you can understand some of my hesitation with this particular guy.

It didn't feel good then, and it doesn't feel good now. I'm not beating myself up over it...just noticing.  I also practiced the DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) skill of Opposite Action.  Even though I felt like not doing the dishes, I did them anyway. And, you know what?  I'm sure I feel a lot better than I would have had I not.

The dish issue, though, is just a snapshot of a larger issue in my life - the difficulty I have around keeping commitments...essentially around keeping my word.  It bothers me that this doesn't mean more to me or that I don't appreciate the consequences as much as I should.

Thank you for reading.
More Soon.


  1. I can definitely relate to this one.. Although it's a bit different, I really struggle with keeping commitments to see people or to turn up on time to see them.

    It's not that I don't want to, and I almost always feel better after seeing a friend than I would have felt if I didn't, but I'm always trying to wriggle out of things.

    Thanks for writing. Learning about your experiences helps me to better understand my own and also makes me realise I'm not the only one :o)

    1. Thank you so much for sharing! What's funny is, I almost also included the very thing you spoke about. I experience that as well. You're definitely not alone. Hugs! ♥

  2. I can relate. I have a hard time comitting to things because of this and when I do I beat myself up for it because I know I'm prob going to bail. I've noticed I do a lot of avoiding situations as well and not just situations where there is the possibility of a bad outcome, things I actually want to do are also included.I wonder about why that is,any ideas?

    1. I also avoid lots of situations that involve commitments because I am tired of letting people down and then feeling crappy about it. I am not really sure why we do this -- it could be a fear of rejection. You know how some people break up with their partner in anticipation that they are going to be dumped? It may be similar...avoiding a situation that involves commitment before you have a chance to "mess it up" and then get rejected by the other person. Just a guess. I need to explore it more deeply, and, of course, it will be different from person to person. Thank you for sharing. ♥

    2. Thanks for sharing <3 and capturing the subject so well.

      Struggle, struggle, decide.....no don't decide...pressure, pressure......make a decision...IDK what to do so just do something...........that was a bad choice.......oh well *seek comfort and retreat*

  3. I can relate, I have stopped making promises to people that i will do things. More like arranging to meet up than doing to washing up. I hate letting people down but sometimes it can not be helped.

    1. I can definitely relate to arranging to meet up and then not following through. For me, the dishes are just a microcosm - a very small living example - of many of the other areas in my life. I feel bad letting others down, yet it's lonely not reaching out or accepting others' attempts to connect.

  4. Hi there! I'm new to your blog.
    I can completely relate to this post. My husband is the only one that currently works and we have a similar arrangement. It's kind of unspoken, but come on, if I'm the one that's home during the day I should be taking care of the house. I keep up my end of things about 60%... But I often find myself stuck walking from room to room - with a billion things to do - but just wandering putting things off. Or I'll turn on the tv and sit there for hours and hours watching BGC or American Justice. Feeling guilty the entire time.... And then when husband gets home and sees the mess, he won't say anything, but I can see the exasperation in his eyes. I'll then get mad at him if he tries to clean anything up, assuming he is passively aggressively telling me I'm lazy. **sigh**

    1. Hi, and welcome to my blog. :) Oh my goodness -- I do the SAME thing -- if my boyfriend tries to clear something, I also think it's a dig about how I am lazy and not keeping my end of the bargain. In reality, most likely, they are just trying to help clean up the mess, but it's our own guilty consciences that turn things around. That's just my opinion and may only be true in my case. I get lost on the internet and tv as well. Although, I find then if I PUSH myself to do the house work, I do feel very good about it afterward. Do you?

    2. Thank you so much for the welcome! I was very happy to find your blog as I only just recently starting trying to connect with a support community, and I can relate to many, many of your posts.

      Our poor significant others always bear the brunt, don't they? And they try so hard, poor guys.
      Once I actually do the push through I feel like a freaking superhero. But for some reason if I actually finish the work in a timely fashion the way I'm supposed to, I want him to notice it and give me kudos for it. Seems very juvenile in hindsight - but almost always is the case. But yes, I feel great if I push through it. I just notice that I'm starting to lack that steely nerve that says "push dammit' more and more the older I get. And that worries me. I need to look into DBT - I think I'll do some research on that today. My therapist has mentioned 'mindfulness' and I think that might be a part of it.



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