361 The Key

I was waiting for her to change, not realizing that my very attitude made that impossible.

(SA 133)

She did it again. Something of hers is lost and the tone of her voice implies it is my fault. I feel 10 years old and I hear a parent's voice accusing me of losing something. Sweat, heart rate, and anxiety all increase.

She finds the missing object saying, "Oh, there it is." There being where she sits at night. Her voice is so calm and my head is near splitting with anger. I retreat before I say any amends-requiring words.

I ask myself why I am angry. The Program advises me to write an inventory as close to the action as possible and I begin to write. As the words flow, my brain sees my fault. I had increased the importance of this incident beyond rationality. She was calm because she kept it right-sized. I was furious because the inflated value drove me to play old memories of feeling inadequate and guilty.

I cannot change my wife, but I can change how I react to her. I need to heed the words I heard at a couples’ meeting: "I listen to my spouse, then I choose how I will respond." After digesting my inventory, I slept soundly that night and my wife and I were more chatty and close the next morning. The White Book is right: "I'm the key." (SA 133)

Higher Power, thank you for this simple program and for your help reminding me to work it.