“Get Off My Back” CrankaTsuris(™)


“Get Off My Back” CrankaTsuris(™)

“Get Off My Back” CrankaTsuris(™)

“Get off My BacK” CrankaTsuris is one of the most painful types of CrankaTsuris.  Your parents are on your back.  Your siblings are on your back.  Your teachers are on your back.  Your boss is on your back.  Even your pets can be on your back!  Meow!!!!

You get one person off of your back, and another three glom right on. They are like bugs and they are always multiplying.

The person handing out the CrankaTsuris is not having much fun either.  These people know they sound like a broken record, but they keep trying as after one thousand tries, the ears on the receiving end miraculously open up.

Both people involved are trying to exert their power over the other and both ends up feeling powerless.  There may be guilt on both sides for being unable to satisfy the other.   There is a lot of frustration, and hurt feelings. Nerves are shredded, and relationships are frayed.

So, this article will discuss how you can minimize or eliminate “Get off My Back” CrankaTsuris.  But, before I do, I have to tell a story of me growing up that ultimately provides the key to unlocking this problem.

Like many other families, when the Olympics came around every four years, we were glued to the television set.  And whenever there was a performance that was really special, my parents would give me their special commentary.

In 1976, at the Summer olympic in Montreal, Nadia Comaneci, a Romanian National, was the first gymnast to be awarded a perfect score of 10.0 at the Olympic Games.  She was a crowd favorite and the commentators were in awe. My father, who is Romanian, saw every competition she was in, and his comment to me?

“Why can’t you do gymnastics like that?” (Emphasis on the “you”.  It is the shortest word, but saying it lasts longer than the rest of the sentence.)

in the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, there was Torvill & Dean; brilliant British ice dancers.  They were electric.  The crowd loved them.  The commentators described their performance as one for the ages, and something they never saw before.

My parents’ comment?

“Why can’t you skate like that?” (More emphasis on the “you.”)

Of course, it did not matter that, growing up in the Bronx, I was not exactly taken from skating lessons to a gymnastic class.  In fact, I skated only once very badly, and never did any gymnastics.  And I was a bit pudgy in the middle.

By the way, we also watched “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.”  I will only say one word about that.  Liberace.

But, in their mind, that did not matter.  I should have been winning gold medals in ice skating in the winter, and gymnastics in the summer, just like all the other kids in the neighborhood, playing the piano we did not own, while studying to be a world-class surgeon who one day will find the cure for cancer.

I do not fault my parents for having these expectations.   It was expected.  This was because we were too poor to take a beach vacation.  Instead, my parents, like everyone else in the neighborhood, went to the back of the apartment building to sit on the bench.  They took a bench vacation.

And, on the bench, all the parents would announce their child’s accomplishments, and one by one, they all had to outdo the other.  After the bench meetings, all the parents went up to tell what fabulous schools their kids got accepted to and the wonderful jobs they all got, and why didn’t we get into the same fabulous schools and land the same wonderful jobs.  Of course, with the other parents, they got to complain how we were the ones who won the lottery of life.

It made me wish we all just lived in Nepal at the foot of Mount Everest, and the parents in the nearby village would just have this conversation, of course, sitting on the bench in Nepal.

“So, Sophie!  How is your son doing?”

“He is a sherpa.”  Esther replied.  “And your son? ”

“He is a sherpa, too.”  Sophie explained.

Esther then turned to Ruthie.  “And what is your son up to?”

Ruthie exclaimed proudly, “He is a sherpa too, but he also wrote a major concerto that will be performed in Carnegie Hall by the New York Philharmonic.  I tell you.  I can’t stop kvelling!!”

There is always one in the crowd.

The point of telling this story is that there are a lot of unrealistic expectations out there.  So, the focus should be for  people with parental or spousal relationships to focus on the realistic expectations.

What are they?  It should be figured out by both parties writing down what are the realistic expectations they have for the other, and also, the realistic expectations they believe that the other person should have for them.

Parents will love this.  My child should have a realistic expectation that I provide, food, clothing and shelter.  The child will write that “I have a realistic expectation that my parents provide food, clothing and shelter.”  So, there is a match.

Now, it is important that the child should write the realistic expectations that his or her parents should have for them.

Now, they can write that “there should be no expectations of me because my existence on this planet is enough, and by the way, there only realistic expectations for me is that I will play computer games on my iPhone.”

Now, that could happen.  But, the rule should be we provide for each other.  We help each other.  We are a team.  Also, the stated purpose is to stop the destructive cycle of “Get off My Back” CrankaTsuris.  Both sides have to give a bit.

Here is another great example.

“I have a realistic expectation to be treated like an adult.”

“I have a realistic expectation that you act like an adult.’

“And then, I have the realistic expectation that I will treat you like an adult.”

Now, while that is a perfect example, it may be a bit being too smart, and not taken the right way.  So, turn this around.

“I want you to have a realistic expectation to be treated like an adult.  I am happy that this is an expectation of yours.  I have to be clear on my realistic expectations so this expectation can be met.”

The objectives here are both honesty and understanding.  We are showing what we are each saying to the other.

Also, it is important to acknowledge appreciation when realistic expectations are met.  I have a realistic expectation that you – fill in the blank – and you have been great and I appreciate that you have met that expectation.  That should also be shared, going both ways.

What you will also find is that one person may try to bargain.  “I do not have a realistic expectation that I will be given a trip, a car, a fancy dress.  But…if I do something or work towards something that may be beyond something that you have a realistic expectation of me doing, can I then be able to change my reasonable expectation of what I can expect?”

The answer could be “yes.”  Let’s try to go beyond our reasonable expectations on both sides.

The point of this exercise is that each side is being honest as to what they see as their role, and how they see your role.  You may agree or you may not.  Do not fight over it. If the person you are working through this cannot meet the expectations that you see as reasonable, ask what can be done to make it easier.  Ask if they can try, and say it is okay to fail just because there was a try.  Say how much you would really respect them more if they tried and failed because it is scary to try knowing you may not succeed.

Plan on a way going forward.  Now, that the “reasonable expectations” have been laid out, agree to gently check in every so often to see how they are doing, and whether any adjustments should be made.

Once this has been practiced a few times, you have succeeded in getting rid of “Get off My Back” CrankaTsuris, and everyone is coming in through the front.

“So we learned to be careful not to express our inner TyrantoCrankaTsuris or TyrantoKvetchaTsuris too often.  Just the right amount to keep the planet happy and not too cranky.”

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