Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Perkinese vs. Heilpernese

Two families, two languages.
Both VERY different from each other!
The same words come out of people’s mouths but they mean completely different things when they do. I often feel like I’m back in Japanese class when trying to understand what the Heilpern’s are saying to each other and to me.
“I’m not mad”---(Heilpernese)… “I am mad”- this is your 5 second warning.
“I’m not mad”---(Perkinese)…...”I am not mad” or “I haven’t decided how I want to discuss this issue, so I’ll get back to you when I have.”

The different ways they try and resolve conflict (by “they” I mean comparing the two families).
The Perkins demand that the different parties have a logical reason to be upset and for you to know exactly what you want to have happen to conclude the disagreement. If you can’t meet those requirements then come back later when you can.
The Heilpern’s (from what I have observed) NEED to have (what I call) an “emotional regurgitation” at the time of the irritant.
This caused many problems with Jason and me in the beginning of our relationship.
He would say things that had nothing to do with what we were talking about , which would confuse me and make me more upset- and when I’m upset it interferes with the “logical format” which means I need to come back later. This upset him because he needed to talk about it NOW, which would cause my brain to freeze up and I wouldn’t be able to respond to my own name let alone an argument.- I have mentioned this to several sisters and they have all experienced the same reaction to situations like this, so I am not alone.

We have come up with an arrangement that works for us – which is, he sends me an email detailing why he is upset, I have three days to think about it and respond. He gets to have his “emotional regurgitation” and I get to “think about it- then respond”.
Win, Win.

The thing is, is that his family does not follow this wonderful plan of ours, so I still have to become fluent in Heilpernese (or at least conversational).
This is difficult, when I feel like Jason is being attacked- one of the few things that are unforgivable in my family- attacking someone we love. But since it is his family and he is rather attached to them, I can’t respond the way I normally would, which is undying loathing (One of my favorite songs is from the Broadway play Wicked titled “What is this feeling”).
This means I have to mix the two languages into something we can both understand AND get a result that I am happy with.
Young Women’s’ never had a lesson on this!


Matthew said...

It certainly took a while for Mary Ann and I to reconcile our different communication styles. Fortunately, we were very far away from both our families at the time, so we didn't have that added complexity.

Good luck!

Dad said...

Good comments, I am entering this comment to see if I actually have a blogger address. Dad