>More hits for Chris Christie…

Apparently, we can treat each other like crap as long as we’re all wearing our grown-up undies. As Chris Christie gets big press for calling a journalist an “idiot” and “stupid”, four 7th-graders were suspended from school for similar behavior. How do you (rightfully) punish the 7th-graders for bullying, when that the big guy with the microphone keeps getting celebrated for pushing people around?!

The name-calling, the generalizing – it gets us nowhere; how many times have I slowed someone down in a therapy session to explain what they actually meant when they called their partner an ‘a**hole’? Generalizations like, “You never do anything around here…” tell us nothing about what to do next, and eventually spiral down into the vortex known as the endless argument.

This was a great opportunity to demonstrate effective limit-setting,( i.e. ‘I was clear about the purpose of this conference; I am not going to answer that question at this time.’) But good boundaries don’t really get you 1.1 million hits on YouTube. What’s wrong with Chris Christie’s behavior is that it sends a message to all of us about what’s acceptable treatment of others; it makes it just a liiiiitle less surprising when your partner comes home and calls you an idiot, or makes you feel stupid. And when most of the talking heads on the news laugh it off, it feels a liiiitle less justified to say something to your partner (i.e. make a big deal) about how it hurts you.

Maybe after that talk with the kids, about showing a certain level of respect for everyone, including the bus monitor and the governor of New Jersey, maybe the next talk is with ourselves, about how we treat others, every day. Are you kinder to the guy at Starbuck’s than your partner? (Which is worse?)

Let’s start a dialogue with ourselves and each other about ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and other respectful ways to treat ourselves, our partners, and the guy who pumps your gas; let’s engage in conversations about how we want to treat the other, and how we want to be treated…

…if it doesn’t work, you can always have security toss your partner out of the press conference.


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