"In one mile turn left at North Avenue. Then keep left." my GPS ordered.
Her voice is calm and steady, full of authority. I usually do what she says. Sometimes I want to do it my way. I turn left when she says turn right.
I can hear the annoyance in her voice. At first, I thought she was just trying to help. Then I decided she is a bit bossy. A lot of bossy people get annoyed when you don't do what they say. Sometimes she gets passive aggressive and gives me bad instructions.
"Make a U-turn. Then keep left."
Make a U-turn; where? It's a divided highway.
"Recalculating, recalculating. Proceed 5 miles. Then turn right on Vincent Street."
She's stubborn too. She repeats herself.
"In one mile, turn right at Vincent Street."
Then I realized what the problem was. She has an anxiety disorder. She is afraid we're going to get lost. Calm down, I tell her. We'll get there. Did I mention that she doesn't listen to me?
The worst thing is that she never raises her voice. She has this calmness vibe going. Like she is too cool to get upset. She's so in control, but I know what she is feeling. She doesn't trust me.
Some of my friends think I'm projecting. They say she's just a computer program and has no feelings. Sure they can say that. They don't have to live with her backseat driving.
I know when she's mad at me. She waits until I'm in a hurry and all I get is this snippy "Acquiring Satellites" message.
And narcissistic, not a shred of empathy. Once in a while, I would like to hear:
"Oh, Chuck, I see you're asserting your independence today. Going your own way. I support that."
But no, she won't let up. I think she likes me being dependent on her. My best friend says this is not a healthy relationship. I know. She makes me crazy.
But I feel so lost without her.
A different perspective
Have you ever expected someone to give you something they aren't capable of giving? Then you make them the bad guy. Odd how many relationship problems that causes.
THE most common problem in relationships: expectations.
Charles Hughes MA, LCPC, DCC, is an Oak Park therapist.