“My husband, never thanks me for what I do!” Mona said tearfully, “But, He’s full of thanks for any one else who helps him with his computer or TV, gives a gift, card or makes a pie. I’ve waited on Andy hand and foot for over 50 years, and I just tire of never hearing thank-you. And he never even thanked me for taking care of his parents in our home for years until they passed on.”
Notebook: Unfulfilled expectations open the door to emotional cancer. The remedy?
Step 1: Lower expectations to zero to stop the resentment cancer allowing restoration and sweetening of the relationship to begin.
Step 2: Acknowledge the situation--fifty percent of solving any problem. Understand the God-designed personality of the thank-less recipient, and his/her preferences compared to the personality design of the caregiver with her/his designed preferences.
In the example above, Andy, an INTP—is Introverted, iNtuitive, Thinking and sPontaneous; The hurting mate ESFP—is Extroverted, Sensing, Feeling and Spontaneous. So, right off you can see that they only have the sPontaneity preference in common which indicates that neither of them likes to give orders, take orders, be taken for granted or to be tied down. They also play first, then work. But they like to have fun!.
Andy, INTP prefers brief comments—the less the better, speaking mostly in a lecturing sort of way on something dear to his or her mind like how some involved technology works. Otherwise, he will say little, unless he is hungry or hurting. Mona, ESFP, prefers the process of conversation mostly about people, physical possessions or amusing situations is never going to hear as much from the INTP as she desires.
But their primary problem is opposite preferences in decision making: Andy prefers making Head-Logic (Thinking) decisions where Mona prefers making Heart-Logic (Feeling) decisions. Notebook: Thinkers want trust and respect; Feelers want approval, affirmation, affection, acceptance, and I might add thanks, for what they do or give. Thinkers give themselves approval so they do not expect or need approval from others. Reminder: It’s difficult to give what you don’t need. On the other hand, Feelers, knowing they are loved still need to appreciated. Unless they hear the words of approval over and over again, including thanks there is no catapult for repeating their kind and sacrificial actions.
In the case above, Andy, the thankless thinker, is designed that way but his father displayed the same behavior toward Andy’s mother which reinforced his verbally thankless example to their children. Thinkers hearing their parents thank each other regularly are more likely to offer thanks and appreciation.
Andy assumed his original unwritten mutual agreement--that he financially support his wife and family in exchange for her cleaning, cooking, and childcare--was still intact. So, in his way of thinking, neither owed the other any thank yous. However, those who come from the outside bearing gifts and assistance whom he doesn’t support financially are due his thank yous. Mona appreciated this bit of insight.
So, how can emotionally-worn-to-a-frazzle-Mona come to terms with Andy’s lack of apparent appreciation?
Step 3: When you need to hear something from your mate, child or good friend, say so: “I would like to hear a thank you”, “I do these things because I love you, but I’d like to hear you say thank you now and then.“ When the thinker responds with “You know I love you”, or “I do appreciate your meals and doing my laundry”, it will be a genuine response. Just be aware that everyone doesn’t easily express appreciation verbally. Sometimes thinkers will say “I’m here, aren’t I?” “I ate all of it”, etc.
Andy had no idea Mona was being hurt by his appreciative thanks given to others.
To celebrate Thanksgiving season, thank God for the opportunity to give; write your own hard copy gratitude-list of people who contribute to your well being--family, friends, class mates, church and/or synagogue friends and neighbors. Then express your appreciation verbally, by note, gifts, smile, hugs or assistance. Many scriptures speak of being thankful, but I Thess. 5:18 is my favorite “In Everything give thanks.” Embrace the year-long blessing of Thanks-Living.