Rural Roots February 24, 2002
It is frustrating when you try to fix something and can't. If you try to fix an old set of taps, and no matter what you do, can't stop the leak, several things may happen.
You may become irritated, not just with the taps, but with both things and people around you. You may become stubborn, and not quit when you should. You may become aggressive with the wrench, break a pipe and end up with a worse problem. You may become verbally or emotionally aggressive with those around you, and seriously harm your relationships with them.
The above are Velcro responses, as I described in last week's column. You cling onto something. You just won't let go of it, despite the fact that you're not getting anywhere with it. A Teflon approach is to accept that the problem is more difficult than you anticipated, and likely can't be solved right away. A leak can be lived with, although it will increase your water bill. It's an inconvenience. You know you have to get at it. But before you get yourself up to your elbows in an full disassembled sink and taps, you need to do some research. Check out if the repair is simple, or complex. If it is complex, new taps may be a much better investment in the long run. You also need to take an inventory of your own skills and abilities. In the long run it may be best to call in a plumber and save wear and tear on your nerves, your relationship, or even your wallet.
A Velcro approach is to grab onto the problem, and become determined you are not going to be beaten by a stupid tap. The more you think like that, the more stubborn you become, and the bigger your problem becomes. You may take out your anger on the taps, themselves, with abusive words, or with aggression. You may damage the taps, but you certainly reduce your ability to focus calmly on the difficult task at hand. Losing patience and perhaps breaking a pipe or tap creates a more serious and costly problem. Too often, you take out your anger on those around you, causing serious damage, which may not show up until it is too late to repair a relationship.
Most people, especially men, are fixers. When something is broken, they want fix it. They want to make it right again. Men try to be fixers in relationships as well. When they make a mistake, they often deny it, and try to make excuses. They don't want to be seen as having made a mistake. It is as if they somehow were taught that men have to be perfect and never make mistakes. In the men's program I used to run, this is seen as denying, minimizing and blaming. Everyone, men in particular, need to wake up to the fact that what usually needs fixing around them is themselves, their attitudes, thoughts, beliefs and reactions, not taps or other people.