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The true cautionary tale of Mrs Pretty

Mrs Pretty’s fateful Christmas

Once upon a time – in 1967, to be exact: it’s a true story – Mrs Pretty was preparing the Christmas dinner and feeling hard done by.

But it wasn’t just that the pressures of producing the ‘meal of the year’ that were getting to her. It was that Mr Pretty had his feet up in front of the television, laughing loudly at Norman Wisdom.

Feeling resentful, she shouted at him to stop.

He didn’t.

Angrily, she shouted again. He took no notice.

Furious by now, she marched through to the sitting room and attacked him with her carving knife.

She spent the rest of her Christmas in the cells of Godalming Police Station on a charge of murder.

Now I’m speculating here, but I imagine that Mrs Pretty’s back-story included a long history of seeing herself as the hard-done-by wife with a good-for-nothing, layabout husband, and that her dissatisfaction culminated in her eruption on Christmas Day 1967 when she was feeling particularly stressed and resentful.

I’m also imagining that Mrs Pretty lacked a particularly significant skill: the ability to ask for help – and to ask in a way that would get people to say ‘Yes’ and mean it. In Nonviolent Communcation terminology, she didn’t know how to make a request.

And if you sometimes want people to read your mind and know what you want without you having to ask, Nonviolent Communication provides the antidote. Top yourself up with a strong dose of courage, clarity, commitment and connection. It won’t run out of batteries on Boxing Day.