Once a Neumann, always a Neumann

My youngest sister Elizabeth was just re-Neumannized a couple weeks back. For those outside the family, it means her divorce was final. She was only outside the fold for about 18 months, and while some of that time was good, her ex-husband managed to erase it all with a couple months of sheer stupidity and immaturity. But enough about him, because this posting is certainly not about rehashing his negativity. We Neumann’s carry enough of our own without outside interference; particularly if that fat interference is wearing a green and gold Packer jersey. Geez…there I go again. Let it go.

Anyway, the whole divorce thing got me thinking about what it is like to actually try and live and be happy with a Neumann. Don’t get me wrong, I find us to be terribly entertaining and quite fabulous. I also find us to be judgemental and a bit mean. Most of the men in our family tend to think they are always right and are willing to bully you into agreeing. The women just know they are right and will tell you so until your ears bleed. Throw in a lot of hugs, tons of talking at high decibels, enough alcohol to drown yourself and a small village, a couple playful (depending on your pain tolerance) punches, and you have a typical Saturday get-together. Damn I miss my family. Some may decide that we are a dysfunctional bunch; I just believe we are operating on a higher self-esteem platform. Trust me, if you don’t accept and relish in your flaws, this group will eat you alive. Have I mentioned that I miss it often?

Coincidentally I am trying to put together a team-building exercise for my work “family” that includes a DISC personality/behavioral assessment. In doing so, the facilitator gave me a modified version that evaluates your family relationships. (I have got to get the Neumann’s to take this test.)

I thought it would be interesting to see how Michael and relate to each other, now that we are living together every day. (As of this writing, he has not yet completed the assessment. This is important, and I encourage him to read my “Checklist for Communicating with Sarah section of my profile.)

Just in case you don’t believe in the power of the standardized behavior assessment, let me share a few surprising tidbits of mine. Keep in mind that this is how I behave at home, with my loved ones. Hmmmm…

  • You are very quick in both thought and action and maybe too quick for some family members.
  • You tend to be impatient and faultfinding with those who do not act as quickly as you.
  • You strongly believe in your own decisions and sometimes go out of the way to persuade others to the fact that you are correct.
  • You place a high value on efficiency, determination and persistence in both yourself and other family members.

Here is an abbreviated CHECKLIST FOR COMMUNICATING WITH SARAH (fits a few other Neumann’s that I know as well)

  • Offer special, immediate and extra incentives.
  • Read the body language – look for impatience or disapproval.
  • Talk about her, her goals and opinions she finds stimulating.
  • Don’t ramble on, or waste her time.
  • Don’t talk down to her.
  • Don’t waste time trying to be impersonal, judgmental, or too task-oriented.
  • Don’t forget or lose things; be disorganized or messy; confuse or distract her mind.

There is more of course, and I am happy to send the entire report around. Since I am still a Neumann at heart, it is hard to be embarrassed about myself. I suppose that I should consider a bit of adaptation so that non-Neumann’s can better appreciate me. Ahhh…that introspection must be making the parents proud.

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