Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Don’t Take it out on Her

You know, life is full of frustrations. Frustrations at work; frustrations with the kids; financial frustrations; frustration with the car, when it breaks down; even frustration when your team loses the ball game. It’s a given that you can’t get through the average week, without a nice assortment of frustrations coming to pay you a visit.

It’s not just frustrations either. Life is full of other negative emotions; anger, hurt, worry, even fear (although us guys aren’t all that good at admitting it when fear pays us a visit). All in all, we have plenty of opportunity to feel negative emotions and express them.

By comparison, it doesn’t seem like there’s really all that much out there that’s trying to make us happy. It’s almost like happiness tries to hide from us, teasing us every once in a while, but not really letting us know it’s there.

The question is, what do you do with all those negative emotions when they come along? How do you deal with them, so that they don’t become destructive to you and to those around you?

There’s an old saying that goes, “You only hurt the ones you love.” I’m sure you’ve run across it sometime. You’ve probably had a chance to reflect on it, sometime when you had just done something to hurt those around you. Why is it that we hurt them? Why do we end up taking all those negative feelings out on them, instead of dealing with them in a healthier manner?

A large part of the answer to that question is that we don’t deal with the negative emotions; most especially, we don’t deal with the people and things that cause them for us. If the boss does something to upset us, we typically don’t tell him. Instead, we bottle it up inside, waiting for a chance to let it out. Usually, the first “safe” opportunity to let it out is at home, where it ends up directed at… you got it, our wives. So, instead of saying what we want to our boss, we say what we don’t want to our wives, and end up hurting them.

Granted, as guys, we’re not all that into “getting in touch with our feelings.” But, I’ll have to say that we need a little bit more awareness than what we normally show. If you’re upset about something, you at least need to know that you’re upset. The next thought needs to be “I’m dangerous to be around right now.” That way, the explosion which hurts your wife won’t come unexpectedly.

Now, if you’re aware of your anger or frustration, you can start to do something positive about it. I’d recommend starting by letting your wife and kids know that you are dangerous to be around. Then, go shoot some hoops, run a few miles, or pump some iron. Something to help you burn off all that extra energy that the anger has caused in you. That will take you from having a short-burning fuse to at least a longer-burning one.

Once you’ve burned off enough energy to cool off a bit, you’re ready to start dealing with the problem in a more rational way, acting like an adult, instead of like an overgrown adolescent. We all know that adolescents can’t control themselves, but as men, we should be able to.

Now that you can talk rationally, let your wife know what happened, make some intelligent decisions about how to deal with it, and get ready to go on with your life.

That’s a whole lot better than jumping all over your wife, just because somebody or something jumped all over you. By learning to react in this way, you’ll eliminate any reason your wife has for fearing you and show her that you are concerned about her feelings and protecting her from being hurt. That may not be romantic, but then again, it means that when you buy her flowers, it won’t be to apologize, it’ll be to tell her you love her.

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