Ever had a day when you felt a bit out of sorts? Not a grumpy or bad attitude, but a day when you knew your perspective was in danger of sliding south and that you just weren’t looking at things the right way? I hate it when my perspective goes out of balance. I could turn into a fire breathing dragon without much provocation.
What happens is that I take the stress and strain from one situation and connect it to another. The two may not be related, but because I am feeling off balance and emotional they get tossed together anyway. This sort of thing can be hell on a relationship.
The interesting thing is I can tell when other people are doing this, but didn’t readily identify it when I was the one doing it. When a single parent friend of mine was feeling stressed about her house payments, getting the kids ready for school, making dinner on time, having enough to go around at dinner, and constantly having to run errands by herself, she started complaining to her boyfriend. Now, none of those things were actually his fault, they were all things in her own circumstances under her control, but because she was feeling out of sorts and somewhat emotional, he got to hear about it which made him feel guilty, or bad, or mad, like he was inadequate, or out of sorts wondering what he’d done wrong.
It works both ways, I’ve seen guys do the same thing by bringing their work home and not being geared towards family time, they get stuck in “get it done” at work mode and want to just collapse for a few minutes or unwind a bit before being hit with: “take out the trash, set the table, change the baby, walk the dog, or can you cook tonight?”
So what is the answer? How do we stop the cycle of emotional response that can lead to disagreements and hurt feelings?
Stop, recognize how you feel, what you’re feeling, and why. Before you address your partner, friend, child, ask yourself some questions:
- What am I feeling? Anger, resentment, hurt, frustration?
- Why am I feeling these emotions? Instead of playing the – all too easy trap of laying blame or pointing fingers at someone else – Ask yourself, what am I doing or not doing right now that makes me feel that way?
- Are the obstacles you are seeing real? Sometimes we put obstacles in our own path and they become excuses to make things easier to explain or not do.
Obstacles such as:
- It’s too hard
- No one will help me
- I’m too young/old
- I don’t have the money
- It will cause drama
- I don’t have the energy
Stopping yourself to find out the true cause of your frustration before addressing someone else can make all the difference in your relationship and day for both of you. No one likes to be unloaded on for things they really have no control over and may not even be responsible for.
All relationships are dependent on communication. If you don’t state it, then don’t expect it, because no one is a mind-reader. If you live together and you find yourself overwhelmed, then discuss and divide duties to meet each other half way, help each other out. That way no one feels like demands are being made later.
Above all make time to put everything else aside, including other people, cell phones, televisions, radios, and all other distractions and just listen to each other. If someone is really and truly important to you then make the time to listen to them, and allow them to know you better by sharing with them as well.
Cherry Coley ©