Discomfort, Disappointments, Anger, and Love (part 2)

Part 1 was a whine about a tough trip, and a yay for how my husband and I rocked it emotionally  (while explaining how you might use these ideas when your going gets tough). In this Part 2 we explore the fight that followed and the subject of anger in a loving relationship: being angry, the right to be angry, the inevitability of it, and the ways out of it.
Phew, I hope you find all this useful.


So where were we:

My family is back home from said rough trip. We are still jet lagged and slightly disoriented. The kid’s sleep schedule has gone bonkers = we are totally exhausted. And it is hot as hell. So hot, the Satan want’s his weather back (got this joke on Facebook). Hotter than it was in Tel Aviv, which is seriously messed up. The only upside is that Cayuga Lake is jellyfish free.

Huby’s ribs are still hurting, so he can’t pick up the kids, both of us have a sore throat.
I’m not listing my complaints so you can feel sorry for me, I’m listing them so you have the full picture of how bad things are. Then then PMS hit.

In the last few days, effective Grump Management is out the window.
I am too hormonal and too tired and too hot to be my best self.

Another thing that makes things harder for me is that since we are back home, my husband is back to work, and my kids are on summer vacation, so I can’t be back to my work. (Which is writing this stuff and creating classes that teach how to use these emotional skills). And this is super hard for me. I am bursting at the seams with ideas and ways of explaining all this emotional healing stuff. Since I wasn’t able to write for almost a month, I’m in heaps of creative frustration. Which messes with my head at least as much as my period does. So I’m bitchy.
Seriously. I really wish I could be the one going off to a quite, air-conditioned office to work uninterrupted while someone else takes care of unpacking (I hate it almost as much as I hate packing!) laundry, meals and dishes. Not to mention the jet-lagged kids. I want time for my work, dammit!

So I’m bitchy. Not the horrible mean nasty bitch my worst-self could be, but still, I’m no fun to be around. And despite DH’s legendary patience, he too is at the end of his rope. And horrible me, I have moments when I just want to wrap that rope around his neck. So we fight. Of course we fight.

Of course we fight.

How could we not fight, under the circumstances?
Voices are raised, accusations are made, resentment rears its ugly head.
Of course it does. Of course we do.

Fighting is ugly.
And human.

And at times like this: unavoidable.
And therefore not a failure.

Old Me would have taken the last couple of days of fighting as proof:
Proof that I suck.
Proof that WE suck.
Proof that my belief that my marriage is strong is a pathetic delusion.

My PPDemons would have had a field day: “How could you be so stupid to think you have a good relationship?!” They would have scoffed. “Every time you think things are going well everything just blows up in your face” they would have exaggerated. My confidence in my relationship and my trust in myself would have been shattered yet again, and it would have taken a good (bad) while for me to get over the fight, rebuild my trust in him and in myself.

I am practically astonished to report that I don’t feel this way. I have healed enough to take these fights for what they are: unavoidable expression of our humanness in a tough spot. I trust my love to see beyond this. And when I say my love, I mean my love for him, but I also trust in him, my love.

I wouldn’t be the first to say that relationships stay healthy not by avoiding conflicts, but rather by processing conflicts in healthy ways. Inside of a conflict, it is so easy to believe that having a conflict is proof that there is something terribly wrong with the relationship, and that having anger is proof that there is something even more wrong with the person feeling it. Especially if the person being angry is a woman, and a mother.

I’m still processing this.
I have no doubt that to reduce the suffering we have to first allow the anger to exist before we can disarm it. This is a fine idea, of course, but it’s going to be even harder to accept the anger than it has been to accept depression,  because and despite the fact that anger is not a mental illness, it is just a normal human emotion.

My husband hates fighting. Like most of us, he likes being in control of his emotions. When we fight, I can’t tell what he resents more, my anger, or his own. And we are talking about a man who is incredibly connected to his feelings. A man who was able to support me through the worst of my depression in the most admirable way you can imagine. After supporting me to the end of the world and back, I literally owe him my life. And throughout my healing journey, as I have acquired multiple emotional skills, he has followed my lead and is learning some of the same skills with me (The Work of Byron Katie, Non-Violent Communications, Parent Talk, just to name a few). All of this has done our relationship much good, to say the least. It makes us better people, better partners and better parents. But I think that examining and transforming our relationship to anger will make a huge difference in our life, our family.

Reading Robin’s post and getting into Scientist/Detective mode to process the recent fights with my man, helps me understand things about depression, anger, motherhood, and marriage. I’m still not exactly sure what I’m going after.
An epiphany, maybe? A paradigm shift would be nice, no?
I’m afraid it’s not going to be anything this dramatic. But I’m looking for clues.

All I know for sure is this: I love this man. This man loves me.

Sometimes I will get angry. So will he.
Parenting stresses and workplace pressures will take their toll.
We will fight.
We will hate the fighting, and we will live through it.
We don’t have to like it to survive it.
Maybe, if we allow a fight to happen and run its course, instead of seeing anger as som evil “proof” that something or somebody is very wrong, than maybe, just maybe, we will fight less. If we are able to see fighting in this light, then at times when anger will hide our love from view, our love will not be chased away by it.
And if we are not so angry at the anger, we might even forgive each other sooner.

 

Comment magic: does this ring a bell? Is there anything here that you might want to try applying in your relationship? How can I support you through this?

 

4 Responses to Discomfort, Disappointments, Anger, and Love (part 2)
  1. Debbie
    August 4, 2011 | 2:30 pm

    I am a drama queen in recovery, myself.

    Good girl martyrs are neither fun to be nor fun to be around.

    For me the ability to differentiate between rage and anger has been
    huge. Anger allows for me to be calmly assertive. Rage is something
    that no one hears. It is too loud, too jangly and, frankly probably
    misplaced and more of a ramble.

    I have been learning to pause, and so has my husband. He learned this
    at a conference he attended. It allows for better listening on both
    sides.
    Debbie recently posted..Violence Against Women And Blind Rage Against Men

  2. story
    August 4, 2011 | 2:20 pm

    I am still in a place where the fights scare me, so I stuff the anger and avoid the conflict. I’m trying to learn how not to do that, how to stop being the good girl martyr. It’s such a fine balance. I don’t want to yell at hubs all the time, but I don’t want to not yell either.
    story recently posted..My bloggy funk

  3. Debbie
    August 2, 2011 | 10:08 pm

    Bursting at the seams. I can relate.

    Kids underfoot during summer vacation. Trying to write blog posts.

    He is in mancave. OK. He is also working down there since he’s a
    techie, but it still can piss me off.

    And it’s hot. Old house. No central air. Huge unit in dining
    room and ceiling fan in living room. Days like today I try not to lose
    my patience.

    I am long past PPD,but I still have some residuals sometimes.
    Debbie recently posted..Violence Against Women And Blind Rage Against Men

  4. MamaRobinJ
    July 29, 2011 | 10:44 pm

    You know I love this.

    We have to allow the anger to exist to be able to disarm it – yes, I agree. And I think we also have to be able to acknowledge it in the moment, if only to ourselves. I was talking to a friend about this today. In order to get past anger as my immediate reaction I had to be aware of it in the moment and “catch” that reaction. Really hard to do, especially when it comes with so much adrenaline. I finally got there, though, and was able to disarm it by knowing where it was coming from.
    MamaRobinJ recently posted..Life’s Lessons: A To-Do About Lists

Discomfort, Disappointments, Anger, and Love (part 2)

Part 1 was a whine about a tough trip, and a yay for how my husband and I rocked it emotionally  (while explaining how you might use these ideas when your going gets tough). In this Part 2 we explore the fight that followed and the subject of anger in a loving relationship: being angry, the right to be angry, the inevitability of it, and the ways out of it.
Phew, I hope you find all this useful.


So where were we:

My family is back home from said rough trip. We are still jet lagged and slightly disoriented. The kid’s sleep schedule has gone bonkers = we are totally exhausted. And it is hot as hell. So hot, the Satan want’s his weather back (got this joke on Facebook). Hotter than it was in Tel Aviv, which is seriously messed up. The only upside is that Cayuga Lake is jellyfish free.

Huby’s ribs are still hurting, so he can’t pick up the kids, both of us have a sore throat.
I’m not listing my complaints so you can feel sorry for me, I’m listing them so you have the full picture of how bad things are. Then then PMS hit.

In the last few days, effective Grump Management is out the window.
I am too hormonal and too tired and too hot to be my best self.

Another thing that makes things harder for me is that since we are back home, my husband is back to work, and my kids are on summer vacation, so I can’t be back to my work. (Which is writing this stuff and creating classes that teach how to use these emotional skills). And this is super hard for me. I am bursting at the seams with ideas and ways of explaining all this emotional healing stuff. Since I wasn’t able to write for almost a month, I’m in heaps of creative frustration. Which messes with my head at least as much as my period does. So I’m bitchy.
Seriously. I really wish I could be the one going off to a quite, air-conditioned office to work uninterrupted while someone else takes care of unpacking (I hate it almost as much as I hate packing!) laundry, meals and dishes. Not to mention the jet-lagged kids. I want time for my work, dammit!

So I’m bitchy. Not the horrible mean nasty bitch my worst-self could be, but still, I’m no fun to be around. And despite DH’s legendary patience, he too is at the end of his rope. And horrible me, I have moments when I just want to wrap that rope around his neck. So we fight. Of course we fight.

Of course we fight.

How could we not fight, under the circumstances?
Voices are raised, accusations are made, resentment rears its ugly head.
Of course it does. Of course we do.

Fighting is ugly.
And human.

And at times like this: unavoidable.
And therefore not a failure.

Old Me would have taken the last couple of days of fighting as proof:
Proof that I suck.
Proof that WE suck.
Proof that my belief that my marriage is strong is a pathetic delusion.

My PPDemons would have had a field day: “How could you be so stupid to think you have a good relationship?!” They would have scoffed. “Every time you think things are going well everything just blows up in your face” they would have exaggerated. My confidence in my relationship and my trust in myself would have been shattered yet again, and it would have taken a good (bad) while for me to get over the fight, rebuild my trust in him and in myself.

I am practically astonished to report that I don’t feel this way. I have healed enough to take these fights for what they are: unavoidable expression of our humanness in a tough spot. I trust my love to see beyond this. And when I say my love, I mean my love for him, but I also trust in him, my love.

I wouldn’t be the first to say that relationships stay healthy not by avoiding conflicts, but rather by processing conflicts in healthy ways. Inside of a conflict, it is so easy to believe that having a conflict is proof that there is something terribly wrong with the relationship, and that having anger is proof that there is something even more wrong with the person feeling it. Especially if the person being angry is a woman, and a mother.

I’m still processing this.
I have no doubt that to reduce the suffering we have to first allow the anger to exist before we can disarm it. This is a fine idea, of course, but it’s going to be even harder to accept the anger than it has been to accept depression,  because and despite the fact that anger is not a mental illness, it is just a normal human emotion.

My husband hates fighting. Like most of us, he likes being in control of his emotions. When we fight, I can’t tell what he resents more, my anger, or his own. And we are talking about a man who is incredibly connected to his feelings. A man who was able to support me through the worst of my depression in the most admirable way you can imagine. After supporting me to the end of the world and back, I literally owe him my life. And throughout my healing journey, as I have acquired multiple emotional skills, he has followed my lead and is learning some of the same skills with me (The Work of Byron Katie, Non-Violent Communications, Parent Talk, just to name a few). All of this has done our relationship much good, to say the least. It makes us better people, better partners and better parents. But I think that examining and transforming our relationship to anger will make a huge difference in our life, our family.

Reading Robin’s post and getting into Scientist/Detective mode to process the recent fights with my man, helps me understand things about depression, anger, motherhood, and marriage. I’m still not exactly sure what I’m going after.
An epiphany, maybe? A paradigm shift would be nice, no?
I’m afraid it’s not going to be anything this dramatic. But I’m looking for clues.

All I know for sure is this: I love this man. This man loves me.

Sometimes I will get angry. So will he.
Parenting stresses and workplace pressures will take their toll.
We will fight.
We will hate the fighting, and we will live through it.
We don’t have to like it to survive it.
Maybe, if we allow a fight to happen and run its course, instead of seeing anger as som evil “proof” that something or somebody is very wrong, than maybe, just maybe, we will fight less. If we are able to see fighting in this light, then at times when anger will hide our love from view, our love will not be chased away by it.
And if we are not so angry at the anger, we might even forgive each other sooner.

 

Comment magic: does this ring a bell? Is there anything here that you might want to try applying in your relationship? How can I support you through this?

 

4 Responses to Discomfort, Disappointments, Anger, and Love (part 2)
  1. Debbie
    August 4, 2011 | 2:30 pm

    I am a drama queen in recovery, myself.

    Good girl martyrs are neither fun to be nor fun to be around.

    For me the ability to differentiate between rage and anger has been
    huge. Anger allows for me to be calmly assertive. Rage is something
    that no one hears. It is too loud, too jangly and, frankly probably
    misplaced and more of a ramble.

    I have been learning to pause, and so has my husband. He learned this
    at a conference he attended. It allows for better listening on both
    sides.
    Debbie recently posted..Violence Against Women And Blind Rage Against Men

  2. story
    August 4, 2011 | 2:20 pm

    I am still in a place where the fights scare me, so I stuff the anger and avoid the conflict. I’m trying to learn how not to do that, how to stop being the good girl martyr. It’s such a fine balance. I don’t want to yell at hubs all the time, but I don’t want to not yell either.
    story recently posted..My bloggy funk

  3. Debbie
    August 2, 2011 | 10:08 pm

    Bursting at the seams. I can relate.

    Kids underfoot during summer vacation. Trying to write blog posts.

    He is in mancave. OK. He is also working down there since he’s a
    techie, but it still can piss me off.

    And it’s hot. Old house. No central air. Huge unit in dining
    room and ceiling fan in living room. Days like today I try not to lose
    my patience.

    I am long past PPD,but I still have some residuals sometimes.
    Debbie recently posted..Violence Against Women And Blind Rage Against Men

  4. MamaRobinJ
    July 29, 2011 | 10:44 pm

    You know I love this.

    We have to allow the anger to exist to be able to disarm it – yes, I agree. And I think we also have to be able to acknowledge it in the moment, if only to ourselves. I was talking to a friend about this today. In order to get past anger as my immediate reaction I had to be aware of it in the moment and “catch” that reaction. Really hard to do, especially when it comes with so much adrenaline. I finally got there, though, and was able to disarm it by knowing where it was coming from.
    MamaRobinJ recently posted..Life’s Lessons: A To-Do About Lists