What If There’s a BIG Blowup? What Do You Do Then?

All of us get mad at our mates. Even therapists get mad at their partners. I did last week and it was a big one. You might even call it a tantrum. Yes, I had a tantrum. I was pretty sure my reasons were valid for having this blowup. I was very convinced that my mate was hurting me intentionally with a particular situation so I had all the right in the world to get mad.


Well this is what I think I was thinking when I was winding up. I had just learned that my husband was going to be working all weekend. I had been thinking about a nice relaxing Sunday with him, knowing that he always works Saturdays. But NO, he informs me Friday afternoon that he has to work Sunday.


I see that relaxing day with him I had been looking forward to evaporate and I get scared, I think. I feel alone, small and like no one cares, or something like that. But what ever I am feeling the next words out of my mouth are, "I'm really mad about this!" Then I ask him to come into the kitchen where I'm mixing a protein drink. I tell him I want to talk about this because I'm really mad. He wants to leave but I ask him to stay and then I start to rant. "It's not fair. I'm not going to see you all weekend." He reminds me that he has to work an occasional Sunday.


I know this but I feel like I've been blindsided without any warning so I continue in a high pitched angry, accusatory voice. "I don't care. I am just mad that I won't be with you." This conversation goes nowhere and he retreats to the den. I calm down a little until I realize that he is also gone this evening for work, so he's gone Friday night, Saturday and Sunday during the day. When I remember this I get going all over again. "And I just remembered you are working tonight," I scream.


Now I am really mad. I even go into the den to make my point more dramatically.

I head back to the kitchen where I am fuming as I continue to mix my drink. It comes in one of those shakers that you drink out of so I start to shake it and in a blink of an eye it spurts out and I am covered all over with a thick brown goo, all over my nice "professional therapy" clothes. Then I shriek like there is no tomorrow. I am complaining about the mess in a high-pitched yell. Then I get mad because my husband didn't come in to see what was wrong.


I storm upstairs to change my clothes saying to him, "Why didn't you come in to see what happened? I spilled the drink all over myself." I throw off my drink-covered clothes and leave them in a pile on the floor. I change into something else and I head downstairs. I glance into the kitchen and there is my husband cleaning up the mess. I am still mad, at this point even though I'm not sure at what and I announce to him, "Just throw the drink away. I don't want it anymore." And with that I exit the house and head to work.


I calm down because I have to get back into work mode. I have a break and I head home to get something to eat. I know my husband has gone to work. I open the den door and there, on top of the table is a beautiful bouquet of flowers, with a note that reads, "I want to be with you always." The you is underlined. I feel loved and ashamed in the same moment. I feel like a silly little girl who just didn't get her way so she made a big old fuss. I call him and say, "Thank you so much for the flowers. I am so sorry I was a child who had a tantrum." He says, "Yeah you really had a big tantrum, especially when you spilled the drink." He asks if he can call me back because he's busy and I say I will be busy too, not necessary. Then I ask him this, "Are we good?" He says, "Yeah, we're good."


I tell this story to a colleague and she says you should get him something too. After leaving work I stop at the store and get him a card and a little trinket, making sure he sees them first thing when he comes home tonight from work.


The next morning I check to see if there is any residue. Nope, just us. Do I feel good about what I did? No, I feel silly. Did it kill us and make us hate each other? No, just the opposite. He found out how important he is to me, I found out how important I am to him. We just had to wade through some muck for this beautiful wisdom.


I haven't raged in years. I can't say it felt good. It just was. No one is perfect. We are all just human. I hope I don't rage again for many, many years. But even if I do, I know there is always something I can do about it. I can repair. So can you.


learn more about Linda at www.lindanusbaum.com

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He Won’t Talk To Me; She Won’t Stop Talking To Me. When Couples Can’t Communicate.

I was talking to a friend the other day and she was telling me about her husband and how he doesn’t really communicate with her.  She says she has resigned herself to just telling him what she thinks because she says she has just grown tired of asking him to talk about difficult subjects and watching him stay mute and not say anything.  It’s not a great scenario, but for the moment it works, somewhat.  I believe this is a problem that many couples live with.

Understanding the Problem

As a couples specialist I like to look at what each person wants and needs in a relationship in order for me to understand what they are not getting and why it has become so difficult to communicate.  The first thing I like to help couples understand is that both people want something from the other.  It usually includes some mixture of the following: feeling valued, appreciated, and understood.

It doesn’t matter if you are the female, or the male or a couple of same sex.  This is the core of what every person in a relationship wants to feel with their partner; valued, appreciated and understood.

Does Gender Play a Role?

I believe it does.  I think as individuals we are made up of a lot of parts. Sometimes these traits can be in both sexes but generally speaking in my experience this is the breakdown.

As females most of us feel energized when we are able to talk to others about things important to us. We get ideas about solving issues and we feel heard and supported.  It’s absolutely the best thing we can do for ourselves when we are having difficulty with a problem and need to find a solution.  We talk to others.  This is not only helpful, it’s enriching to us.

Men have wonderful skills to understand problems and issues and most of them do this inside their heads.  They explode with ideas and new thoughts and problem solve faster than you can say “fix it.”  This is a natural fit for most men.  That’s why when most men see women crying the first thing they want to do is fix her.  This is in their nature, to solve your difficulties.  But ask them to mull something over, or discuss the nuances of a dilemma and you might likely find them freezing up and disengaging.  That’s just easier and more comfortable.

How to Get Unstuck

So let’s say you and your partner find yourselves in this situation.  You are the talker and he is the silent one, or vice versa.  You have both staked out your positions and each of you is waiting for the other to do something.  This is a standoff, where a lot of couples live.  Someone has to make a move to become unstuck.  Maybe you can agree on one thing, like you both just want to feel better.  If each of you takes just one step toward helping the relationship there’s hope.

What to Do

Develop awareness that you are different than your mate.  Investigate what your partner needs to feel understood.  Why not just ask them?  You may discover that they appreciate it when you do something particular.  This is how we attune to our mate and give them what makes them feel good.  Beyond anything else this is the key to a good relationship.  Knowing what makes your partner happy.  If both of you know this and you provide it to the other you will live a happy life.  And that’s what all couples want.

Send your comments to linda@lindanusbaum.com

Check out Linda’s website www.lindanusbaum.com


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