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

send your comments to linda@lindanusbaum.com

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Are You Angry at Your Mate?

A lot of couples I work with are angry at their partner.  Sometimes this anger has been building for a long time.  When the couple finally gets into therapy they are so ready to explode and sometimes they just unleash on each other. 

When this happens while I watch the fight I already know a couple of things.  The first is that both are in a lot of pain.  The second is that neither is getting their needs met and the louder and longer the argument, the greater the chance each person is feeling isolated in the relationship.  When couples spend their time in a back and forth disagreeing state, that tells me they are spending less time in a state of togetherness.

The irony is that couples who live with this difficulty are desperate for closeness with each other, yet the arguing between them prevents exactly what they both want.

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