Q: When I’m so mad at my husband I can’t even look him in the eye……I should…..send an email instead!! Works for us. Or even…..a phone call instead. Somehow….not seeing his eyes – I can be more honest. Why does that work, Karen?!?!?
A: It’s wonderful that you and your husband have found a way to communicate that works for you when you are mad at him. It’s my belief that, while this method works, I wouldn’t recommend it for the long haul. Not being able to work through angry conversations eye to eye is an indicator that your adult communication muscle is weak. That’s not a technical term…just something I’m making up to describe the weakness. When we are little, we don’t have the most mature communication styles. In the ideal scenario our parents and caregivers would be guiding us to become adults. Not just keeping us alive until we get there but coaching us wisely in all manners of life. Few of us got this wise coaching. Many of us fended for ourselves while our parents were busy providing for us or perhaps just providing for themselves…few idyllic childhoods exist.
You can develop this communication muscle by being aware of what’s going on within you, your thoughts and emotions, on a regular basis. Become a good student of you. Another prerequisite is to let your husband know, when all is calm, that you want to try a new way of communicating when you’re mad at him. You won’t be able to do it perfectly so the first few times might sound like, “I’m mad at you and I need to work through this before I can talk to you about it.” He’ll know what you’re doing because you gave him an advance warning.
The next time you are mad at your husband, notice it. Understand what you are feeling and why you are feeling it. Tell your husband your findings. If you can’t quite do that at first, let him know you are mad at him and trying the new way but you aren’t ready to talk just then. Let him know you need some time and specify how long: 15 minutes, an hour, a day. While you are away from him figure out what’s going on with you. Use your old way of writing your words down. When you have clarity, take your written words and speak them to your husband face to face. You’ll get better at this over time IF you keep exercising your adult communication muscle!
Note: The information on this blog is opinion only. If you are running into blocks you can’t get past, can’t understand your thoughts and emotions, are overwhelmed by your emotions…anything that is causing you emotional distress, please seek the help of a professional counselor.