Anger and Stress Management Tips for Satisfying Relationships by Dr. Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.
Does Tom really want Roxy or is he being polite?
Watching Tom rapt in conversation with their guests made Roxy feel left out and unimportant. Almost as if he heard her wish, Tom asked her for her opinion of the movie they were all talking about. She could hardly speak. She didn’t want to be brought in out of pity or courtesy. She wanted Tom to feel her absence and truly desire her opinion, not just act politely.
Tom had tried to invite her into the conversation and if she chose not to join, he assumed she didn’t really want to. He wasn’t going to second guess her motives.
Roxy wants to be the important one
The only trouble was that Roxie did want him to take another stab at reading her with her help. She didn’t want to be just one voice among many but the center of Tom’s attention.
“Why were you so quiet tonight? I know you have a lot to say about the movie. What happened?” Tom enquired.
” I saw you guys yapping away. It didn’t seem like you needed my opinion. So I didn’t bother” replied Roxy in a defeated tone.
” Why can’t you be part of the discussion? Does it have to be you or them? We would have loved to hear from you!” Tom hit back.
“I don’t feel like you take me seriously when there are other people around. It feels like I don’t have your full attention because you respond to the others more than to me.” Roxy bared her soul.
“Tomorrow I’m all yours Roxy. We can do anything you want. Just you and me,” consoled Tom.
The tables are turned
The next day Tom followed Roxy’s agenda. But ‘t there. Now it was his turn to feel left out and useless.
How come Roxy ignores Tom when she’s got his attention?
When Tom is with her Roxy doesn’t have to share him with anyone else. She doesn’t have to fight to get the top spot in his focus. She can sip and dip at the bowl of his attention when ever it pleases her. The security of knowing that his attention is fully on her, means she is free to get on with her life.
Having carved out a whole day for Roxy and put everything else aside, Tom was angry and resentful that he wasn’t the top priority in Roxy’s mind. What was the point of trying to please her if this was the result?
Tom can help Roxy feel more secure during her vulnerable moments with these simple gestures:
1. Put his arm around her when they are in company.
2. Smile at her and squeeze her hand when they are amongst others.
3. Tell everyone else that Roxy has great ideas and then invite her to speak.
Roxy can connect with Tom when she is feeling safe and secure using these strategies:
1. Acknowledge that he is around and talk to him about what she is thinking and feeling.
2. Ask him to tell her about what he is thinking and feeling.
3. Do an activity with him involving both their ideas and preferences.
Following these steps will help both Tom and Roxy feel closer and more connected irrespective of whether they are in the same place or their minds are focused on other things.