Anger Management Tips for Satisfying Relationships by Dr. Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.
Suspicion Creates tension
Tim heard Josie’s car pull up in the driveway. She was later than usual. He didn’t buy the story about the late meeting at work. “What was the meeting like?” he urged as Josie got herself a cold drink. “Boring! you know my boss, he likes to change plans at the last minute,” Josie drawled. Tim pictured Josie with Al, her team leader passing notes to him and sharing meaningful glances. “Did you want to be there?” demanded Tim.” I wanted to get home and relax, but I had no choice” Josie said, feeling irritated. ” What were you doing? Did you talk to Al after the meeting? Did you go for a drink with him before coming home? Why didn’t you tell me about the meeting? I was waiting to eat dinner with you” Tim ranted as he spewed out his torturous feelings.
Accusations fly – You need to get fixed!
” I didn’t plan anything. I couldn’t be rude to Al. I got away as soon as I could.” Josie began to falter as she tried to tackle the barrage of stinging insinuations.
” I bet you would rather have dinner with Al. He’s more humorous and he’s rolling in money.” Tim baited Josie.
” I’ve told you a million times, I’m not interested in Al. He’s just my boss. You’re screwed up. I can’t take this anymore. You’re so suspicious it’s becoming impossible to have a normal relationship with you. You need help.” accused Josie. “Go to therapy, or else we are through!”
A bomb went off inside Tim
Tim was crushed. A massive lump in his throat choked off his voice of gut wrenching shock and disbelief. He felt as if a bomb had gone off inside him, blowing him up into a pile of unrecognizable smithereens. He was shaking with indignation. He was loyal, and trustworthy. He never abused Josie, or gave her any cause to doubt his commitment. He was nothing like his father who got drunk every other night and made the rest of the family pay for his bad feelings. How could Josie possibly put him in the same category?
Tim wanted to hit back
One part of him wanted to attack right back. Tim wanted to yell and scream “foul”! He wanted to slash this false and unfair portrayal Josie created of him and force her into seeing him accurately. Another part of him wanted to make her feel bad by listing all the things he did for her and their relationship. He wanted to stick it in her face and make her own up to her lies and selfishness. She should be rewarding him for the way he always put her first, not berating him for being involved in her life.
Tim prepares for a showdown
That night was one of the loneliest nights Tim had ever spent. Josie was only a few inches away, but she might as well have been in another universe. Tim was determined that she would have to come crawling to him. He had to hold onto some pride and dignity. A long sleepless night gave Tim enough time to gather the evidence, build his case and prepare his closing arguments for a showdown in the morning.
Butterflies in Tim’s stomach vied with his teeth clenching grit as he laid out his grievances. He wasn’t going to fold under Josie’s false accusations. He presented his terms for the relationship. He stood tall, having done himself proud.
” Everything has to be your way, and if you don’t get it, you take it out on me. I am not your father, so stop treating me as if I am the bogey man. You’re the one who can’t control yourself, just like your father!” Josie fired back.
Tim resents being the one who has to get fixed
Josie’s remarks stung Tim into working in therapy with me. He resented being the one who had to be fixed. Taking fair shares of responsibility was a huge deal for Tim. His relationship account books showed the accounts paid far exceeded the accounts received total. He was in the red, and his reserves were fast depleting. It was infuriating and he had no idea how to redress the balance.
Tim had watched his mother turn a blind eye to her husband’s cheating. She forgave him his lack of responsibility. No way was Tim going to do the same thing. When he was hurting Tim overshot the mark. At those moments Josie became the epitome of a family member out to screw him. He made preemptive strikes against her, only to shoot himself in the foot.
Tim got his fix. He learned to tune his receiver towards Josie’s positive and loving behaviors rather than his over zealous suspicious imagination. He liked the new station, and kept the dial firmly locked in. He severed the grip that his father’s behavior had on him, developed a more hopeful view of relationships, and gained a more responsive partner.
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