A domestic crisis arose (of some great significance, involving water, electricity and children!) and the woman rang her boss in the early part of a weekend morning to say she could not work. Getting a call in the early hours of weekend morning ( well, 6am may not be early to some) obviously disturbed what was either a comfy sleep-in or a little consensual ‘exercise’, if you know what I mean. Both were at their wits end, but what was interesting was that both felt they were not being ‘heard’ by the other. What resulted was resentment that they were each being undervalued by the other!
I have some sympathy for each point of view. If only we could see others’ point of view a little more clearly. This is not easy to do, as I can testify. I have (or rather used to have) an extremely short fuse and would blow up at the lightest thing. I am better these days, maybe because we all reach that age where the rage is simply not worth it as the outcome rarely changes for all out ranting!
One of the things I learned at law school, and in practice later was to speak harsh truths in a soft voice. Thus, “I am sorry, Mr Bloggs, but the deal is off as of this morning” can be stated like a prize fighter with the winner’s belt around his girth. Or, it can be stated in a still, small voice that nonetheless conveys the same message. Which one will make Mr Bloggs ‘arc up’ into full indignation? Hardly the still small voice. The message is, do not take the still small voice for weakness.
In a crisis we react. Maybe the electricity crisis was understandable by anyone with small children. The other domestic facts are unknown but we can assume, if a normally sensitive, soft-voiced person hits the rage button that something is going on of which we may be totally unaware. Best to let them react, as they feel fit without retaliation.
Of course, there are other explanatory reasons for emotion-based responses. Other causes of frustration can include work related concerns, low self esteem due to limited abilities to to function physically or socially. In practice, family doctors daily see that menopause or PMS can and do lead to irritability. In order to deal with mood swings that are caused by menopause, it is important for women to recognize when and why mood swings occur. Let yourself feel the panic, the anger, the reaction whatever it is, and allow it space to just to ‘be’. Then make a time to have ourselves heard when that reaction has calmed down.
This particular application in domestic stress with divorces, separations and access visits to children. Many a spouse has felt totally justified in their position without the slightest grant of substance to the other point of view. They feel pushed aside, undervalued, disrespected if the other spouse take the upper hand. Not necessarily so. Standing firm does not mean standing LOUD.
Same goes for disciplining children. (How come I only know this now when my children are beyond discipline, being in their 40s??) Standing firm is what seems to work in the Worlds’ Strictest Parents show on TV. Yes, I confess I am occasionally to be found wishing I had done thins differently for my boys, but thank god they have both turned out well. But now that I know more about listening, I can tell you it is so very valuable. Do not put your own anger above the feelings of another as it might just turn out they are in a worse place than you are!