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Two Dollars' Worth of Guff

Ralph and Robin have been married for 11 years. They have a fractured relationship. It has been eroding for the past three years. It has been going downhill so slightly that neither is aware of these circumstances. He comes in, and Robin mentions that he forgot to do something she asked him to do earlier. Ralph loses it and shouts, "You only look at what I don't do, not what I do. I am the one who makes this household run like it does. You are only critical of me! You don't look at what I ask you to do, but don't do it. I'm sick of this. I'm going to the pub!"

It's a common human trait to withhold our grievances for far too long, only to unleash an outburst of pent-up emotions later. I call it, ‘two dollars’ worth of guff for a nickel’s worth of offense’, essentially buying into a conflict that could have been resolved much earlier and with less conflict.

Wow let's look at this from two different perspectives. Ralph's anxiety reservoir is full and about to boil over. Going over the top happens when:

  • He has unresolved issues with Robin.

  • He is having difficulties at work.

  • The children are creating issues.

  • There are financial issues.

  • Perhaps there is illness in the family.

It can be attributed to any unresolved stressors or worry. When our anxiety reservoir is full, we cannot tolerate another stressors. It can show up as road rage or any other form of anger or frustration when it goes unchecked. Unless these items get dealt with, the anxiety reservoir stays high, and one minor issue can send it through the roof.

Constant self-awareness and self-reflection can identify these stressors. The intent is to deal with stressors individually so that they are lessened. Harbored emotions must be talked about, or they will not dissipate. This can afford some vacancy in the anxiety reservoir so that we do not go over the top when other circumstances arise.

How full is your anxiety reservoir? Does it need some conversation?

Watch for the blind spots.

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