Joe and Janice have been married for 11 years.
They have a fractured relationship, and it has been eroding for the past three.
It has been going downhill so slightly that neither is aware of their current circumstances.
So, Joe comes in and the first thing Janice mentions is that he forgot to do something she asked him to do earlier.
Joe 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 as it does. You are only critical of me! I never mention what I ask you to do, and you don't do it. I'm sick of this. I'm going to the pub!”
Wow, let's take a look at this. I call it two dollars’ worth of guff for a nickel’s worth of offense.
It is obvious because of his reaction that Joe's ‘anxiety reservoir’ has just boiled over.
I say his ‘anxiety reservoir’ is full because he could not tolerate another stressor.
This happens for several reasons.
Joe has unresolved issues with Janice.
He is having difficulties at work.
The children are creating issues.
There are financial issues.
Perhaps there is an illness in the family or any other stressors or worries that he has allowed to remain unresolved.
When it goes unchecked, it can show up as road rage, anger, or major frustration.
Unless these issues are dealt with, the ‘anxiety reservoir’ stays high and one small issue can send it through the roof.
How can you head this off?
Constant self-awareness and self-reflection identify stressors.
The intent is to deal with them individually in a way that emotions are lessened.
This provides some vacancy in the ‘anxiety reservoir’, allowing him to remain calm when other circumstances arise.
I must be more aware of my own ‘anxiety reservoir’ so that I don’t allow it to boil over and spill out on the ones I love the most.
It takes personal vigilance to keep my ‘anxiety reservoir’ in check.
Keep looking for the blind spots and building a better you.
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Blind Spots in Relationships
What I don't know I don't know about myself
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