- LEARN TO EXPRESS NEGATIVE FEELINGS IN A CONSTRUCTIVE MANNER
In part one of this article we started looking at how we can learn to express our “Negative Feelings” in a constructive manner. It is very important to express negative feelings because it helps couples to adapt and adjust to each other’s specific needs. If we do not express our negative feelings and decide to bottle it up, it will do more harm than good. It will build up tension within us just like an old fashioned pressure cooker.
Let us illustrate this with the example of Andrew and Bekky. Andrew has the unfortunate habit of expressing his negative feelings in a rather violent way. Whenever his wife got him angry, he would lash out at her with such verbal venom and with such hateful face that often left Bekky terrified. One day after such an outburst, he went to his wife the following day in a sober mood to apologise. Sulking in shame, he pleaded and promised his wife that he would never repeat such embarrassing outburst.
Andrew kept his promise, or so he imagined. He kept swallowing up every comment from Bekky which he perceived as being both disrespectful and demeaning. Then one day, he had it. One day as he was in the kitchen, Bekky “stepped on his toe” by running him down in a rather unfair manner.
Andrew lost all control. He said nothing, but gently walked over to the sink, grabbed a dishwashing liquid and in an uncontrolled fury poured it all into a pot of soup Bekky was preparing and he hurriedly stormed out of the house.
Where did Andrew get it all wrong? Andrew erroneously imagined that he can achieve peace in his marriage by restraining all of his feelings and not speaking out. Even after several months, Andrew was still struggling to pick up the pieces of the shattered trust and peace between him and Bekky.
Therefore, what would you say Andrew did wrong? What were his mistakes? How should Aaron have communicated his hurt feelings without hurting Bekky so badly?
In part 3 of this series; we’ll examine 4 tips and tricks to communicate your negative feelings to your spouse without hurting him or her.