In every single article I write, I stress the importance of communication, so you would think that I practice as I preach and work really hard to include communication in my relationship. And truth is, I do try, but I have realized that open and honest communication with a partner can only happen when I am having an open and honest dialogue with myself.
I have a tendency to throw a temper tantrum when things do not go my way, which is surprising considering my upbringing. I do not lay on the floor and kick and scream like a child, but I do have an adult temper tantrum where I sulk and whine and make everyone in my vicinity absolutely miserable. And it's usually over stupid stuff. I feel jaded because… Chief went to the gym and signed up for a member ship and (1) didn’t sign me up and (2) signed up for the more expensive plan even though we are trying to save money. Now both of those two things are irksome. They are not work throwing a fit in front of guests. But I got all tired and broody and just kept thinking, “I would never have done that” over and over as I made dinner.
My guests were trying to figure out why I was mad and whose side they should be on, Chief was trying to figure out what he did wrong, and I just kept saying “I’m fine” and stomping around the apartment.
Then I took a shower.
And in the shower I started to think. I was mad because I think about him in every situation – would he like this, should I buy this for him, am I having more fun than him right now (and if I am I feel guilty and make myself not have as much fun, and then get mad when he has more fun than me…), etc. I felt like he didn’t care about me because he didn’t think about me when he was signing up for the gym. Then I thought about how he treats me regularly. He treats me well, he helps out with some stuff around the house, and I know he loves me. So I stopped being angry for the night, and everyone felt a lot more at ease.
So we would think that I would learn, that this experience would be eye-opening. That when I thought about the fact that I was mad over one tiny detail when the rest of my day was great is pointless, I would snap out of it. But I don’t and I continue this stupid pattern of getting mad and fixated on one little thing, because it wasn’t what I wanted in that exact moment. Like a four-year old child.
But I am working on it.
This morning Chief woke me up by deciding to make a phone call in bed. Obviously that’s something REALLY annoying. Then he sprung on me that he was going to spend the morning with his friend, also fine. But I had it in my mind for no reason, that he and I were going to spend the morning together. I had not communicated this to him, I knew he was going down to his hometown early in the afternoon, and we had plans to have a ton of fun in the afternoon with our friends back home, but I was still angry about the morning.
So I opened up the dialogue with myself. Why was I mad? Why was I being quiet and stormy?
I was tired and that was pretty much it. I hadn’t told Chief that we were going to do anything that morning, I knew he had to go get his car fixed back in town at some point late morning, did I really have a reason to be upset?
Now I study psychology, and I know that bottling up feelings, or telling yourself that you “should” or “should not” feel a certain way is DETRIMENTAL to your psyche and sense of self-worth. I also, however, know that when I walk myself through how I feel, that I can calm myself down. I can realize why I feel a certain way and how I can best cope with it.
If it is a legitimate issue with Chief, I will bring it up. If it is an issue with no bearing, I can go for a run or do something to work off that negative energy. If I am transposing my frustrations from someone else onto Chief, then I know that I need to deal with the root of the issue. Regardless, the open communication with myself allows me to sift through all the stuff that goes on in my mind and have better and more open communication with everyone around me.