, ,

Emma the Emo asks:

Hmm, any tips to hold yourself together and keep irrationality to a minimum?

Here’s the thing: it seems some people can separate their feelings from reason. But is it something you can learn? can one learn to look at one’s feelings through an objective lens and conclude logically that you might be feeling outrage, but the husband haven’t actually done anything to deserve it? If the husband is not reacting in a authoritative manner?

The short answer to this is yes, one can separate their feelings from reason.  Now, let’s see if I can explain how I did this.  I am going to explain it this way because I think that most/all women feel their emotions much like I would.  We are too similar creatures in our base levels for me not to assume this.  I cannot say this for sure, however, so using myself as an example is the only way I can do this as I could never really know for sure how others go about feeling.

What got me started is Maritus calling me irrational.  I hate being called irrational.  So much so that when he would say it when we were first married I blew off what he was saying because, how could I be irrational?  But it would continue to come up.  This is not to say Maritus kept calling me irrational, but he didn’t have to.  I could tell by his mannerisms and his tone as to what he thought and that was enough.  I think I started to really see his point (fairly early on, thank goodness) when one morning I woke up very angry with him, because I had a dream he was being a jerk (I know, I know! I wish there was a *facepalm* indicator).  He obviously called me on this, because the anger didn’t last the two minutes to shake off the dream, I was taking it out on him (again, *facepalm*).  When I finally realized how absurd I was being I started to realize that I needed to change.  If I hated being called irrational so much then I had better stop acting that way (I realize this probably wasn’t the best reason to start my journey, it should have been for Maritus.  The thought of him thinking so poorly of me was overwhelming, though and I had to make it stop.  To lose his respect would be devastating).

I started by making myself face my feelings.  All of them.  (This can be an incredibly scary thing to do.)  I have found that when I have very strong feelings, I have several of them at once.  Often times, the feelings were conflicted and they made no sense to me.  Before this, I went with the ones I could rationalize to myself and ignored and pushed away the others.  Hence, I was be irrational.  When we fought or I got angry, I was quite incapable of sorting through any of them.  This is usually when Maritus would walk away as I would not make much, if any, sense.  As I cooled off and I could sort through my feelings, I forced myself to analyze them and figure out what was causing them.  Sometimes it would take days to sort through the most raw of my feelings.  I remember a few of them took much, much longer.

What I discovered shocked me.  So often, what had caused me to be angry, was not the specific situation that started it but something else entirely.  Something I had been harboring for a long time that was still bothering me that I simply did not have the courage or the knowledge to face.  In hopes to make this more clear I will give you the main example I can remember.  Maritus is incredibly smart.  He is also very logical and ordered.  I thought I was, but obviously was not.  So often when we would have arguments, I was wrong.  This made no sense to me as everything I was told growing up said the wife in the marriage is usually correct.  What was I doing wrong?  He couldn’t be right all the time.  I had to be right.  So I was getting angry with him because I was wrong.  I had made it a contest.  I needed to win a fight and prove that I could be right.  It was crazy.  It took me years to finally figure out, after so many times of sitting down and analyzing where my feelings were coming from, that there was one feeling there telling me, no.  You DO NOT have to be right.  Why are you doing this?(Please understand, we did not fight often.  I was very careful to not start arguments to try to win them.  It was bad enough that I felt I needed to win)  It hit me so hard that my stomach literally dropped and I felt sick.

That moment was a big breakthrough for me.  Afterwards, while it would still take a lot of time to figure out what was causing all of my feelings, I could usually do it fairly quickly.  Once I began to figure out where they were coming from I could analyze them to determine whether or not they were appropriate to the situation.  This took some practice as well, but the more I did this the more I was able to dismiss the truly irrelevant feelings and focus on the ones that did matter.  From there, I could take more of a fine look at them and turn them into concise words that Maritus would be able to understand.  I was incapable of that before.  Over time, it has only gotten easier.  Now, when we do have a disagreement, I would imagine that it is almost comical to watch.  We both lay down our argument in a concise manner, listen to the other and then it’s over.  Do I still get angry with him?  Sure.  I figure out why and if it needs to be dealt with lay it down calmly and precisely.  He listens, understands, and we do what needs to be done.  Then it’s over.

Now, with that being said, the other thing I have discovered is that most of the time, what made me angry were things that didn’t matter.  Once I discovered this, I was able to let the anger go and not bother him with it.  I wish I could give you an example, but truly, when one gets proficient at this it can truly be let go and not thought of again.  I saw no reason to bother him with things that were an annoyance or that made me slightly angry, especially when I knew the likelihood of them reoccurring was small.  Why bother him with it when I could deal with it on my own and let it go?

Wudang said (read the whole comment.  He says some things that I hope he will expand upon here in the comments, such as a woman respecting her feelings and also knowing when to set them aside entirely) something in the comments of the Looking in the Mirror post that is so important:

By learning to perceive the world more rationally so do our feelings become more rational.

This is very true.  I still have strong feelings but I can translate them into words now.  I can dissect them to see if they make sense.  In short, I can deal with most of them on my own.  It keeps the hamster on a short leash.  Now, is that to say I am some sort of robot with my feelings?  No.  Far from it.  Things still get away from me and I need help.  Only now, I can tell when they are getting away from me and I can flat out tell Maritus, “Things are getting to be too much and I need help.  Here’s what going on and how I am feeling.”  The minute he knows things are accumulating, he’s there for me.  He responds to me better now as he knows my feelings are genuine.  I think he trusts me more now as well, though I have never asked him that.  Straightening out my emotions has brought us closer together because he knows I’m not going to go anywhere on some sort of emotional ride and try to take him with me.  I can better be the reed in the wind.

Note:  Men, hormal talk follows.  Avert your eyes.

Ladies, when you start to pay close attention to your emotions, you will start to notice that, if you are affected emotionally during your cycle, you can distinguish between what is a relevant feeling and what is being influenced by your hormones.  Same thing during pregnancy.  What I found works very well is simply saying something along the lines of, “I’m getting emotional, but nothing is wrong.  I’m hormonal right now and it is throwing me off.  I ask that you be patient with me as you are not doing anything wrong, but I might get cranky.”  Then work very hard to not let that crankiness show or, if you can, go off by yourself for a while until you know you won’t take it out on him.