Why do I feel so angry at my husband?
I’m angry because we feel disconnected
On Saturday while attending a conference in Sydney, I felt inspired to pen these words on how angry it makes us when we feel disconnected and then post them to my FB group, the Unbreakable Love Community:
“You can’t attack your partner into connection.
It came to me that this is what we do.
We crave connection,
We want to be close, intimate and deep.
Not feeling close can make us angry. So angry, in fact, that our attempts to get back to feeling close are generally pretty aggressive.
We attack, test, punish, shame and guilt them….
And what happens?
Our partners retreat.
And why wouldn’t they?
What if there is another way?
A way that works….
What if the way to connection was to just be honest?
What if instead of “You don’t care about me”, we said “Honey, I’m scared. I don’t like feeling disconnected from you.”
Perhaps your anger is a deep yearning to be close.
We are angry because we feel disconnected”
It felt like a moment of clarity; something that the women in my FB group may relate to and benefit from. But, as with much of the guidance that I give to others, it was also something that I too needed to be reminded of. As luck would have it, I had the opportunity to take my own advice in a small, but important way the very next day.
It had been a weekend of inspiration, fun and connection at the Hay House writer’s workshop in Sydney. But, it had also been exhausting – not least due to my own extra-curricular activities. Above is a photo of me on Sunday morning: hungover, and under-slept after a night out celebrating my birthday with some of my favourite Sydney people.
By Sunday evening, after a stressful race to the airport due to heightened security, I was absolutely shattered. I wanted to speak to my hubby and kids, to check in, touch base and make sure they were all safe and well. I wanted to feel their loving embrace even from afar….But my husband wasn’t answering his phone.
I called and called, texted and stressed. But nothing!
In the end, I had to call my neighbour and ask her to go get him to call me. It was perfectly innocent, his phone had been on silent, he had been busy looking after the kids, and he thought he shouldn’t call until after the conference had finished. But in my exhausted brain it was turning into a story of abandonment.
When I finally did get to speak to him, my exhaustion and fragility had the scared little girl in me wanting to have a full-on tantrum. “Why didn’t you call me?” aka “Why don’t you care enough about me?”.
Fortunately, I didn’t.
In that moment, my inner wise voice told me to breath. I knew that I had a choice. I could express my want and need to connect by attacking him, which would most likely result in the exact thing I didn’t want – disconnection, or I could be real & vulnerable and actually connect.
It wasn’t the warmest phone call, but it was a very positive one because instead of raging off and having a tantrum, I chose truth.
“Are you okay honey, you sound pissed off?” he asked.
Long pause….”I am just really, really tired” I responded. “And perhaps a little anxious too but I can’t wait to see you.”
“Can’t wait to see you, too,” he replied. “You’ll be home soon.”
Getting home was sweet. I was able to collapse into his arms and be swiftly tucked into bed. How would my night have been had I chosen to rant? Probably, very different.
Of course, I am not saying that you should never let off steam or have a good foot stomping tantrum. There are times when they may be just the right thing to do. What I am saying is that we have choices, and if you can get to the root of why you are feeling a particular way, your relationship will benefit from expressing this truth, instead of the niggly stories that we can start telling ourselves and then often believing too.
What about you? I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment below and let me know what goes on for you.
Do you love a good tantrum in your relationship? Do you have trouble stopping yourself from having one? Are tantrums your way of reaching for connection?
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Hi, I'm Nicole Mathieson, a relationship and body image coach, couple therapist and author.
My relationships blog helps couples learn practical ways to cultivate a deeper understanding of one another, find safety and connection in relationships, navigate difficult conversations and repair after conflict.