Recently I did a mental survey on my male friends, and I found that about 60% of them have a tendency to misplace their frustration. They get aggravated with work, with family, with whatever, yet instead of categorizing their aggravation and dealing with it proactively, they let is simmer internally until it erupts in all the wrong places.
I’ll give you an example. A very good friend of mine hates his job for a number of legitimate reasons. He dreads going to work every morning, and the hours he spends at his desk suck out his will to live. So you would figure that at the end of the day, he would relish every moment out of the office, right? Nope. He takes his frustration home with him. And worse than that, he is grumpy, petulant, impatient and snippy. Ideally he should find a way to deal with his situation and improve his work environment, or he should find a new job. But instead he just bottles it up inside and takes it out on those around him.
I bring this up because of two reasons. First, I think that over half of guys are guilty of this behavior, whether they are aware of it or not. Secondly, and more importantly, it is because this behavior affects you and your relationship.
Everybody has a tendency to let off steam on those that they know will forgive them for their transgressions. Think about it: when you are frustrated, you will use language with your family and close friends that you would never dare use at the office or surrounded by strangers. In that same vein, your guy will take out his frustration on you, even though you don’t deserve it and are probably not the reason for his irritability. He does this because subconsciously he knows you will probably forgive him and move on.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Before I continue, I want to make something clear. What I am referring to in this post are little things that people do when they are frustrated. BY NO MEANS should ANYBODY tolerate violence or abusive behavior. There is a definitive line between a guy being snippy because he had a bad day and a guy being physically aggressive. I am assuming we all have good judgment and know the difference between intolerable bad behavior, and tolerable bad behavior.
Back to our post…
In the ideal world, the guy would treat his Irritable Man Syndrome (IMS) through some self-reflection, possible sessions with a therapist and a three month pass to Bikram Yoga. But what can you do to help speed up this transformation?
A close friend of mine is in this exact situation with her husband. He is a wonderful partner with endless positive qualities, but on frequent occasions he exhibits IMS. She had a number of keen insights about this issue. First, irritability is a downward spiral. If one side is irritated, making the other side irritated, then the first side will just become even more irritated. You can’t fight fire with fire. If he is being cranky, don’t let it make you cranky – you will both end up suffering for it.
Secondly, let him purge his crankiness without pressuring him. Just make sure he is not allowed to purge it on you. If he is being pissy, go ahead and give him the space to be pissy, and after he calms down you can have a constructive conversation. Trying to force a conversation onto a guy who is aggravated will be counterproductive.
And most importantly, don’t let his crappy attitude get the best of you. If you need time away from him to handle your business, do it.
In the coming weeks, I will post up Part 2! Stay tuned!
Irritable image via the always apropos Someecards