By Judi Light Hopson, Emma H. Hopson, and Ted Hagen
Tribune News Service
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Experts say that if we can talk about our emotions, there is less chance we’ll act them out. So if you are married to someone with love-hate emotions, try to strike up a healthy conversation about feelings in general.
Tribune News Service
Relationships are sometimes very complicated. Two people, whether they are lovers, friends, parent and child, or business associates, can have lots of tension between them.
Any of us can appreciate many qualities about someone else, but we can have issues with their morals, bad tempers, poor habits, and a lot more. It’s easy to feel a lot of turmoil when you love certain qualities about someone, but you hate how they behave or react in certain situations.
How can you manage the strain of spending time with someone you can’t quite predict? What do you do when your boyfriend, husband, teenager or sister throws your emotions for a loop?
“My daughter is married to a man she is crazy about, but they get into major quarrels,” says a friend of ours, we’ll call Jessica. “My daughter says she loves and hates her husband with equal passion. The kids are going to become emotionally and mentally warped watching this drama!”
Most of us have heard of men who both love and hate women. They are called misogynists. Jessica’s daughter might be married to one of them from what we can gather.
“My son-in-law had an abusive mother,” Jessica told us. “I believe he craves affection from my daughter, but deep down, he wants to punish her. He could never punish his mother, so he’s taking his warped feelings out on my daughter.”
Someone who both loves and hates with equal passion is very much a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. They are really two people in one.
Here are some tips for dealing with them:
-Tell them, point blank, that you want to avoid extreme emotions. Let your boyfriend or boss know that you like to stay calm. This confirms to another person that you are in charge of yourself.
-Tell them what you call “off limits” for normal behavior. For example, if your co-worker yells at you, tell him or her, “We need to have a rule of no yelling in this office.” If your boss yells, this is trickier to manage, but for most people, you can simply state your rules.
-Don’t try to fix or analyze someone. Talk about behaviors only. For instance, tell your girlfriend, “Tell me calmly if you need to discuss something. I don’t want to be yelled at.” Don’t say, “You’re a nut,” or “You need a therapist!”
Many times, a person who is extremely emotional can become physically dangerous. With some people, you will need to figure out some physical distance. For example, an ex-spouse should likely never live on your block.
If you are married to someone with love-hate emotions, try to strike up a healthy conversation about feelings in general. Ask your mate such questions as, “Do I make you feel loved? Will you tell me quietly when you feel irritated, instead of springing your feelings on me?”
If any of us can talk about our emotions, there is less chance we’ll act them out.
It also helps to say to someone, “Do you need me to listen to your frustrations?” Plenty of people have bottled up anger, fear, and frustrations of every type for years. Just offering a listening ear can help.
If you feel a true sense of danger, though, make plans to get out of a marriage or relationship. Not every relationship can be improved.
(Judi Light Hopson is the Executive Director of the stress management website USA Wellness Cafe, Emma Hopson is an author and a nurse educator. Ted Hagen is a family psychologist.)