One thing I repeated encounter as a marriage and family therapist is couples in emotional crisis. It’s common for my clients to come into sessions pretty worked up.
Often when this happens they try to use the first part of the session to vent their frustrations, hurt, sadness, disappointment and the like. While there is some therapeutic benefit to this process, I often don’t let it go on for long.
What I’ve noticed over the course of my years in the room with clients is an inability to recognize one’s own role in the very thing being vented about. Now, I can’t say this from a position of innocence, I do it too.
But one truth must be stated, no matter what your circumstances, situation, status or how disrespectful a spouse may treat you – this is not an excuse for poor behavior.
It seems that in our heads we can reach a point where our behaviors are awful, yet we don’t recognize it or more likely don’t care and maybe even feel justified because they did X to us or said Y when they know that makes us angry.
A marker of growing up in life and marriage is understanding I am always responsible for myself!
So please remember this …
Feeling disrespected is no excuse for despicable behavior. Being lonely is no excuse for acting out inappropriately online and offline. Feeling hurt by your spouse’s behaviors or words is no excuse to return the favor in kind.
In other words, feeling emotionally on edge is no excuse for poor behaviors.
As a rule of thumb, use this process:
- Work to self-soothe when your emotions rise.
- If you can’t control your emotions, control your behaviors.
- If you can’t control your behaviors, shut your mouth.
- Use breaks from each other effectively