I read an interesting article in the News & Messenger Serving Prince William, Manassas & Manassas Park, Virginia – Insert – USA Weekend (March 9 – 11, 2012), by Andrea Bartz titled: “Don’t let your partner drive you bonkers.” That I feel is excellent and might help others to deal with the “chatty person” or the “one” who is an annoying pest at the most important moments. Bartz quoted Jeremy Nicholson, a Boston psychologist, “Your significant other’s most annoying habits probably drive you crazy because you care about him or her so much… Once you realize that, helping them change becomes a cooperative process instead of an antagonistic one.”
This article has helped me to learn how to deal with a person who is driving me nuts; and I feel like I cannot take it another second, there “is” something I can do to improve the situation. The article gave me some excellent clues as to what I can do to keep my sanity and end a lot of my own anxieties. Here are some tips Bartz listed in the article to suggest helping people to get through these moments in a kinder manner instead of lashing out at the person:
(1) The grievance: My husband constantly eats the wrong foods all the time and regardless of pleading with him to watch his diet, he ignores my requests; and after he has had his big feast, his eyes begin to droop and his energy level drops to its lowest point, and the remainder of the afternoon is a total blur because he stays there regardless of what we’ve planned. This drives me absolutely nuts and keeps my stress level high on the thermometer!
I’ve found that nagging is a “no,no,” it only makes him worse because I can sense his own feelings of regret and knowing his actions are wrong and he becomes insulted and goes on the defensive against me. I’m trying to do as this article has suggested, and that is to help him see himself as a fit, healthy person,” and I now, I praise him for choosing the right food choices and for mowing the lawn, I say: “I know how much you want to keep that trim manly body because you know, that’s one of the things that attracted me to you long ago…when I see you eating healthy foods it gives me the energy to keep myself fit too because I vision your handsome image too.”
By turning around the situation with a word that puts an image in his mind, and by praising him, I can see a desire to improve his body image and to do some manual labor to keep him off that sofa at night. I hope he continues this…I know I’ll continue doing my job, and I’ll also buy healthier foods and encourage sports we can do together to keep us both off the sofa.
If I had continued to nag at him about what he ate and slugging out on the sofa, I do not feel I would be getting the results from him that I am today. If we come on in a negative manner, how can they think positive…it’s up to a partner too?
(2) The grievance: I don’t know about you women but I liked for my husband to help me out with the household chores because I use to work too, just like as he did, and I felt exhausted from a long day at the office too and any household chore he did accomplish made me be appreciative of it.
In the article Bartz’s suggestion that we need to praise our mates when they pitch in and help us out because the results increase our mates’ compliance. I’m right with Bartz on this one because I’ve been following these rules for many years myself. There’s not a person on this earth who doesn’t like to be praised for a job well-done instead of hearing a spouse nagging or squawking about not pitching in and helping out. Reinforce praise which will induce pride and never fail to give the person a pat on the back and brag about how good it is to have someone like them in life. The difference will be amazing!
(3) The grievance: When a partner has had a bad day, she/he takes it out on their partner…is this true for you? I know that my husband’s face tells me what kind of a day he’s had…he doesn’t have to say a single word. As the article suggests, plenty of people are moody when they see their loved ones after a long hard day at work. Nicholson explains, “It’s a failure of self-control; When you experience stressors, you only have a finite amount of composure, so by the evening you’ll have trouble controlling yourself.”
When I see my husband in a stressed out mood, I keep quiet and try not to add to his situation. I keep a normal every day attitude and I don’t show anger.
The article indicates Bartz’s solution is to build in a “reset” period after work: Turn on NPR so nobody feels obligated to talk, and sip a glass of wine or rest and put your feet up for a while until you feel residual tension melt away.
Nicholson also says if your partner is determined to pick a fight, keep a watch on your body language. If you crowd the person or cross your arms it only irritates them more because it seems like a threat. Nicholson says, to calmly say to your partner: “Look I know you’re upset about outside things. If you want to talk about it, I’m here for you,” and he adds, “If you don’t look threatening, she’ll chill out.”
(1) News & Messenger Serving Prince William, Manassas & Manassas Park, Virginia – Insert – USA Weekend (March 9 – 11, 2012), by Andrea Bartz; Jeremy Nicholson, Boston Psychologist