Dear Amy: I am in the process of reconciling with my ex-husband. Theres just one problem standing in the way of our happiness. Both he and our grown daughter dont like the way I express my anger, especially through my tone of voice.
I admit that I get emotional and express it, but I maintain that everyone has emotions and should express them. Other people need to recognize how we feel; otherwise we are always hiding our feelings!
For example, my ex and I were driving home from a visit to our children. I told him he was going 45 mph on the 65 mph expressway.
He said my tone was nasty. I said I was just telling him the facts. I wasnt angry, so whats so terrible about expressing my impatience? I feel theyre too touchy and wont allow me to express my feelings. What do you think?
Dear Emotional: When the people who know and love you the most tell you the same thing, you have two choices: You can accept their criticism as an opportunity for change and growth, or you can get defensive, duck and cover, and deny the issue.
You have a right to express your emotions, anger and frustration. But you must acknowledge that a persons tone of voice and body language speak volumes. In that vein, I wonder if you have the courage to face a real-life experiment to see yourself the way others see you.
Ask your daughter and her father to imitate how you sound when youre expressing yourself. Your job is to record their impersonations, laugh at yourself in the moment and then review the game film in private. Ask yourself: Can you authentically and respectfully express your emotions differently?
Dear Amy: Sad is living with a man who drinks at bars several times a week and is obviously an alcoholic.
You were too gentle with her. You should have told her to drag him to an AA meeting or else leave the relationship.
Dear Anonymous: You cannot drag someone to an AA meeting. You can, however, make choices about what you can and cannot tolerate from your partner. Thats where Sad needed to start.