This weekend, after sitting with a friend who is trying to recover from an unhealthy relationship, I wrote a post addressed to her (myself and many others who apparently related). We'd already had a discussion but I felt the need to put into words what I learned about myself, her, and relationships in general. I felt powerless to help her and will more than likely recite the words from that post to her again.
Then yesterday, I wrote a post about the helplessness I feel for Japan. I hate all that's happening over there and I'm frightened of how it affects them and the rest of the world. I chose to view hope as a way to nurture both the people affected and my aching heart at watching others suffer.
Today, I've again had to sit and watch helplessly as Gentleman Jack's business suffered a huge loss. As a single father of two sons, he carries a lot of weight on his shoulders. I can relate. I'd be terrified if I were in his position. I also know that I'd find a way to channel that fear, that anger, that absolute feeling of defeat.
I usually find faith when I'm broken and on my knees.
In my eyes, and what I've said to him countless times before, I couldn't do what he does. He takes financial risks every single day. Not me. I have to KNOW what my paycheck is going to be and exactly when it'll hit my account.
Me = NOT a risk taker when it comes to money.
So when he called me this afternoon to share the news, I listened, as always. I love that he still shares his ups and downs with me. I sometimes second guess what to say or how to react in these situations, however. I don't want his "sharing" to stop because I've said something that turns him away.
Hello baggage claim? Could you please take this 50lb bag of past fear away? Kthanksbai.
Here's the thing that I've learned from watching men in my life:
...when men feel pissed/defeated in life, self-destructive behavior kicks in.
I immediately started to fear that he would do something stupid. Like what if he takes his last $20 and decides to take a chance at one of the many casinos nearby? Or, what if he comes home to a lazy teenager and lays all of his frustration out on his kid? Or, what if he decides to grab a case of beer and drink the night away?
Ok, I recognize that none of that is especially destructive. I do know him though. And he will feel like crap if he does ANY of those things. It's like... I'm trying to shield him from hurt that hasn't even happened yet!
I took my assumption to Twitter and received a few responses:
T: As a positive thinker AND a girlfriend, what should I do when my man is pissed off about something life-wise? Stay positive? Get upset too?
The thing I've learned about when men feel pissed/defeated in life, self-destructive behavior kicks in. Please tell me I'm wrong! Men?!?
@Dadonymous replied: Self-destructive yes. If things aren't going right for us, they aren't going to go right for anybody, dangit! ;)
@Coachdad chimed in: let me put this beer down real quick to respond... Sounds about right. Better than dealing with the issue head on.
(This was very tongue-in-cheek as Coachdad is a recovering alcoholic.)
Dadonymous went on to say:
"Too much positiveness makes us mad. Too much joining in makes us mad. Being neutral is usually (for me) best. Let me rant."
"Although I guess it depends on HOW self destructive. Obviously if it's TOO bad you need to intervene."
Coachdad encouraged me:
"call him out... Wished someone would have with me sooner than they did."
Some women even agreed that their experience with men was the same. It sounds like, as women, many of us feel helpless when our men are hurting.
I sent him a text shortly after this exchange asking him to channel his anger CONstructively rather than DEstructively.
He seemed a little perturbed that I would assume he'd do something "irrational".
I spoke my mind and sent him love. I allowed him to vent and be upset, even validating his reasons for being angry. I went on to positively build him back up, telling him that I had faith in him because he'd made it this far. Then, I left him alone.
If he's mad at me for the way I handled it, then I have to allow that too.
(Ah the beauty of the long distance relationship; the ability to stay out of the way...)
Maybe that's the secret of not feeling helpless, allowing each person their own path, their own pain, their own anger, their own feelings?
Eh. Who knows.