Ever had a bad day at work? And then when you come home you take it out on your family? Maybe you had a lot of work to do and not enough time, and then a co-worker was rude to you. When you arrived home, your spouse left her shoes in the middle of the floor and suddenly you are yelling, “Why do you always have to do these things? You don’t ever show me any respect!” All those feelings from the entire day finally explode.
Even though family are the people we tend to care about the most, they often get the brunt of our negative emotional reactions. People tend to feel safest showing their true feelings and negative behaviors with the people they feel closest to. So even if they had nothing to do with your feelings, they may witness the reaction. For example, when you are upset with a co-worker, you might not feel comfortable expressing it at work. Instead, you hold it in and go on with your day. However, those feelings are still there and may be directed at your spouse later.
Other times, you may be genuinely upset with your spouse. Yet, for one reason or another, you hold it in. You may be frustrated about something that happened yesterday or maybe you have just been upset about one particular issue for a while. Then, it all comes out at once about an unrelated issue.
If you notice that your frustrations with other people, anger at various situations, and general life stress all seem to come out as negative interactions toward your spouse, there are some strategies you can use to stop these behaviors. It is unfair to take out your feelings on your spouse and it will negatively impact your marriage. Finding new ways to cope with your distress can help you express your emotions in positive ways.
Learning how to be assertive can be helpful in getting your needs met throughout the day. Being able to speak up and share your feelings can help you from repressing all those feelings. Ignoring feelings won’t make them go away. Finding a positive way to cope with them can help you deal with them. This might mean relaxing and listening to music to diffuse your anger, talking to a friend when you feel sad, or telling your boss you feel overwhelmed.
It takes time and practice to develop skills that work for you. Learning coping skills that you help you deal with various emotions can be greatly helpful to your marriage. With some practice, you will find that your mood is better when you are attending to negative emotions when they arise.