Even anger management teachers loose it sometimes.
I snapped at my wife the other day. She is two months pregnant with our second child and has been experiencing a great deal of morning sickness.
Consequently I have had to take on the majority of the responsibilities for our 4- year- old son. I feed him, dress him, take him to school and field 100 post toddler questions that would make the white house press secretary want to resign. My wife and I had not been intimate in over a month and things were beginning to build up if you no what I mean.
I am not sure why God chose to heighten every sensory gland of a woman when she is pregnant. Maybe it is a genetic response designed to help her protect her young. All I know is every touch; sound, sight and smell seemed to throw her into a tizzy. Consequently I have been directed to avoid cooking or eating any malodorous foods. In my attempt to show compassion and affection, I snuggled up beside my wife to tell her how much I loved her. In response, she politely professed to me that my breath was making her sick. To say the least my ego, was crushed and the stage for our worst fight in eight years was set. I immediately retreated out of the room to sulk while my four- year old son followed behind to ask me what was wrong.
Shamefully, I admit I spotted a perfect opportunity to strike back. Using my son as a pawn I told him, “Your mother does not want me any where near her”. He took the bate and immediately informed my wife of her selfish and malicious indiscretions, “You should not be mean to Daddy”, he instructed.” How was that for a passive aggressive attack?
In a full hormonal rage my wife approached me, “How dare you try to turn my son against me.” Out of fear and stupidity, I barked back, “Your son has eyes and he knows how evil and mean you are.” Then the tears came, “If I am such a burden maybe I should just go and stay with my mother” she cried. “I’ll drive you” was the first thought to come to my mind but my better nature took hold and I kept silent. We both kept silent for a few days, but I believe my restraint saved us from a split of apocalyptic proportions.
I tell you this story for two reasons. The first reason is to let you know that assertive communication takes time to perfect. There will be times when you will want to throw your I FEEL_____ WHEN YOU_______ BECAUSE______ I NEED ______statement out the window, but stick with it. The more you use it the more it will become instinctual.
Shannon Munford M.A.
Shannon Munford is the owner of Daybreak Counseling Service, an anger management education center in Los Angeles, California. For more antidotes about anger visit his personal weblog at