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Defense Mechanism

Defense Mechanism

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It’s a new year. A lot of people make resolutions or set goals for themselves when the new calendar hits.

I normally don’t. And If I do I don’t announce them to anyone.

I’m gonna change it up this year and work on one of the many things about me that needs improvement.

My defense mechanisms.

So here’s one for all you dad’s and husbands out there. Tell me if this looks familiar…or maybe it’s just me?…

As a father you can find me getting frustrated with my kids when they are not listening, amongst a number of other things.

As a husband, you can find me getting frustrated with my wife when just about any normal conflictual marriage situation emerges, and I’m tired or just not in the mood to deal with the same old shit.

When I deal poorly with these situations it’s almost always preventable.

I tend to hold any frustrations I have, inside. Those frustrations will build up until they/I explode.

Just the other day I was changing Mara and as we were finishing up she rolled over and kicked one of her legs into the poop in the dirty diaper I had put aside. Totally my fault on the placement and easily preventable. First time that’s ever happened and it will definitely be the last.

I yelled “GOD DAMN IT!” loud enough to for everyone in the house to hear. It was firm and deeper voiced than normal.

It was also 7:30 in the morning.

I took the damn thing outside to throw it away and instantly felt awful for yelling, and worse for cussing.

I came back in and said I’m sorry to my two-year-old daughter and my four-year-old son, who both just kind of looked at me with the disappointed look a parent would normally give their child when they’ve done something wrong.

I mean, I can’t imagine a worse feeling. And that outburst just came out of nowhere. Like a spasm. In similar situations it’s almost always the same thing. I say it and don’t even realize the damage until a few seconds later.

It’s like a bad reflex I hopelessly drag around with me everywhere.

It comes from me carrying my emotions inside too much and not letting them out. It has nothing to do with my kids or wife. It has everything to do with me.

It’s everything I see, hear, and do all day that I want to make a comment on, and don’t, that stores up until it comes bursting through the top of the jar. Leaving a mess to clean up in the moment, and a smell that potentially lingers for days.

Just so happens Mara’s foot in her own shit was the particular moment it managed to pop open the lid this time.

It comes from the pressure I feel on a daily basis to make sure everyone is happy. In a house with six other people beside myself that’s not an easy thing to accomplish.

It comes from moderate disagreements with my wife that I always feel I take the “L” on. Feeling like I can’t win one single time when we have a discussion about anything we may disagree on.

Never hearing “I see your point of view Jordan, let’s try things your way.”

Yet, everyone I’ve talked to that’s been in a happy marriage for years tells me the same things: Pick your battles. Learn to say “Yes dear” as a reflex. Get used to it. That’s just marriage. That’s every man, if they tell you any different they’re liars. And on and on and on.

I feel like I do these things the majority of the time and they basically get me nowhere. They just put off the inevitable. Send the problem further down the road. Like Merely surviving.

My problem is actually letting something go once it’s over. For whatever reason I have a lot of trouble doing that.

I can’t just say whatever and move on. I almost always dwell on the fact that we didn’t do things the way I would have preferred. The fact that I feel like she’s the boss all the time frustrates me inside. I have blinders on to the times we actually do things my way. Those don’t count. For some reason they never register.

And if her suggestion is wrong, or it turns out she had to end up doing something the way I said we should have to begin with, my I told you so reflexes go through the roof.

Not helping at all is my preliminary restraint on the matter. It would be a good quality to have if I never brought it up again, but unfortunately for me I instead put that I told you so bullet in the chamber and bring it back around in later arguments when I decide I need it.

Not smart at all fellas.

I go into overdrive to prove her wrong. I can’t just say who cares, let it go. Which really stinks because 99% of the time it’s about some small irrelevant issue that would make no difference in our lives whatsoever 5 minutes after it’s brought up if dealt with accordingly. But upon reacting the way I do, I’ve now made it a big issue, that sometimes lasts for days.

So the biggest questions I have are pretty simple really.

Does this make sense? Does this only happen to me? If so I need some major reconstructive professional help.

How do you deal with it? What are some ways to limit or eliminate these outbursts from happening?

Basically, what’s a fella to do?

I’m open to any at all suggestions. With the comment section being added to this forum last week I welcome any and all input.

I tell myself all the time that if I have a problem with something to just come right out and say it immediately at that moment. Use a respectful tone, bring it up, and be done with it.

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This method should prevent future outbursts of frustration from me because it will eliminate bottling everything up and holding it all in.

But it doesn’t prevent what you’ll go through in that moment, after verbalizing your view, point, opinion, or displeasure.

Especially if there’s a lot of them. I’m sure you’re wife would just love you following her around all day, harping on every little thing you’d do differently than her.

Guys, can you imagine telling your wife everything that’s on your mind all the time? I don’t think marriage would even be a thing if guys did that.

If every man told every woman he’s with exactly what he was thinking all the time, by the era in which I was born there would only be fathers and mothers, and I would have never heard of this radical ideology of something called marriage.

No one would survive that.

That’s where the picking your spots, or choosing your battles advice comes into play.

Maybe, up to this point in my life, I’ve just been a bad decision maker in those critical moments of deciding if the time is right.

I often feel like the times I should’ve spoken up I stayed silent, and vice versa.

I hypothesize that I need to find an outlet to release my frustrations. Find a way to get past the little issues without it involving my kids or my wife. Find a way to both express myself with civility and feel heard.

If I could do that I wouldn’t have any bottled up aggression waiting to bolt out at any random time something slightly annoys me, and I wouldn’t be constantly nagging my wife with comments she could surely live without.

So the resolution is this…Figure out some god damn way to get my shit together. No ridiculous outbursts this year. Anything that needs to be said with a loud voice can certainly be articulated just as well with a normal volumed conversation.

Please comment below with any suggestions, or anything that has worked for you personally if you’d have similar issues.

View Comments (6)
  • It sounds like you look at everything with your wife as a competition. You gotta start thinking in terms of WE not Me. That will help you get those outbursts under control. That and go for one long walk by yourself once a day. Don’t listen to any music or any podcasts. Just walk around to silence and it’ll hit refresh on your mind. I got three kids and a wife that works from home. I go for a 20 minute walk by myself every night.

  • As long as your self aware and conscious that all these things are going on that means your on the right path when people really mess up is when they cant see the reality of whats actually happening and think nothing is wrong with their behavior if you are trying to better yourself for the good of the fsmily and the good of yourself then your on the right track and you will get there soon.

  • Here are the first five things you should do:
    1) Wake up every morning saying a postitive mantra. Something of your choice that works for you. Repeat it as many times as neccessary until you feel it in your bones.
    2) Eat an apple first thing in the morning, its better than coffee.
    3) If you dont work out, start. If you do step up the regiment.
    4) Look your wife straight in the eye, tell her you love her and never want to leave her. Then without using the word BUT tell her you have some issues you need to address within the marriage and figuring them out will help BOTH of you be happier.
    5) Relax. Remember to breath. No matter what your kids will always love their dad. The more relaxed you are the better example you set for their futures. Learn to speak softly but carry a big stick.

    After you’ve done all these things for a month write about it or DM me.

  • I hate when wives think they run things. You gotta set them straight early or they will stomp all over ya. Don’t give in. Play the waiting game. She will give into you eventually. Stand your ground.

    —Every Divorced Man

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