Anger and Love

click here Of the many problems I experience with my emotions is the blending of Anger and Love. When my parents were mad at me I learned about the emotion of anger.  Since there wasn’t an expression of love in my house as I grew up, I never experience the blending of anger and love before.

enter site Some how I equated anger with not loving.

Now my Wife enters the picture

go to link My wife is constantly mad at me.  Whenever my wife is mad at me, that loving emotion I experience from her is removed from my world.  Since she is mad at me, I perceive that she no longer loves me (which is a very scary thing for a child to loose the love of his mother1.  At this point in my shadow world I end up using my passive aggressive skills (which end up making things worse, like pouring gasoline onto the fire):

  • Try to convince her that I didn’t do it
    • I didn’t do it
    • It’s some else’s fault for her anger
  • Try to convince her the anger she feels isn’t valid

As you might guess, these never work. I’m just a terrified child in shadow trying to gain the love of his mother.

Reality

In reality, my wife loves me very much.  She can hold an angry emotion and still love me.  During one of our fights2, my wife got really mad with me. She stormed up stairs as a total rejection of her love for me (again my perceptions/projections). She came down moments later while she was still mad, put her arms around me and said, “It makes me mad when you do X, but I still love you.”

At this point, my world crashed. I broke down like a little baby and cried and cried. I couldn’t understand how she could be mad at me, but still have love for me.

Many times, we would have arguments that would go unsolved. My perception was she hated me and wanted nothing to do with me. With our unresolved argument, my wife would go about her life like normal and ask me what I wanted for dinner (or something inane like that). I’d stare at her in disbelief. One time I even mentioned, “How can you ask me that? Are you not aware that you’re mad at me?”

I never understood the combination of Anger and Love.

Mixing Anger and Love

Anger and Love
You can be angry with someone and love them at the same time.

After many fights/arguments, my wife realized she needed to use the phrase3, “I get really mad at you when you do X, but I still love you.” After she used it on me, when she came down (from upstairs) and gave me a hug, she looked me in the eye and told me this. That’s what really broke me down. This phrase is used constantly in our house; with each other and with our children.

I’m beginning to understand that a loved one can be angry with someone and love them at the same time. My second born is at the age of understand that I seem to be stumped at. He also cannot understand the mixing of anger and love. There have been many times when I’m mad at him and he responds with the same anger. I tell him, “I’m mad at you when you do X, but I still love you.” He responds with, “No you don’t! You don’t love me! You’re mad at me!” My only response is to give him a big hug (which is a bit hard when you’re mad).

This concept really hit home when my wife found a picture of an angry old man. This man in his anger was still holding an umbrella to protect his wife while he sat in the rain. With all the anger this old man had for his wife, he was still loving enough to protect her.

It’s amazing how an image can explain the mixing of such emotions.  Now we use the phrase, “I’m mad at you, but I still love you.”  Or we hold up an imaginary umbrella for the other person and that explains it all.


1 http://www.revistas.unp.edu.ar/?how-to-write-an-application-letter-nigeria Yes, she’s my wife but she is also a mother figure. At this point, I’m in shadow and dealing/projecting childhood emotions, so she is a mother figure. This might be great content for another post.
2 source site I’ve forgotten what the fight was about, but I probably did something wrong, got caught and tried (as a terrified child) on of my passive aggressive methods to bring back my mother’s love.
3 It still makes me tear up just thinking about it.

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