Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Veil of Anger

Why is it that the people you love the most make you the angriest?!

I could hear it in his tone—he was angry with me…again. We were on the phone talking about our days: 

“What did you do today?"

"Not much."  

"What are you doing right now?"


"What are your plans for the weekend?"

"Don’t know yet.”  

 He was clearly avoiding whatever it was that was really wrong.

What was wrong? I’m trying to figure this out as I’m listening to the rhythm of his breathing mixed with the feedback of dead air over the cell phone.

Then it comes—what I’ve been anticipating and dreading at the same time. The elephant finally shows its face. I feel my heart quicken as I adjust my position of the phone on my ear (this is going to be a long conversation, I may as well be comfortable). The actual words he is using are not as important as the tone that he’s using to utter those words. His low, withdrawn, monotone voice indirectly screams frustration, impatience and hurt.

He describes all the reasons why he’s angry and my defenses immediately flare.  I have a rebuttal for everything he’s throwing at me. He couldn’t possibly be angry with me! I couldn’t possibly have done anything wrong! Being perfect doesn’t allow for many mistakes, so I’m taken aback that he’s even upset with me. So I begin to get angry with him! Who does he think he is?!

Back and forth we go like a swing set on an elementary school playground. We are getting higher and higher—more and more defensive; more and more angry. One of us needs to concede before this gets out of control. I feel it—he’s wavering! His voice begins to soften a bit as he seems to be opening up to my point of view. This behavior immediately makes me back down as well—not because I’ve won the argument and I can move on, but because I realize that this man loves me so much that it hurts him when we argue. He’s so opposed to the pain that he is more than willing to put aside his frustration, impatience and hurt in order to love, build and grow. His humility immediately brings to my attention that not only am I not flawless, but I could actually learn a lot from him…

Why do the people we love the most make us the angriest? Because we know that no matter how angry we get, we always have the love to fall back on!

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