Explosive anger causes concern for easygoing fiancée
DEAR ABBY: I’m engaged to a wonderful guy. He is very sweet, and I’m beyond thankful for him. I wouldn’t trade him for the world. But he has a character flaw that’s hard to ignore. When he gets frustrated, he screams out loud and takes a while to get himself together.
When he lost his phone on a plane and was angry for hours, he pouted and scowled like the world had just ended. I have a very easygoing personality, and I don’t understand this type of behavior. (He contacted his phone provider, and a new phone was delivered to him within 24 hours.)
When I talked to him about his anger, he said sometimes people get frustrated and show emotions. He added that he has noticed this issue, and it’s something he’s been working on for years. What should I do or say the next time we encounter a mishap and he becomes angry?
WONDERING IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
DEAR WONDERING: Your fiancé may be a perfectionist or even have a touch of OCD, which is why he is so hard on himself when he makes a mistake and becomes frustrated. For his own sake (and yours), he needs to find a better way of venting his emotions.
While anger is something everyone experiences at one time or another, most people start learning to control it during childhood. While pouting and scowling are acceptable, your fiancé “screaming” over losing his cellphone seems over the top. Not only that, it is intimidating.
My booklet “The Anger in All of Us and How To Deal With It” contains suggestions for managing and constructively channeling anger in various situations. It can be ordered by sending your name and address, plus a check or money order for $8 to Dear Abby Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447.
Your fiancé needs to learn to channel his emotions more constructively because if he doesn’t, it may eventually drive others away. We live in increasingly stressful times. It takes self-control as well as maturity to react calmly instead of exploding. Being in touch with his emotions will not only help your fiancé calm himself without losing it, it will also help him maintain the respect of others.
DEAR ABBY: I have a friend and co-worker who likes to play with my hair, rub my back and put her hands on me in general. I am not a touchy-feely kind of person with ANYONE, and it makes me very uncomfortable when she does this. Is there a polite way of telling her to stop without making her feel uncomfortable or hurting her feelings? I’m not a “beat around the bush” kind of person, and I sometimes lack the tact of putting things nicely.
DEAR NO TOUCHY-FEELY: To express your feelings would not be lacking in tact; it would be setting a boundary. Try this: “I like you very much, and I know the feelings are mutual, but I do not like to be touched, and I want you to stop doing it.”