I’m not entirely sure what men are thinking sometimes when, while trying to address an obviously concerned and potentially upset woman, they feel the need to toss in the incendiary, “you are coming off a little nuts right now.” Once the word “nuts” or “crazy” is brought into the conversation, there is often only one direction things can now go—downhill, and fast.
It’s kind of like going into a crowd of people during an emergency and calmly trying to herd them out of a smoking building by yelling, “Fire!” Obviously people are not going to stop, look for the closest exit and walk in single file, being polite and thoughtful of their neighbors as they make their way out. No, people will go into a chaotic panic, running around like chickens with their heads cut off, cutting off people—possibly injuring them—because they are reacting with their fear instead of acting rationally and practically to get as many people out of harm’s way in the safest way possible.
It would seem that in a relationship red alert, the wisest thing would be first to slow things down, to speak slowly and calmly. Ask questions so that you’re clear what is really being asked. “Are you asking this because you think that I want to be with someone else right now, or are you asking this because you are concerned that I haven’t been completely honest with you?”
Someone with his own severe trust issues, one would think, would be especially sensitive and empathetic to respecting why another person would ask questions if they were concerned about confusing, seemingly contradictory statements or situations. Most often, in healthy relationships, these misunderstandings are frequently due to that quirky little he said/she said, where one person’s “hooking up” means “casually dating on and off” to another person, one’s “just friends” means “friends with benefits” to another, “hanging out with some friends” means “going out to a platonic dinner with my ex, but I’m afraid you’ll freak out so I’ll just buffer it by saying others are coming along”… I think you get the picture.
Of course, rational thinking often goes out the door when one person throws out a zinger meant to sting in the heat of emotion. “What’s your incentive to keep lying? What do you have to be ashamed of?”
It’s hard not to react when you feel personally attacked. And it’s hard to hear what is really a need for reassurance when someone demands to know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth…particularly on an issue that’s been covered more than a couple times before. But it’s even harder to take back the emotional scars of searing words you really didn’t intend to ever say out loud.
Over the years, I’ve painfully been learning the lesson that being right isn’t always the point. It’s often not as important to an
argument discussion as simply letting each of your voices be heard. Of course there are huge things you absolutely can’t and shouldn’t just brush under the rug. Yet when it comes to the past and a difference in choice of words, is it really worth feeding the flicker of a flame you will only have to both fight to try to put out?
As Buddha said, “Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.” Fellas, crazy is not that one word.