Emotional Judo: Getting Mad at the Situation
You’re Having a Bad Day
Your date cancels at the last moment because their car broke down. You were going to see a partner for the first time in forever until they got sick. Your long distance partner is going through a divorce and you haven’t heard from them in weeks. Your metamour lost their job, they have a family member in the hospital, and they been having panic attacks so you never see them anymore. Everything’s gone to shit.
You were looking forward to seeing your partner or partners and now you’re angry because your needs aren’t getting met.
Suppressing your emotions is as effective as telling someone to calm down. Instead of succumbing to your irritation and disappointment, you can use emotional judo to redirect your frustration, turning your partner back from intimate enemy to loving friend.
It hurts when your highly capable partner, who usually kicks ass and takes names, seems to be able to do it all except for when it’s your time together. It’s all too easy to fault our partners when things don’t go our way. After all, if I was them, I would have done XYZ and this wouldn’t be an issue.
“Why didn’t they get the flu shot? Why haven’t they maintained their car? There are 24hrs in a day, and they still couldn’t spare a few minutes to call? Why am I being punished for having my shit together?”
But, you weren’t there, and those weren’t your decisions to make.
Sometimes, despite best intentions, life intervenes and no one’s needs get met. You have a choice to either get upset at your partner(s) or empathize and get upset at the situation.
Getting Mad at the Situation
Getting mad at the situation means understanding that shit just happens and accepting there are things outside of everyone’s control.
The fact of the matter is that no one’s perfect. There will always be something someone didn’t do to find fault. People are busy and the important non-urgent tasks are neglected in the face of needing to get things done right now.
Even in the best of circumstances;
The healthiest people with the flu shot still sometimes get sick.
The most reliable and best maintained cars break down.
Even if there were 80 hrs in a day, they still wouldn’t call.
You’re not being punished; your partner is juggling many obligations and doing the best they can.
Everyone has limited bandwidth and when your needs slip through the cracks, it doesn’t mean they don’t care. Getting caught up in your own pain can blind you to the fact that your partner is suffering as well. Afterall, look at everything they’re going through.
Dealing With It
It is wonderful when our partners are able to help meet our needs, but it is destructive to become dependent on them.
We are ultimately responsible for our own needs.
So take care of yourself: breathe, stretch, take a bubble bath, jacuzzi, or sauna, go for a walk, have a glass of wine and listen to Iron Maiden, scream if it helps, and then get some fucking sleep.
If you’re able, maybe get out of your own head and make sure that they’re are taken care of.
“Let me know if there is anything I can do to help. If not, we’ll see each other when we can. I’m here for you.”
Daemon Black is an introverted polyamorous nerd from Austin, Texas. Biochemist, designer, and business consultant by training. Daemon has been practicing polyamory for over a decade. He enjoys learning, cooking, permaculture, raising chickens, hiking, traveling, and going on adventures.