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Mongers, we all have them. We have talked a lot about what to do with your mongers. But what happens when someone you love is being attacked by their own Mongers. Here’s a story:
Linda and Jeremy are driving to Jeremy’s parents for a family reunion. All of Jeremy’s siblings are coming. While the kids watch a DVD in the back Linda and Jeremy discuss the family reunion. The closer they get, the more stress Linda picks up from Jeremy. She knows his brother stresses him out. She knows they have some silly competition about ‘who can be more manly’ and she know that as soon as they arrive at the in-laws her loving, caring kid attentive husband will turn into this sexist, ‘women do all the work’, jerk. She tells herself to be understanding. He is after all dealing with his Mongers and if there is one thing Nancy has told her it is to be compassionate. But it drives her crazy! Knowing that he becomes this totally different person around his brother and then at night when it is just the 2 of them he is over run by mongers, feeling like a bad husband, bad father, a bad man in general.
Generally in this situation, one of 2 things happen. 1. At the event when they get alone time, Linda confronts Jeremy about what a jerk he is and how he turns into a sexist pig whenever he is around his brother. or 2. Linda sucks it up, she realizes Jeremy is struggling with his mongers and even though it drives her crazy she says nothing and uses all her energy to be compassionate for Jeremy.
Compassion is a wonderful thing to have for yourself, for your partner, for all the people in your life. However, compassion does not mean that you get disrespected, treated like crap or made to feel like an idiot. I would like to throw out an option 3. Clearly, Linda knows this is a problem. It isn’t the first time Jeremy has had this dynamic with her family…in fact, it is EVERY time. Unfortunately once, Linda gets home she is so thankful that they are home that she forgets that the dynamic of the family even happens!!
In Option 3 Linda talks to Jeremy about his mongers at a time when the subject isn’t so charged. To have a conversation NOT when they are on their way to the event, or during the event or even on the way home from the event but when they are both calm, connected and have some space. So a few days after the event once Jeremy’s mongers have settled down and they are back in the normal swing of family life, Linda broaches the subject of how she is feels about Jeremy’s actions around his family. Linda is calm relaxed and compassionate. She doesn’t shame, attack or belittle Jeremy. Rather she shares how she feels and what she observes. She approaches it from a team perspective “what can WE together do to make sure your mongers don’t go crazy and we get to have the loving caring Jeremy around”. Rather than having an argument they have a loving, discussion implementing guidelines for what they can do differently next time (e.g. have a signal for when Jeremy starts acting out, give the Monger a name so Linda can lovingly refer to the monger rather than belittling Jeremy, plan times when they can just be alone as a family away from Jeremy’s family so he has a chance to regroup). The next time they are headed to the family reunion, on the way there Linda and Jeremy can review the guidelines they put in place and they can remind each other that it is a PROCESS and it won’t go perfectly this time but over time working together they will not be miserable at family events.
Linda doesn’t have to take on the role of super compassionate victim or extremely angry wife. Rather, she can lovingly confront her husband speak her needs, and develop a plan for together overcoming the Mongers.
I would love to hear from you in the comments:
Can you relate? How have you handled similar situations in the past?
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