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Logic vs Emotion


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Old 21st March 2019, 5:57 PM   #1
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Logic vs Emotion

I need some perspective on something. I am a logical thinker…an analytical mindset. My wife is more an expressive / driver style, driven more by emotion.

I have written here before about how she can get super upset at me about something seemingly small, which after I have probed some time later, we are able to talk more calmly and realize that she was actually upset about something totally different, and something quite legitimate, and didn’t realize it and took it out on me for any reason at all she could find. Sometimes the real underlying reason is also something to do with me, and sometimes it is something completely independent of me…work, extended family, friends, etc.

Anyway, we have talked it over many times. She knows she does this. Lately, I have found myself getting angry back at her as soon as she expresses anger at me. Gone is my old approach of apologizing, telling her how I will fix it, and saying sorry she feels that way. Gone are also my questions on how she is feeling about work, extended family, etc. to get to the bottom of it. Now, when she gets upset at me for something, I find myself getting immediately angry inside that I am likely unjustly persecuted for something that may not have anything to do with me, and I get combative back. I believe it has grown frustrating for me to have to take hell from her I may not deserve and have to probe to help her find the reason. Problem is, sometimes I do deserve it. Sometimes she IS upset at something to do with me and accurate in her comments, but the problem is I have lost the ability to trust what is motivating her mood in such cases. And so we find ourselves in a situation where her past instances of misaligned anger have conditioned me to now expect it and react accordingly…not good.

We talked calmly about this. We are very much in agreement of the problem statement, what has happened in the past, what she does and how it has tailored my current reactions. However one place we seem to still disagree on is whether this is just who she is or not. She still gives the eventual reason of “prior to our fight I was upset because my aunt said X, and baby made a mess here, and at work this other bad thing happened.”, as though that should be the acceptable answer to legitimize her behavior and move on. I see this information as a completely valid explanation of why her mood was off, but not as information that excuses the behavior at all.

To summarize it: She thinks that if she’s mad at X that doesn’t involve me, than it’s a valid reason for why I should accept that she treated me like hell. She’ll apologize, and that’s the end of it. She said that’s just the way she is. A situation unrelated will always influences her overall mood, and so it has to be expected that she may sometimes lash out over otherwise small issues.

I on the other hand don’t see a frustrating problem in on part of my life as a justification to treat people differently in another when the two don’t relate. I can appreciate why a difficult day at work may make me grumpy and feel like being an a-hole to my family, but I think we all have an obligation to one another to treat each other appropriately within the context of our interactions with THEM, not unrelated problems of our OWN. In my view, acting in a manner outside the context of the current situation (i.e. letting other issues unrelated to the current situation influence how we handle it), is going to be viewed by others not privy to those outside influences, as irrational behavior. And that’s how it feels when she goes off on me for something small…like she is being irrational. In my view, this isn’t a case of ‘just the way she is’, but rather it’s a case of how she has grown to handle stress, anxiety, anger, and it’s an unhealthy way to handle it. It’s a totally understandable way…I get it…but it’s not an ideal way to handle it and there are means to fix it. Being a smoker isn’t ‘just the way someone is’, it’s a learned behavior that has become a norm, that can be changed because it’s unhealthy. In a similar manner, I believe a anger management course would do her good.

I share this hear because I am interested in the dialogue it will bring. I feel how I feel, but I also know that my way of thinking is based in logical, unemotional, face value thinking. That approach is mine, but no less valid that other thinking styles out there based on emotional input, relationships, people driven factors, driven results, etc. So while the above is my thinking, I don’t want to be dismissive of my wife’s comments and expectation that I can just accept this as the way she is and want to hear others’ thoughts and experiences.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 21st March 2019, 8:26 PM   #2
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You say this, "I am a logical thinkerÂ…an analytical mindset." Then you say this, "Lately, I have found myself getting angry back at her as soon as she expresses anger at me."
Sounds to me like you're an emotional person who suppresses their feelings, justifying internalizing your own emotions as a superior position of being a logical thinker. Your entire post exudes emotions of frustration, contempt, and anger; coming off as lacking empathy, arrogant, and holding a personal perception of superiority over others.

Honestly, I think your wife does need to change how she deals with her problems. Taking out personal frustrations by treating people around her like crap, is never OK. However, I don't think you can help her unless you fix the issues with yourself. You are never going to be able to relate to her until you realize that you aren't any better than her. You deal with your problems by suppressing your feelings, except now they're boiling over, and you are losing control of yourself.

I think you should go to therapy, and get those feelings out to someone, and stop suppressing them. You're already doing this here, because with your rigid thinking and foregone conclusion of being in the right, there is no other reason other than to vent your rage. The truth is evident.

Learn to maintain composure and calm, and use this to assert how you expect to be treated. The one thing you can do, is tell people how you expect to be treated, and stop tolerating bad behavior. To do this, and have people listen, you can never be treating someone poorly while you share your expectations of personal treatment.
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Old 21st March 2019, 9:24 PM   #3
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I really like your analogy of "being a smoker" a lot. I say this as somebody who can relate to your wife. When I am in a frustrated mood, I can blow up at my husband. Then, later, I will feel sorry knowing he didn't deserve it.

The reason I think the analogy of being a smoker is because it is recognizing two sides to the situation. This is something that can and should change. This is also something that's not as simple as saying, "I'll just stop." Maybe some people can just stop, but for many of us it is hard work. We may need outside support.

My husband has suggested an anger management course to me. To be honest, I always say I should and then get intimidated by the thought of following through. I don't think it's an unreasonable suggestion though.

I recently bought a book on anger management as a first step toward solving the problem. It has helped some. That may be something else you may want to consider suggesting to your wife.
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Old 22nd March 2019, 1:26 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by BMI03 View Post
So while the above is my thinking, I don’t want to be dismissive of my wife’s comments and expectation that I can just accept this as the way she is and want to hear others’ thoughts and experiences.

Thanks in advance.
First off, kudos to you for putting in the effort to work through this. A lot of spouses would simply use this as a reason to escalate their response, not helpful for either party.

I will ask you this - why do you expect her to manage her response when you don't always see the need to control yours? In other words, you know this is part of her personality, even if you see it as a negative. As a result, seems you should be able to say "here it comes" and cut to the chase - the anger isn't about you.

Since she was raised by an abusive and critical father, my wife can be very sensitive to how things are said. I've learned to adjust to this in any argument or discussion, as not allowing for this aspect of her emotional state would simply lead to her shutting down. I prefer communication, even if it requires an accommodation on my part.

If you're waiting for someone to tell you you're right in an absolute sense - congratulations, you are. The better question is whether your position is productive. Something to think about...

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Old 22nd March 2019, 5:22 AM   #5
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I prefer logic and reason to emotional outbursts too. I find I can't really get along with overly emotional people in general bc I find them draining, a bit erratic and manipulative. Most of my friends are fairly level-headed, zen people bc I relate to that more. I don't find this to be a weakness or a strength - just the state of things.

My daughter and one of my sisters are very prone to emotional outbursts; my sister especially. Because we really care for each other a lot, we have learned to communicate better and learn from each other over the years.

We changed the dynamics of our sibling relationship by turning to each other for support in our own individual strengths.

She comes to me every time she needs a concrete solution to a problem, or when she gets emotionally overwhelmed - it could be a quick text of reassurance or a lengthy phone call but the point is she knows I'm here no matter what for support.

I go to her when I need to make sense of what I consider to be an overly emotional response - she deconstructs the situation for me, explains what signs I've missed and how I need to validate her feelings and explain mine in a more visible, outspoken way.

With my daughter, I make a point of checking how she feels every morning and every evening so there are 2 times in the day she knows she can offload her emotional stuff in the calm and without judgement, and she knows I care for her emotional wellbeing. This creates an atmosphere of trust. There still are outboursts (she's 9!) and frustrations on my side, but that never lasts bc the dynamic is a positive one.

No one is perfect. We all, every single one of us, have failings and weaknesses and things we don't do too well. When the overall intent is to understand each other respectfully and without judgement, I really think it goes a long way.

Maybe you could check up on your wife out of the blue, just for a 'feelings' chat? I don't mean a relationship chat; just a 'how are you feeling today'?
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Old 22nd March 2019, 8:38 AM   #6
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l know how hard marriage is believe me , been there.
But sorry it just beats me why your even apologizing for her bs and then trying to fix it or trying to help her figure it out.
Seems like she's the one that should be growing up owning her crap and doing the apologizing and fixing to me.
How on earth does that all get to be your job ?
Maybe a bit of responsibility for her actions is what she needs.
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Old 22nd March 2019, 10:05 AM   #7
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Maybe a bit of responsibility for her actions is what she needs.
Quoted for TRUTH.

While I was reading your post and how you simply don't have the patience anymore to continue being her verbal whipping boy, all I kept thinking was, "yeah...that **** gets REAL old after a while, doesn't it?" Been there, done that. And I'm here to say, it gets real old after awhile.

Like you, I'm patient and even-keeled, and I've been in the position of being the occasional verbal whipping boy for someone in my past. I was able to do it for several years but the time came when I couldn't anymore, and didn't WANT to anymore and my anger would rise incredibly quickly when he would start berating me for something because he'd had a bad day at work or whatever. Yup, it gets incredibly old after awhile.

HE was the problem, not me.

SHE is the problem, not you.

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Old 22nd March 2019, 2:38 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Thegameoflife View Post
You say this, "I am a logical thinkerÂ…an analytical mindset." Then you say this, "Lately, I have found myself getting angry back at her as soon as she expresses anger at me."
Sounds to me like you're an emotional person who suppresses their feelings, justifying internalizing your own emotions as a superior position of being a logical thinker. Your entire post exudes emotions of frustration, contempt, and anger; coming off as lacking empathy, arrogant, and holding a personal perception of superiority over others.
Thanks for the analysis. It looks well thought out.

You are right, I am emotional for sure. While I approach situations as mentioned, I don't want to imply I am void of emotion. The better way to put it is that if you have ever performed on of those style "What social style am I?" assessments at work, I am dead on analytical. Those are of course situational, dependent upon situations, and many other variables. We all have elements of all areas. While I may be an analytical thinker, the emotion is there. It is definitely a suppression. I can't peg entirely why, but for the most part it's because I don't personally see valuable results from approaching a debate from an emotional angle. I can make logical arguments, but usually struggle on how to make an emotional argument. To someone's later point, maybe that's the gap and making it more clear how this hurts me and is making me feel is part of the solution...that emotional view I am less familiar with. I think in my current case the emotional pieces are seeping out because I am also not seeing progress with the way I have been handling it, expecting her to see the logic in why treating me this way isn't right.

I don't think I'm in a position yet where I am losing control. The extent of the 'anger' at her I referenced is texting back "What did you think was going to happen?" vs. my normal "Ah, I'm sorry it made you feel that way, and apologize for my part it in. How was the rest of your day?". But your point is a good one...that's more standing up for myself in the moment than I would typical do, and less controlled than my normal responses to such situation. Usually I try to accommodate, ride out the storm, and then I get her apologies later when she calms down.

And to further agree you made a good read, I have gone to counseling on the suppressed feeling bit. I stayed in a marriage probably a decade longer than I should have trying to put up with a situation I shouldn't have put up with. In my mind I was trying to be loyal and supportive on the surface while festering with building resentment underneath.

In my current marriage I believe it's come a long way. It started with this misdirected anger and my just taking it. It's been a lot of conversations to get to the point where she sees what she does because of standing up for myself. However you are right that it still comes from a place of logic vs. emotion, but I think there is a balance I am hitting that's sharing how I feel without it being unbridled emotion or 'losing control'.

As for the your comments on feeling I am of a superior position, I have not been told I have a superiority complex, but I will not say you are wrong either. I will say that yes, I do think I am right, that's fair...I don't think I deserve to be treated like hell because of something unrelated to me, or left to exhaust emotional energy to solve a problem I am told I have, only to be told hours later that it wasn't a problem after all, but rather something else. But, I am here because I want to understand from others what they have to share about how she may be feeling also, thus my question.

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Old 22nd March 2019, 2:40 PM   #9
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I recently bought a book on anger management as a first step toward solving the problem. It has helped some. That may be something else you may want to consider suggesting to your wife.
A book is a great idea. I totally agree that changing is a dial, not a switch. It has to move gradually. My wife and I had that very discussion where she told me she is doing better at trying not to misdirect anger. I agree with her, it's getting better every day. Like that, the conditioning I have received to be speculative of where the anger is coming from will also take time to go away while I get more confident in the face value of her comments when she is upset.

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Old 22nd March 2019, 6:15 PM   #10
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I'm an emotional person and used to struggle a lot with anger. I would lash out at my (logical) husband in the beginning of our relationship, when I really just wanted to know he cared. I've moved past the anger and lashing out, because I realized it isn't worth it. I try to be more straight forward rather than making him play guessing games on why I'm upset. This most likely stems from me adopting some more logical sense- what's the point of making him spend 30 minutes trying to figure out the issue when it would be more productive if he could spend that time and energy helping me work through it?

Some advice for you would be try to ask your wife about her day before the "blow up" happens. If you see any patterns in when your wife becomes angry, you could actively try to help her by talking about the main issue before her frustration is taken out on you.

Now I'm not saying your wife is in the right, it absolutely isn't fair of her to take her unrelated frustrations out on you. But marriage is a partnership and I think you both owe it to each other to help one another weather the storm.

Therapy sounds like it could be beneficial for both of you without a doubt. However, it's difficult to resolve the issue when it isn't stemming from you, but from your wife. Sometimes a break (vacation, date, experiencing something different) can help shrug off the mindset you've grown accustomed to and get you set on the right path.

What your wife has gone through doesn't justify her taking her anger out on you. Even if it actually is something that you did, she needs to work on communicating that better.

My two cents on emotional and logical people (MBTI and personality types) is that you aren't exactly one thing. It's exceedingly rare to be 100% emotional or 100% logical. People are complex and sometimes certain situations bring out different parts of yourself, like how you mentioned that you're having a more emotional reaction to your wife taking her anger out on you. You also adopt "masks" in certain situations. I'm typically emotional, but in a professional environment I become more logical. I also don't think there's a "right" way to be. There are pros and cons to a rational approach as well as the emotional approach.
Women are definitely looked down upon for being more emotional, but it isn't a bad thing. While your wife becomes overly emotional in a negative way, there are also positive ways this could play out. Affection, love, and caring to name some. Just food for thought.

Trying to get someone to change shouldn't just be for yourself, but for them and the relationship you two share. If you need to position anger management or therapy to your wife, definitely don't give her an ultimatum. But position it as something to help both of you.
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Old 23rd March 2019, 5:38 PM   #11
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Your wife isn't just "emotional" ...

Your wife is prone to emotional outbursts and lashing out at others ... and completely self-unaware. She's prone to emotional outbursts and lashing out at others and uninterested in learning to identify the cause of her outbursts so that the outbursts don't damage her relationships. And she's uninterested in changing or repairing the damage to your relationship when she has an outburst. She instead, gets defensive.

Adult human beings ... correct that ... human beings going back to middle school ... are expected to not respond to negative feelings from one situation by lashing out at someone in another situation. Now it's true that middle school kids struggle to make this distinction ... They'll come moping home and go silent with the parents because someone teased them in school. But part of growing up is learning to tell your parents that someone teased you at school, and learning to not allow the teasing in one context to ruin your ability have fun at a party in some other context.

This destructive pattern of hers was worth a (nonviolent of course) knock-down, drag-out, go-to-the-mat, uncompromising argument early in the marriage. One of those arguments where you say I cannot accept this behavior once more. Control it or I'm gone. That's how bad the behavior is and how unaware of herself she is--only an extreme response would catch her attention.

Somehow you let this behavior slide, so now you're on the defensive about complaining and objecting.

You may need to walk out of the room when she lashes out at you. You need to take some action (other than complaining) so that you aren't silently putting up with this behavior. Stop the constant arguments. Instead, pick a moment, pick a day to go to the mat.

You may need some therapy to continue working on standing up for yourself. This logical-emotional framework of yours does not work any longer. It's blocking you from seeing the problem--your wife's immaturity .. and your own attraction somehow to people who act out like she does.

Plenty of people are emotional ... and completely sensitive to the feelings of others. In fact, skillful expression of emotion (blowing off steam in non-destructive ways--like in the car on the way home) is what allows people to be fully present with others in a good way.

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Old 24th March 2019, 12:01 PM   #12
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As for the your comments on feeling I am of a superior position, I have not been told I have a superiority complex, but I will not say you are wrong either. I will say that yes, I do think I am right, that's fair...I don't think I deserve to be treated like hell because of something unrelated to me, or left to exhaust emotional energy to solve a problem I am told I have, only to be told hours later that it wasn't a problem after all, but rather something else. But, I am here because I want to understand from others what they have to share about how she may be feeling also, thus my question.
I'm glad to have helped.

You don't have a superiority complex. You believe your perspective is superior. Every person has a perspective of life. Perspective is a result of knowledge, experience, emotional states, brain structure, and many other factors. To each person, their perspective is the truest thing they know; although all perspectives are plagued with reliability issues. The problem with believing your perspective is right, is that you're falling into the pitfall of trying to convince her of your perspective. What I have learned is that we can never convince someone of our own perspective, only help them develop theirs. Pride in your perspective does a disservice to you.

When it comes to your wife, she seems to come to her senses when she calms down. Your goal should be to only talk when she isn't yelling. If she hits, you leave. Tell her you want to talk, but you won't put up with yelling. When she's calm, and apologizes for her behavior, you show her love. If she's out of control, do not give her affection. Rewarding a person when they behave poorly, will guarantee it continues. If she yells at you, tell her you won't put up with it. If she continues, leave. Don't get mad, she's angry, not you. Just keep leaving. Make it clear that you are willing to discuss anything bothering her, but if it devolves into abuse and yelling, you have to shut it down. Be consistent.

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Old 24th March 2019, 1:35 PM   #13
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She's misdirecting anger part of the time, and that is a problem. It's not uncommon, but it's odd that she doesn't realize it's a problem and at least think before she pops off.

I think marriage counseling would straighten this out, though. She just needs to know it's not okay and needs some exercise to make her count to 10 or something before she speaks when angry. Very basic.
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Old 24th March 2019, 3:21 PM   #14
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To me it's is the way she is or at the least it is the way she chooses to be

And it sounds like you don't like it. I would say unacceptable but you married her so it sounds like you are currently accepting it...

Imo if somebody is behaving in a way you don't like after you talk to them about it there are only two main choices. You accept it or you leave

If I had a significant other who was in a pissy mood for whatever reason I would ask them ONE TIME "honey what's wrong". If they don't tell me yet remain in a pissy mood I would leave them alone and when they are ready to talk we can talk.

Now what I won't tolerate (meaning I will leave his behind) is cussing me out, putting me down or being mean, abuse, consistent or prolonged not resolving conflict, being ignored, throwing and breaking sh*t, unwarranted yelling, withholding affection/sex, or getting mad often at petty sh*t. I don't do drama.

When someone we love does something we don't like we can come up with logical reasons on how they are wrong and what's the right way to do things. But it doesn't matter if they choose to be who they are anyway lol. So if you already talked about it then all you can do is accept or leave.
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Old 14th April 2019, 1:29 PM   #15
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Has your wife ever tried tracking her moods versus her period? Since writing my last post, I've learned a lot about a condition I believed I had called PMDD. 5% of women have this condition, and 90% of them don't know they have it. Most women who have it will be angry and irritable from the time of ovulation until a day or so after their period starts, so usually that will be half the month. I've been tracking my moods and they definitely seem to fit the pattern. I never realized this before. Like your wife, I thought there must be something else making me angry.

I met with a therapist who said that somebody with PMDD can't change all of their emotions through therapy. Therapy can only teach you how to manage the behavior somewhat. I will need to look at biological/medical treatments for the PMDD. Even with medical treatment, she said I will likely still need to warn my husband when my bad days are coming up and that he needs to not take things personally if I blow up at him on those days.

I've just been thinking over your post and realizing if your wife is in her mid-30s there is a good chance this may be what she's going through. It tends to worsen throughout a woman's 30s and 40s and only goes away after menopause.
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