Ways to help an over-emo­tional woman with­out flee­ing to the pub

Saturday Star - - NEWS - ADELE GREENE

EMO­TIONAL lit­er­acy (EQ) starts with nam­ing the feel­ing. Re­la­tion­ships give us so many op­por­tu­ni­ties to grow as this week’s ques­tion re­veals.

Sam from Hill­crest, near Dur­ban, asks: “My wife is im­pos­si­ble to deal with at the mo­ment. A new cleaner started at home. I don’t know how to help her. I don’t know if it is the full moon, or, if it is her monthly cy­cle that makes her over-emo­tional. I made a deal with her that I won’t go to the lo­cal pub to avoid her. I don’t un­der­stand what she needs, can you ex­plain it to me?”

It is clear that you are in a sit­u­a­tion with lim­ited op­tions. In every sit­u­a­tion there are three ways to re­spond:

1. We can avoid the sit­u­a­tion and pre­tend it does not ex­ist and carry on.

2. We can “dance” with it and es­tab­lish where the boundaries are.

3. We can face it di­rectly. I un­der­stand you’ve al­ready elim­i­nated op­tion one by not go­ing to the pub.

This means you ei­ther have to test the boundaries, which might cre­ate more emo­tions for her, or find a way to deal with it. Since I can’t make that de­ci­sion for you, I will at­tempt to ex­plain what she needs.

The most im­por­tant thing a woman needs in a sit­u­a­tion like this is to be heard and val­i­dated un­til she can come up with her own so­lu­tion. When we can do some­thing or a sit­u­a­tion feels more in con­trol, this em­pow­ers us. The idea is to deal with the sit­u­a­tion with­out push­ing her boundaries and cre­at­ing more stress. When it be­comes eas­ier for her, it will be eas­ier for you too.

A woman who is out­wardly emo­tional is not able to con­tain her feel­ings and deals with them by her­self. What she needs is a per­son to fa­cil­i­tate the shar­ing of emo­tions.

She needs a “safe” time and place for a ver­bal ex­change.

With her feel­ings out of the way, she can ac­tu­ally deal with the task at hand, which in this case might be the new cleaner you men­tioned. Most peo­ple with built-up emo­tions are un­able to deal with sit­u­a­tions prac­ti­cally.

Give her an op­por­tu­nity to speak to you with­out hav­ing to re­spond to any­thing that she says. All you need to do is to give it your full at­ten­tion, and I mean your full at­ten­tion.

Per­haps you should ask her: “Can we speak about this for 15 min­utes?” Give her 15 min­utes and if she is not fin­ished, say to her that if she wants to talk some more you can find another time to lis­ten to her, with­out of­fer­ing ad­vice. The idea is not to re­solve the sit­u­a­tion, but rather to help her blow off some steam.

If the sit­u­a­tion is such that she still can­not re­solve this within her­self, it will help her to start nam­ing what she feels. The idea is not to be her ther­a­pist or to cre­ate an emo­tional de­pen­dency, but rather to cre­ate lit­tle chunks of time for her to help her deal with her emo­tions the mo­ment they arise.

If you are able to re­frain from giv­ing ad­vice and re­peat her words back to her, for her to hear her­self, she will grow on an emo­tional level. You could start a sen­tence with: “I heard you say you feel…” Lit­tle by lit­tle it will feed back to her where she is.

You are not a ther­a­pist or a coach and I am not sug­gest­ing that you do any­thing else but be the wit­ness for her emo­tions and thus val­i­dat­ing them. From here you can and will dis­cover what she needs.

I also sug­gest read­ing Can You See Me Naked: Grow in a Con­scious Re­la­tion­ship which is avail­able on re­quest from any lead­ing book­store or my web­site.

Adelé Green pro­vides an­swers here when posted on www.adele-green.com/ askadele/ or con­fi­den­tial, fee- for-ser­vice, in­di­vid­ual coach­ing via Skype to men and women. She is a trans­for­ma­tion spe­cial­ist coach and au­thor of Can You See Me Naked. Also lis­ten to #360Brunch on mix93.fm on Sun­days.

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