Dear Carolyn: My wife is an amazing woman. She is beautiful and smart and a great mother. She also has a temper and does not take any slight – intended or not – lightly. She was, I guess, an alpha girl growing up.
Anyway, we weren’t invited to another couple’s party recently. We weren’t such great friends but we are in the same social circle. My wife went nuclear on the woman who threw the party, going off on her via text.
I’m fairly certain our friends know. People are starting to distance themselves from us. I feel like there is nothing I can say to my wife or to this other couple now to change the situation, and I’m worried that people will think my wife, who I think is amazing, isn’t. Is there anything I can do? – Not Invited
You sound dishearteningly like so many co-opted mates of abusive or merely volatile people, out there making excuses for them and drawing smileys on their meltdowns in hopes of proving – to your friends and families? to yourselves? – they’re really really not like this, no really.
Your wife’s outburst hurt her far more than it did her intended target – and when people are hurting themselves, their intimates must try to stop it. “X happened. Now Y is happening. This is neither the first nor likely the last time. I’d like to talk about counseling for anger management.”
It might backfire, you might become the latest nuke-ee, but it’s time someone tried to steer this amazing, immature, potentially very harmful person toward help.
This outburst hurt you, too, and not just by apparently costing you friends; volatility in general hurts loved ones by forcing them always to watch what they say. It’s a form of control. Children especially, since their health rides on the emotional safety of home. So if Mama’s temper makes any but the rarest appearances in your home, then it’s time for you to have your own talk with a professional qualified to help.
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