His Bad Mood Doesn't Have to Mean Yours

Dear Karen,

 I am at the end of my rope.  My husband is coming home at the end of the day in such a bad mood, and he’s taking out all his crap on me.  I don’t deserve this, and I’m not going to take it.  I know he’s in a new job that is really stressful, but why does he have to dump on me?  I have enough of my own issues during the day, and it would be nice to have him come home and at least smile at me, or thank me for the meal I cooked, or something…anything other than being such an a-hole (sorry…can you tell I’m frustrated?). I’d love to get some help in dealing with this. – Francine

 Dear Francine,

 I’m glad you wrote to ask for help – you’re dealing with a tough situation (and one that, as the economy gets more dicey, more couples may end up dealing with).

 Of course you’d like to have him come home and be in a place to be able to connect, and to appreciate you, and to be the man you fell in love with.  Very understandable.  And, it’s not what you have on your hands right now.

 I have to make some assumptions, as I prepare to address your question: 1) you love each other, 2) he’s been a good husband and good friend to you, and 3) you want to stay married.  


 Even though it may be hard to do, given the mood he’s in when he comes home, I’d suggest you really work hard to find compassion for him and what he’s dealing with right now. 

 Since we’re all usually making up stories as we go along – and they create how we feel – the first thing I’d suggest you work on is to make up a story that inspires and draws out your most loving and compassionate self.  I’ll bet that describes you at your very best, and one of the reasons he fell in love with you (and married you).


 Whenever we’re called on to do something hard/unpleasant, etc., one of the things that can pull us through is having a clear sense of what we will gain from it (there’s an acronym for this: WIIFM, or “what’s in it for me?”).

 As you look at what it will take for you to navigate this challenging situation with your husband, what possible benefits could there be for you? 

 I’ve got some ideas:

 1. As we already touched on, it could be a place to strengthen/grow/develop/stretch your best self, which you then get to have access to in all parts of your life.  We’re always with our perfect teachers.

 2. Is it possible that you may be relying on your husband too much for all your needs?  Is this a time to take some risks with friends and family members and ask for what you need, so there’s less pressure on your husband to be what you need right now?  Please don’t misunderstand me here: I’m not saying you should not have needs from your man; I am saying that there’s wisdom in having several sources for what you need, so when one source (your beloved) is tapped out for a while, you aren’t left without.

 3. Are there ways you aren’t communicating very effectively with your man?  Is this an opportunity to (re)learn how to share your feelings, and to ask for what you need, in a way he can hear – and respond to successfully?  Keep in mind how important it is for men to feel they have the ability to be successful, and how quickly they’ll shy away from something that feels like a no-win proposition.


 I like to keep in mind a little concept when things feel hard: we’re never given more to handle than we are ready for.  Trust that you are attracting this experience because you are ready for the lessons and the growing that are coming.  It is giving you a chance to grow into more of the woman you really are.  Isn’t that just glorious?