He’s Helping and She’s Taking it Personally

This issue of “Scrumptious Relationships” is inspired by this question, sent in by Susan:

“How can I learn not get defensive and angry when my fiancé tells me what to do, and how to do it? He’s very intelligent, an engineer by education, also younger than me.

I know that I have felt for years (from childhood) that others do not value my intelligence and my knowledge and experience. I try to remember that when people I love are telling me what to do and how to do it – that they’re showing their love, but often I can’t do that and react with anger, sarcasm, and/or defensiveness.”

This is a great question! And there are a few things that are going on:

  1. Taking a man’s help personally, being offended, getting angry, etc., is about your own self-esteem issues (as Susan acknowledged). Make sure you’re paying attention to where you’re already feeling less-than somehow, and do the work you have to do so that you’re in good shape with your sense of yourself and what you have to offer.
  2. When a man is “all in”, one of the things he’s going to do is take on accountability for your happiness and your success, to a certain extent. It’s his job. And men are wired to do a good job. So he’ll try to do that with you. Let him.
  3. Men are natural problem-solvers, and when you present a problem – even if you don’t ask for his advice or help – he’s probably going to chime in to make sure that the issue is solved efficiently.
  4. Make sure you’re taking care of the relationship (and him) by asking for what you need (which could include asking him to let you figure something out on your own because you want the challenge or the growth experience).
  5. AND also take care of the relationship by appreciating everything he does to make you happy. And if you’re looking carefully, you’ll see that he’s doing a lot to (try to) make you happy. If you appreciate his efforts, he’s probably going to do even more – because he loves appreciation. It fuels him.