Managing Stressful Events, Together 5 warning signs that your spouse may not be good in a crisis. BY ANDREA HUTTON
If your spouse doesn't respond to things well when it's not a crisis, you might consider putting together a plan for when the the stress ratchets up.
“ Instead of being the calm in your storm, he may bring on the thunder and add to your emotional burden.”
Sometimes the very things we find attractive in our spouse may actually be warning signs they may not be great traits to maintain a healthy marriage. Those high expectations that make him a success in business, may turn to unnecessary pressure in a crisis. That dramatic flair that makes him or her exciting, may actually keep him from being a comfort to you in a time of need.
Here are five warning signs that your spouse may not be good in a crisis.
1. He can't go with the flow. How does he react when things don't go according to plan? When you get stuck in traffic does he freak out? How about when plans change at the last minute? What does he do when you're late? If your partner sweats the small stuff, don't assume he'll rise to the occasion when there's a real crisis. Instead, what you see is probably what you'll get. Most people don't change personalities during a crisis. In fact, most revert to type. The guy who freaks out when there's a change of plan, may not be able to handle the uncertainties of a health crisis, or have the flexibility he needs to be a great parent.
2. He has friends or family he chooses not to speak to anymore. This is a big red flag. Anyone who is capable of cutting people out of their lives has the ability to see the world as black and white. The truth is that relationships, and life in general, have a lot of gray matter. The more forgiving someone is, the more empathy they have and the more supportive they are likely to be. Make sure you communicate and ask why he's pushed someone away and ask yourself if you'd do the same.
3. He is a perfectionist. There's a big difference between someone with high expectations and a perfectionist. A perfectionist is defined in Merriman Webster Dictionary as: a disposition to regard anything short of perfection as unacceptable; especially : the setting of unrealistically demanding goals accompanied by a disposition to regard failure to achieve them as unacceptable and a sign of personal worthlessness. Need I say more? When a crisis hits, sometimes all you can do is get through the day. A perfectionist can't let go of expectations and that pressure can be debilitating for someone going through a difficult time.
4. He talks much more about himself than you to his friends and family. A supportive partner will be excited to share your accomplishments. He will be sure to mention how well you're doing at work, or even some small thing that you've done that he's proud of. An unsupportive partner will fail to mention both the big and small things that happen in your world. Instead, he will focus only on what he himself has done. This type of partner may resent the attention you receive during a crisis.
5. He's dramatic. If your guy is the type who seems to create drama wherever he goes, a crisis may bring out the chance for even more. Instead of being the calm in your storm, he may bring on the thunder and add to your emotional burden.
So, now that you see the flags, what do you do? It’s not time to make a crisis on the home front, but it's good to take stock and notice the patterns. One of the best things to do is ask yourself how you are in a crisis? What do you need during your times of need? Maybe you are the strong one and you like it that way. Or maybe you get tired of always being the one who has to be stoic. Maybe the more intense he gets, the calmer you get and his demeanor doesn't stress you out. If, on the other hand, you wind each other up, it may be time to think about making a change and visit a counsellor or therapist to discuss plans of action during stressful events.
Andrea Hutton is a critically acclaimed author, speaker and breast cancer survivor. Her work on breast cancer and women’s wellness has been featured such varied outlets as: "The Washington Post," "Women’s Health" and "Psychology Today." As a breast cancer survivor, and patient advocate who has “been there, had that” Andrea is on a mission to empower and educate women on how to take charge of their own health. Andrea is the author of "Bald is Better with Earrings – A Survivor’s Guide to Getting Through Breast Cancer" (HarperCollins 2015). She is also a State Leader for the Young Survival Coalition, a graduate of Duke University and the National Breast Cancer Coalition’s prestigious Project Lead advocacy training program. For more information visit www.andreahutton.com.