Learn to recognize and process your anger. For most Nines, anger is very threatening. Yet it is only through anger that you will connect with your inner power—it is the fuel that will burn away your inertia. (Wisdom of the Enneagram, 336)
The first time I met my husband, it was in a local bar called The Sweetwater Grill. They have amazing squash enchiladas, and serve a mean fried bologna sandwich. You can get it solo or with a bottle of Dom Perignon. :)
But, the point is, I had met him online and arranged to meet there in an early afternoon for a Coke (I had tea, ‘cause that’s how I roll).
We talked a little bit and compared MBTI types, and found we are the same type. Hmmmm….
And then he asked me what was clearly a very important question to him, and one that utterly mystified me: “Tell me about your temper.”
He might as well have said, “Tell me about your dogsled.” I was utterly puzzled and unaffected.
I said, “What? I don’t really have a temper.”
He said, “Oh, come on, everybody has a temper.”
Me: “No, not really. I just don’t get angry very often.”
Him: “Okay, so what would happen if we had a big argument and I yelled at you?”
I had a physical reaction to that: serious discomfort.
I said, “Oh, that’s completely different. If you yelled at me, I would emotionally cut you off immediately, and then I would physically leave your space as soon as I could possibly do so. I can’t stand yelling.”
Clearly, he heard something that worked for him in that. Because he said, “Good. I don’t yell. And I don’t like to be yelled at.”
I said, “I don’t yell, either.”
And with that, the deal was sealed.
Okay, not really. But I think that was possibly the most important piece of first information that could have been exchanged between the two of us, and we were engaged within three weeks.
What he was saying was, “I can’t be in a relationship with people who yell and try to hit me (as had happened recently). It makes me too uncomfortable.”
And what I was saying was, “I can’t, either. I won’t yell at you. Furthermore, I won’t even be able to cope with you yelling at anyone else. This will cause me some problems in the future, when your adorable 9-year-old becomes a teenager. Also, I don’t know how to be angry, at you or anyone. I will hurt myself with it, but no one else ever knows.”
And that’s the story of how I was joined in a wonderful marriage that has reached the age of 14.5 years to date. We were two people who found each other and whose past experiences had made us perfect codependent partners.
My Teacher says it’s because we had lessons we needed to learn from one another. Maybe!
What happened next was that, as life and time and teenagerness progressed, as other shocks and sorrows came our way, I knew I needed to be able to manage my paralyzing fear about anger – mine and others’. I started a relationship with the Energy Work teacher mentioned above. For the last however many years, I’ve been doing the work.
And, verily…the inertia is being beaten back. I can say to my husband, “That makes me angry!” and not feel physically sick. I have a sense of agency about my own life.
And, he just called and invited me for an after-work date at Sweetwater. Life is good.
Fried baloney, anyone?