Although my work is focused around men and stress, I also work with many women who are trying to get a better understanding of their man. I get all kinds of letters and emails, most appreciate the work I do. But this one was pretty hostile. I considered writing back and telling her I wasn’t to blame for her husband leaving or just ignoring the letter. Instead we had the following interchange.
She: A friend suggested I get your book to help with my husband. Yes; it is my husband who left me last Sunday. After 25 years of marriage. What a waste your book was. It is obviously written by a manipulative male stand point!!!!!! Thanks a lot! I can’t believe I bought this!
Me: Thanks for writing to me. Of course you’re angry. The kind of abuse that men cause to others can be devastating. It takes a lot of courage on your part to want to understand what is going on.
She: I am so sorry for my outburst…I went from the pathetic victim to the aggressor in a split of a second…split might be the perfect word. I really want to apologize. Your book is actually wonderful and very helpful (now that I read it all and calmed down).
Me: As I said, I know how difficult this can be. But you’ll also find the growth that will occur in your life will open to new possibilities. Good luck with your future work and I hope your husband can rise to the challenge.
She: Thank you so much for talking to me… I don’t mean to take up your time or get free counseling! Sorry about my …I really don’t know what to call …my open neediness? Thank you again.
Me: Good luck with your journey. If you ever want to do counseling, I offer it by phone and counsel people from all over the world.
She: What would be the number to call? And what are your rates? How does it work? Thank you!
Being supportive when someone is angry and blaming doesn’t always turn into new business. Sometimes it just eases a bit of the burden and pain we all carry. What’s been your experience responding supportively when someone is hostile and blaming? How has it reduced your stress level?
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/yourdon/2573762303/sizes/m/in/photostream/