My partner is the type who, when faced with any sort of confrontation, shuts down completely. Not only is this incredibly frustrating when we need to work through something, together, but it actually causes more issues. But another thing happens, too: I sort of lose it. OK — I totally lose it and tend to take my meek, barely there voice to levels that I'm sure make animals in distant pastures run away. If you're like me, you know the instant guilt that follows this behavior, and you probably wonder what things you're teaching your kid when you yell at your partner. I'm sorry to admit that I've only learned after-the-fact.
When I think back to all the times I've raised my voice towards my partner as my children look on, I feel almost sick with regret. I love my partner, but sometimes his tendency to shut down so quickly sidles its way in between us and stays there, festering until I erupt. Where I'm passive aggressive through most parts of the day (I'm working on it), he's nearly all passivity, all the time. It's usually not until I lose my cool that I realize how much we still need to work on (hopefully together).
I still hold tight to the memories of my parents yelling and fighting and hoped I'd never do the same and yet, here I am. I certainly don't want my kids to grow up modeling this sort of behavior, but I fear that they will. Here are some things I think I've (accidentally) taught them when I raise my voice at the man I say I love. For the record, I'm sorry.