“That Sort of Jab Fell Under the Category of Unnecessary Roughness” | Couple's Net | Chandrama Anderson | Palo Alto Online |

Local Blogs

Couple's Net

By Chandrama Anderson

E-mail Chandrama Anderson

About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ...  (More)

View all posts from Chandrama Anderson

“That Sort of Jab Fell Under the Category of Unnecessary Roughness”

Uploaded: Oct 15, 2022
- Claire Cain

This line jumped out at me from Cain’s novel. I’m not talking about football. Maybe you know what I mean because you are the recipient of those jabs. Or maybe you’re the one jabbing, and either you know what you’re doing, and keep choosing to jab your partner, or you’re oblivious to your jabbing behavior.

Either way, it’s a problem, and you need to take a hard look at this. If you’re jabbing with unnecessary roughness, you’re being emotionally abusive to your partner (your self-talk is probably self-abusive, too). It’s likely that when you were a kid your primary caretaker(s) were emotionally abusive directly to you, and/or to one another. You learned jabbing with unnecessary roughness by seeing and hearing it. Maybe you used jabbing as a kid to survive in your family system. And maybe you needed that coping strategy then. You don’t need it now. You’re an adult, and it’s time to clean up your own behavior. It’s time to call bullshit on this intergenerational trauma. You can stop it.

There are constructive ways to say what you need, how you feel, what you want (CouplesNet is full of information to help you.). No one gets what s/he wants all the time. Making others feel small, belittled, or scared, or as though they’re walking on eggshells around you is a shitty way to act. If this is you, or could be you, own up, be a Woman or a Man about this and get help to change.

I know you would not be acting this way if you knew how to behave otherwise. This is not a judgement. It’s a reckoning for you to be honest with yourself. Or at least to hear your partner asking for a change in behavior.

Jabbing doesn’t make you a bad person, it makes you a person enacting bad behavior. So, get help to knock it off.

Profusely apologize to your partner, show genuine empathy for how this behavior has affected him or her, and ask for forgiveness. Don’t expect instant forgiveness. You will have to show over time that you’re making progress. Partner, don’t grind down green shoots (efforts).

Remember, you will still make mistakes as you’re learning and practicing. Partner, don’t expect perfection. Both of you be aware of this: under stress, jabbing may be the immediate fallback behavior because the limbic (emotional) brain will kick off in 200th of a second. Breathe and give yourself at least 10 seconds to let your cortical (thinking) brain come online. Huh, 1/200th of a second vs. 10 seconds. Make repairs with one another right away if you can. If you need 30 minutes to calm down physiologically, give the time-out signal, and take the time to soothe and sort yourself out. Know it’s your responsibility to come back in 30 minutes and make an emotional repair.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Cynthia , a resident of San Ramon,
on Oct 18, 2022 at 10:51 am

Cynthia is a registered user.

Thank you for this article (especially before the holidays)!

The tongue is a very powerful tool!

As adults, we all need to be fully aware of our language/behavior towards one another at all times...and remember, our children are watching, listening and learning.

We set the example!

Follow this blogger.
Sign up to be notified of new posts by this blogger.



Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Palo Alto Online sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

Burning just one "old style" light bulb can cost $150 or more per year
By Sherry Listgarten | 12 comments | 3,267 views

Banning the public from PA City Hall
By Diana Diamond | 27 comments | 2,370 views

Pacifica’s first brewery closes its doors
By The Peninsula Foodist | 0 comments | 2,096 views

Holiday Fun in San Francisco- Take the Walking Tour for An Evening of Sparkle!
By Laura Stec | 8 comments | 1,935 views

Premiere! “I Do I Don’t: How to build a better marriage” – Here, a page/weekday
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,549 views


Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund

For the last 30 years, the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund has given away almost $10 million to local nonprofits serving children and families. 100% of the funds go directly to local programs. It’s a great way to ensure your charitable donations are working at home.