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Emotional Landmines

landmines primary

It’s a typical Thursday evening. Mayhem has ensued in the homework area while I am cutting up the salad ingredients. Bickering fills the kitchen and my tolerance is rapidly dwindling. “Really,” my little voice inside says. “Why must siblings be so mean? “ Then I think, “Is it a hazing type of thing? Breaking one another in for life, perhaps?”  I sigh in frustration and summon the Buddha inside me (the one that I connect with in yoga class) to calmly address the battle between our daughters.  My husband walks in. I am relieved to see him, as he is always a clean slate – a virgin unscathed by the five-hundred peacemaking missions I have overseen since car line pick up at school

I open the drawer to set the table and see myself in a spoon. “You look tired,” I say to myself. “Wonder why?” I ponder sarcastically.  He comes up behind me, wraps his arms around my waist. "What a sweet greeting for an ordinary night ," I think, but I have stuff on my mind. Unaware, he teases.  “Why so serious? You might think your life is so hard!” Heat creeps up my neck. I am boiling. He has no idea that he has walked into a landmine field and now he’s stepped on one. I am feeling exhausted in my mother role, and I feel he is minimizing it.  Explosion.

landmines secondaryWomen. We are complicated creatures. We carry stuff. Not that it’s good that we do, but we do. We have emotional landmines. I have them and so does everyone I know. You can be walking along all naive and happy  – but if you happen to step on one of my landmines – boom! Look out!   

I do work on my landmines, which really are these:  insecurities, damage from the past, childhood wounds, regrets and fears.  But a healthy person constantly challenges their issues and lessens the number of landmines in their field.  Couples need to have an appreciation for their partner’s landmines. Sometimes I see my husband hover over one and retract his foot. Now that is a good husband.

The greatest challenge is to know where the landmines are. Take the time to explore your partner’s wounds, issues and sore spots – and know where to side step. So much damage can be done if a partner carelessly treads without regard for these. One of the kindest, gentlest things a partner can do for the other is to honor their partner’s “works in progress” while focusing on the things they shine at and have overcome.

Tread lightly and honor your mate.  And your mate, in turn, will honor you.