Wednesday, May 21, 2014

overreacting & the BLOW OFF

If you are female, then chances are you've been told by your boyfriend, husband, fuck buddy, or male bosses that you are "overreacting" about something.  As women, we are told this all the time.  During a recent argument with my husband, when he threw the O word at me, I simply said:  "No.  I'm not overreacting, I'm reacting."  It kind of shut him up and I thought it was the perfect comeback ever-- and then I heard Ramona Singer say the same thing on Watch What Happens Live about throwing a wine glass in someone's face after they splashed her with water and I thought: shit.  Are men right?  Are we all a bunch of overreacters?

Yes and no.  Obviously, this is one of those case by case kind of things.  And one where hindsight plays a huge role.  It usually takes me twenty-four hours after the fact to figure out if my reaction was on par with the injustice committed against me or if I just got carried away in the argument.  If I surmise that I went overboard, I usually always fess up and apologize.   
That said, I still don't want to be told in the moment that I'm overreacting.  Guys: I know it's tempting to say it and I know most of the time it's true, but in the heat of a fight, all you're going to achieve with the OR defense is causing your wife or girlfriend to have another bad reaction.  I promise, not many of us hear "you're overreacting" and say: you know what?  You're completely right.  I am overreacting.  I'm so sorry.

Instead, you know what we think when you tell us that's what we're doing?  You don't understand why we're upset.  You don't get what you did that made us upset.  And in the process, you're diminishing our feelings and the fact that we are upset. 

I'm not saying it's right. In a perfect world, we would all be able to take an objective look at our feelings, our hormone levels, and the real reasons we're upset-- but we're not always capable of that.  And sometimes, if I may, some dudes have a tendency to under-react.  Like, situations that would make the average human being feel incredibly sad don't seem to illicit much of a reaction from a lot of the men I know.  Under-reacting can also be a shitty thing too.

SO what's the solution?  The only thing I can come up with is a "reaction hotline."  Mid-fight you could slip into the bathroom, call a 1-800 number, simply explain the situation to an objective party and they can tell you right then and there if you're having an appropriate reaction. Actually, someone please start that hotline.  I will add it to my speed dial.  But don't be surprised if I go ape-shit on the phone if you tell me I'm overreacting.

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