The Luv Doc: Strong Emotions

There is often a very thin line between intense love and intense hate

The Luv Doc: Strong Emotions

Dear Luv Doc,
When you have WW3 level fights, is there ever hope you'll learn to be nicer to each other to resolve conflict?
Scrappy

Here’s some happy news Scrappy: When fights are particularly heated that’s a good indication that strong emotions are involved. Yay! Strong emotions! That’s what you got into a relationship for, right? If I know you, Scrappy, you didn’t give up the luxury of having random, meaningless sport sex with anyone up to and including Taylor Kitsch (you know he hangs out at Jo’s right?) for some weak-ass, watered-down, limp-dick emotions. No, you wanted a supernova romance with a passion that burned like a million suns for all eternity.

Well, the bad news is that there is often a very thin line between intense love and intense hate. Cross it too many times and you’ll end up in the loony bin. Yes, love can make you crazy, but it doesn’t have to make you crazy. There are plenty of examples of healthy, loving couples who don’t get into screaming matches in Starbucks parking lots (too much caffeine?), or fist fights in elevators, or food-flinging brawls in restaurants. How do they do it? They learned to dial down the crazy.

Here’s what my grandmother told me once when one of my brothers was beating my ass: “It takes two to tango.” Homespun wisdom is the best, isn’t it? One thing that makes old folks infuriatingly annoying is that they’re right so much of the time - and in the corniest ways. I could have just walked away - or rather, I could have run like my nose cartilage depended on it, but I didn’t. I was a dumbass. I tangoed. Billy Joe Shaver didn’t have to shoot that guy in the neck in the Papa Joe’s parking lot, but (by his own admission) he didn’t want to be chickenshit. He didn’t have to go into the parking lot at all. He was a dumbass, too, but he had a real good lawyer.

You don’t seem like a dumbass to me, Scrappy. You’ve taken that first huge step of admitting you have a problem. The second huge step is to admit that you’re half of it. That’s going to take a heroic amount of honest introspection. You’re going to need to figure out what it is that sets you off and then consciously choose not to escalate. You’re going to have to use your empathy bone and your humility membrane. You’re going to have to channel that supernova of emotion into a ray of compassionate sunshine instead of letting it suck you back into a black hole. How does that saying go again? Ah yes: Where there is love, there is hope.

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Dan Hardick

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