Drs. Barbara and Michael Grossman discuss the reasons why your partner “overreacts” and how to handle them.

Hi, I am Dr. Michael Grossman, I’m Dr. Barbara Grossman, and we’re here to talk about falling in love forever with the author’s of The Marriage Map Road to transforming your marriage from ordeal to adventure.

And we’re happy to talk to you about how to create your marriage being much more joyful, fulfilling romantic, and we have many different practical things to teach you. But today we’re gonna talk about why is your partners so sensitive and so irritable?


 Well, if you find yourself irritable or you find your partner irritable, it’s probably because you are not, talking about the things that are bothering you. And they’re adding up. And instead of resolving your feelings or concerns, you’re just being cranky.

And it’s time to take a break…

and find a time and sort yourself out and get ready to share with your partner.

So in general, we can say you’re never upset for the reason you think, and what that means is that the present upset comes about because of what’s been happening in the past.

In the past, you’ve been hurt. You’ve been injured emotionally, and that set up the present upset that once again you’re in the same kind of situation and you’ve had enough. So we can recognize that whatever’s going on now is created from the past, from problems and upsets that accumulate in the past.

So really, you want to recognize that fault both for yourself and your partner. The reason why they’re so upset and so sensitive is because of the past because of things that happened in the past.

One very important thing you have to do is listen to your partner

try to understand why are they so sensitive? But why they so upset? Because it’s not coming because of that little thing that happened right now, but it has a long history.

And where is that history come from? Not only from the stuff that happened in the last six months. But it may have been six years or more likely when you was six years old.

I think about the upsets that you had when you were little. That creates your present problems and present sensitivities. So let’s use Barbara is an example.

So when I was a kid, my upsets were that my mother was very controlling. She was the big boss, the big general. And she ran the house the way she wanted to. And you better do it her way. So I became very sensitive to being told what to do and how to do it. So don’t you dare tell me what to do. We have to do, because if you do, I’m gonna be very upset.

So Barbara knows that when she wants to tell me what to do, she better walk on eggs and be really gentle. Because I’m just waiting to be an upset. That all you’re telling me what to do? Nobody tells me what to do.

My mother used to do that. I am not going to let anyone do that now because I’m gonna be tough. I’ll not let anyone walk on me anymore. That makes sense.

It’s good to be aware of what your partner wants and what you yourself need…

And you do that by connecting the dots with your feelings to your history and these experiences come up over and over again. So if you miss it this time, I’m sure it will come. You’ll come up to bat again to experience, something uncomfortable that ties back to your past.

So what are Dr Barbara’s upsets? When she was a little girl, she had a variety of losses. Her natural father stopped coming to visit when she was two, when she never saw him again.

Her mother and grandmother raised her after that, and then when she was eight years old, her mother remarried and she didn’t have that intimate experience of her grandmother. Her grandmother then left her place of living, and she was living with her adopted father, and she became a second class person.

All of a sudden, the father that she was so happy with had impacted her. How would you explain that? Well, you know, fortunately for me in the long run, it is a blessing. My mom remarried and had a very happy marriage, and my mom and my step, Dad, who’s really my only dad…we’re close and had a wonderful life together, but it definitely took me out of the front seat of my mother’s life.

And I lost a piece of her, and so the impact is great, especially because I’m an only child. So I was just left out and those are very sensitive experiences for me –

I don’t like feeling left out, and I don’t like being left behind

I like being included, those experiences that keep coming up. It’s amazing how often those feelings come up in life. That includes myself and to express my desire for inclusion because people don’t read my mind. I’m kind of quiet and introverted, and people think I’m just fine by myself, but I really like to be invited in, so I need to I’ve had to learn in life to speak up and make sure that happens for me.

So what? I don’t get all complicated and hurt and upset, And so if you know, if you don’t have the skills to connect those dots and reflect on what they mean and articulate what you want in the way of behaviors that take care of your feelings. Then you’re you’re a ticking time bomb for crankiness and eventually a huge upset that could have been avoided if you were able to say in each instance what you want to need.

So what’s really real critical in a romantic partnership after you get out of that initial phase, where you just all in love and you just just love everything about them and they love everything about you? Then get into a phase where you’ve been together for a while and these sensitivities come up and they will come up because you’re a time bomb.

You’re a time bomb. That’s gonna happen.

It’s not about the weather – it will happen no matter when. And so the critical thing is to recognize when these things come up. What is it that your partner needs from you? They’re not doing this to torture you, although it seems that way the time they’re actually doing it, because that’s a need they have from their early childhood experiences.

They need different things. I need to feel like I’m in control and that no one’s making me do things like my mother And so Barbara has to be very cautious about that and to understand I’m not doing it to punish her. But rather that’s just my crazy makeup from my early childhood and vice versa.

I have to realize that Dr. Barbara has sensitivities about loss. She needs to feel included. She needs to feel a part of things. She needs to feel connected emotionally.

I can’t just sort of treat her like I would the way I want to be treated. It’s not weird if I treat her the way I want to be treated, it doesn’t work, and vice versa. So we have to learn about each other and learn our sensitivities. And we have to recognize we’re not being that sensitive because we’re trying to upset the other person.

But rather that’s our weird makeup. We have to learn to accept each other and to do the things that make each other happy, even though it’s not what we want to have done.

So in our classes we teach, you had to understand yourself. How to connect the dots on how to share with your partner? What will make you happy? What specific behaviors do you want that work?

We’ll make life work for you

and have you feel very grateful and connect you with your partner these are important skills so that you can share this information with that upset and learn to win with each other regularly.

Well, there you have, a big understanding of how to create a romantic relationship that really works. We encourage you to take our classes and fall in love forever.

They are four Sunday nights, two hours each. We put them on zoom so you can watch them and listen to them as you like from your home. We encourage you to read our book The Marriage Map, and we look forward to speaking to you again.

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