Disclaimer: I am not a trained physiologist, licensed therapist, experienced marriage counselor, nor wise in the ways of relationships… I’m barely housebroken! So, posting an illustration about marital matters is more than a little uncomfortable for me, especially since my perspective here is from the robot’s point of view. I am an introvert, reserved and awkwardly quiet at times. I don’t allow many people to become close to me or show much emotion, so when I lock my emotions away, they really get locked away deep! Is this a good thing? Depends on your perspective.
First Responders interact, see and experience the worst of humanity, and to do so and still live a somewhat normal life outside the circle of fire, EMS, and police is a challenge at times. In my case, my wife wants to hear about my day and the calls that happened; she does not, however, want to know any of the details – none! So, I’m guilty of shutting off all emotions because I’ve walked in the door angry at yet another overdose where the victim’s child is calling their estranged father from the living room telling him how “mom has done it again” …or upset that my crew just worked exhaustively hard to save a life from an MVA, only to fail. This list can go on. However, my wife hasn’t earned the bad emotions that I’m still dealing with, so I’m not going to share them with her – so, it gets bottled up and I become robotic until I can function as a human being and her husband again (that’s my perspective). Unfortunately over time that on-off switch becomes harder to find, or you simply don’t want to turn your emotions back on again in fear of reliving the cause of the ill-feelings to begin with.
This illustration is intended to get a conversation started – for you, for your crew, for your family… for me and my wife. I don’t have any answers, and I certainly have not figured out how to turn off my emotional detachment switch when my wife needs for me to be in the now. I think the important thing is that I recognize that she needs me to be emotionally engaged in our marriage, and that I must find ways to separate home-life and fire-life. And after 25 years of marriage, she’s more than earned the right to demand this, though she doesn’t.
Like all-things relationship, this will be difficult, but worth fighting for. I’m trying – I will fail more than once – but I’m trying.
STAY FIRED UP, and keeping fighting for what’s important.
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