Mr. and Mrs. Grinch

***Please don’t use this as a license to become abusive in any way—including verbally. Being overly-vocal will not give you the life you want.***

Christmas-time is one of my favorite times of the year. After finishing the holiday preparations, I sink into the peace-on-earth this time can bring. It’s the beginning of a restful season for me. I love it.

But today my inner Grinch came out. I’d just received a deep paper-cut (one of five not-so-minor scrapes and bumps these last few days). On top of feeling rushed and headachy in a stuffy car, I reached my limit.

“What’s with all the cuts and bruises lately?” I shouted while trying to stop the bleeding. Then I realized I ran the risk of taking it out on my husband, so I took a moment to calm down.

My mind wandered to the past when I did snap at my husband—not in an abusive way, but enough to finally get his attention. See, I’d sat on my automatic reactions for 15 years, only to have him grump freely whenever he felt like it. He rarely aimed it at me, but sometimes he did, and then he’d revert to his usual laid-back, happy self, leaving me to pick up the pieces.

I used to feel so stuck, forcing myself to be sweet Mrs. Santa next to his Mr. Grinch. It felt unfair. Over time my Mrs. Santa didn’t hold up, and I saw myself growing into a bitter, old woman.

So in our healing years, I finally let some of it out. I figured, “As long as I’m not abusive, why can’t I do the same thing he does?” Plus staying quiet with my complaints only gave us a dead marriage, so I used the tools I’d found and let some of it out.

To be clear: I didn’t allow myself to go overboard. I just no longer carried the unhealthy burden of silence.

And this is what happened:

  • It helped our relationship because it breathed new life into it.
  • It helped him because he no longer had to guess about how I felt about him.
  • It made me bolder in other areas because I was more relaxed, less fake, and more real.
  • Interestingly, it removed a physical ache from my throat I’d carried most of my life, possibly caused by holding in my voice for so long. After a year of speaking up for myself, that physical ache finally went away.

Knowing I have this option allows my Mrs. Grinch to better cope with his Mr. Grinch when needed. Then we snap out of it and become lovers again.

And now we both feel peace in our house.