From Finding Your Own Way to Sneaking a Peek

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“Suzanne Gelb Image”

”Rudeness in Front of the Children — What Can I Do?”


Q: Dear Dr. Gelb:

I am feeling quite angry right now. Last night our family was to go to a dinner party after church. Because of a busy afternoon we had 2 cars and I, with one daughter, was to follow my husband, driving with 2nd daughter, to the dinner because he knew where to go and I did not. In the space of maybe 4 miles he managed to zip through a yellow light, leaving me at the red light and then turn Right at a red light even though the sign said “No Right Turn on Red,” again leaving me behind. The first time he pulled over and waited for me, the second time I had to call his cell phone to find out where he was.

This type of behavior is typical and I am working at accepting the limitations of this relationship. Sometimes, however, the rudeness, especially in front of our children, makes me quite angry. I don’t think there is anything I can do … is there?


A: Dr. Gelb says:

Dear Stranded:

It is always interesting to me when people expect someone to change their behavior, even though experience tells them that this is unlikely to occur. This is not unlike the situation you describe. One explanation for this could be that when someone is aware of the limitations of another’s behavior (in your case it sounds like it was almost predictable that your husband would behave irresponsibly and not wait for you) and the person with the awareness does not change their attitude toward this behavior (i.e., anticipate it and work around it), what tends to occur is an unpleasant experience (such as the one you describe) that tends to feed a martyr image. This is a subtle concept. Specifically, this behavior offers one an opportunity to continue to see the other person in a negative light and then to martyr (suffer) over it. Why martyr? For some, this offers a sense of solace when they get sympathy from others for how bad things are, or even just feeling sorry for oneself tends to offer some people a temporary sense of consolation.

Those who have freed themselves of this type of “poor me” approach have considered a positive resolve — not for the other person necessarily, but for themselves. If I were in your situation I believe I would opt for not in the future agreeing to follow the irresponsible individual in a car. I would buy myself an inexpensive map, know where I am going, and let go of this false dependency that I have on the irresponsible person.

”Inappropriately Curious — How Can I Fix This?”

Q: Dear Dr. Gelb:

I’m a 41-year-old male and I am happily married. My wife and I have a good sex life. We don’t quarrel, we don’t fight, and I couldn’t be happier with my family. However I feel so ashamed because when I’m in a public place or restaurant and my eyes catch female legs under a table, and I must be honest that when they spread their legs, especially with a dress on, and I hope it is ok to write the next part, but I need to say that I get curious and gaze at their crotch. I’m afraid I’ll get caught sneaking a peek.

Dear Sneaking A Peek:

I suspect that you are probably not the only person who experiences what you describe. For many people this type of behavior is simply a natural curiosity. For others it can be a morbid curiosity (e.g., a type of curiosity that was not fulfilled during the early years), depending on the conditioning they experienced during childhood about sexuality. Where guilt and shame are experienced, the curiosity is more likely to be of the morbid type. Here, a few sessions with a competent sex therapist could possibly free one of these inhibitors.

”’Suzanne J. Gelb, Ph.D., J.D. authors this daily column, Dr. Gelb Says, which answers questions about daily living and behavior issues. Dr. Gelb is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Honolulu. She holds a Ph.D. in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Human Services. Dr. Gelb is also a published author of a book on Overcoming Addictions and a book on Relationships.”’

”’This column is intended for entertainment use only and is not intended for the purpose of psychological diagnosis, treatment or personalized advice. For more about the column’s purpose, see”’ “An Online Intro to Dr. Gelb Says”

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