Last night I was teaching a class on conflict management and asked the group about their super powers. In particular, I wanted to know what unique super power each of them possessed that they could abuse in such a way as to reduce their connection with other people.
I got crickets. After a couple of minutes of silence, my husband chimed in and volunteered to share MY super power. Seriously. According to my husband, my superpower is my tendency to perhaps, just maybe, exaggerate the danger of a situation to such ridiculous heights that the possibility that there is any danger present AT ALL is missed. He is right. It is my superpower. After he gets out of the dog house for talking about my power rather than his, I might tell him so! Evidently...this super power can be a lot to live with! For years my husband traveled weekly for his job, usually flying. I rarely flew on a commercial airline and when we fly together, I make his experience a living hell...according to him.
It begins days before we travel. I write all our children love notes, just in case I never see them again and dispatch these off in early morning emails on the day of the flight. I insist that Pete and I consider our footwear carefully in case we need to exit the plane in haste with the cockpit on fire. (Who wants to burn the bottoms of their feet?) When we select our seats, we need to be within two rows of an exit to give us our best survival rate. No window seats for us, what if the window broke in mid-flight? (Who is laughing now? Google Southwest Airlines.) I would get really irritated if he didn’t read the inflight instructions and watch the instructions given by the steward. For a man accustomed to calm travel every week, this is overkill.
Here is what a healthier me can do. I can make the same choices for me and stop managing my anxiety by controlling his perspective. We will be flying this weekend! Wish me luck!
P.S. Update: without prompting, my husband, knowing my flying fears, paid EXTRA for us to sit in an exit row. Some cynical types may think the guys was going for extra leg room; I choose to believe he did it because he loves me and thinks I am cute.