Do cross-cultural workers ever get angry? You know we do. In fact, unresolved anger has driven people away from their work and sent them home with their tails between their legs.
Actually, it is unrealistic to think we would never get angry. But it is realistic to learn what to do with that anger, and how to prevent explosions.
Anger has many causes, some unique to our cross-cultural context. But we may not find the help we need when we live and work overseas. After all, aren’t we supposed to be the strong ones?
I am indebted to a book called, She’s Gonna Blow! by Julie Ann Barnhill for this discussion.
Julie’s book is subtitled, ‘Real help for moms dealing with anger.’ Though she wrote the book with anger towards our children as the focus, much of what she discusses has real life applications for whatever stirs our wrath.
Continue reading 'Anger Danger'»
How do you think your supporters would react if you told them in your next newsletter that you have a pool in your back yard? Or what about taking a week’s working holiday at a tropical resort? Or that you have to pay school fees of twice their house payment for your children to attend an English language school? You really must consider their reaction.
Some of you have supporters who have come to visit you and know how you live, but most of you don’t. How do your parents or supporters, or even your sending organization think you live?
Continue reading 'Should We Tell Them About the Pool?'»
As I sit at my desk, I can see a beautiful garden with palm trees, bamboo, cactus, and at least a dozen plants I cannot yet name. The sun is shining and there are big, billowy clouds mounding up over the mountain ridge a few miles away. The sun lights one side of a high rise while shadows deepen on the other facade. And I’m thinking back on the lesson my husband taught last Sunday, We Groan, We Glory.
Continue reading 'We Groan We Glory'»
Trapped in the ruble from the World Trade Center was Police Sargent, John McLoughlin. Under slabs of concrete and metal, fighting the hopelessness of his plight, he determined to stay awake. At one point, he was imagining a conversation with his wife. He asked, “What went wrong with us?” She answered, “I think we stopped seeing each other.”
This scene, from the movie World Trade Center, has played over and over in my mind in the last week or so. How many couples could say the same thing? The huge events did not cause their marriage to be in trouble. It was slow erosion over many years. PWs are not immune. Taking a few minutes to evaluate and making slight adjustments now may keep us from ever having to admit our marriage has failed.
Continue reading 'Marriage Erosion'»
Have you ever felt like a tea kettle building steam, about to blow its whistle? Pressure adds up gradually, then blows suddenly. The expectations of others and our own expectations from within begin the process. People who depend on us and promises we’ve made add stress. Then just when we think things are under control, the unexpected happens. Add to this any illness or sleepless nights and we become brittle.
Living cross culturally adds to normal tension. Trying to make ourselves understood and understanding others is stressful. Climate, traffic, and a different work load take their toll. Social norms that are vastly different from where we grew up means a lot of re-evaluation for every decision. And there are a million decisions! With a lack of support systems, it is a wonder any of us function normally.
Continue reading 'Stress and a Friend'»