BlogWe Are Not Brats (I Hope)

August 19, 2023by Frank Love0

In my previous blog “What Would a Great Partner Do?” we looked at the value of asking this question as a way to strengthen our loving relationship. Today’s blog examines the question of how to handle frustration in your relationships.

“I’m sick of this shi+.” This phrase is often used when we are functioning from our brat persona. We are frustrated and don’t know what to do in order to get a different result. We just want to lash out, erupt, and/or explode.

When we are being rational, which is usually the opposite of what we are doing when we say, “I’m sick of this shi+,” we are probably clear that erupting is not going to solve or resolve the issue or heal the relationship with a given person. But let’s face it: we can all get triggered. 

When we get triggered, many of us can get through that moment and return to our normal form. Or maybe even be talked down and reasoned with. However, some of us are not interested in being or able to be rational or talked down. This blog is for those individuals.

Brat behavior or our brat persona believes, consciously or subconsciously, that erupting will resolve an issue. Brat behavior is repeatedly yelling at our children when they don’t clean their rooms and then making no change in our interactions between yelling. We don’t try any new strategies to get the rooms cleaned between eruptions. We don’t offer an incentive. We don’t offer a punishment. We don’t set a schedule. We don’t make plans to help them and perhaps teach them how to clean their rooms. We simply go from one eruption to another.

Brat behavior is when we get angry with our partner because they throw their clothes on the floor after wearing them and justify our anger by saying, “How many times do I have to say it? You shouldn’t put your clothes on the floor?” As in the previous example, we do nothing between our spats of anger to change the dynamic, the culture, our partner’s perspective, or even our perspective. We somehow believe the clothes will stop being thrown on the floor because we periodically erupt.

We are not brats . . . I hope. If we are invested in creating a loving culture in our relationships, we are charged with being creators. Creation is intentional; we visualize a result, and we work toward it. It doesn’t simply come together because we get angry or erupt. At some point we take action. We work. We try new things. We experiment. These are steps toward creation.

If we find our brat persona erupting, it is a surefire indicator that we are frustrated. Let’s be reminded that frustration is God’s way of informing us that we are not prepared to deal with a given issue.

Here are a few steps we may implement when we find ourself frustrated.

1. Take a breath.

Taking a breath is a way of setting the table for something good to happen. It helps us be ready to learn. In one of my favorite Will Smith movies, After Earth, (admittedly, I may be the only person who liked it), Smith tells his son to “take a knee.” Taking a breath (or a knee) helps us quell our emotions and triggered state.


2. “There is a reason.”

Acknowledge that whatever is frustrating to us is happening for a reason. People do things for a reason. People don’t do things for no reason. We may not like the reason. We may not agree with the reason. We may not understand the reason. But there is a reason. By acknowledging there is a reason, we can begin to remove ourself from the cycle of thinking that an event is occurring because a partner, child, or person doesn’t like us or respect us.


3. “How can I help?”

If we are experiencing frustration with a given situation, we are communicating to ourself that we care about the issue. We are connected to it and presumably to a person also. Since we are connected, let’s connect in a positive way. Let’s turn the negative, icky emotion into a positive, loving, or feel-good emotion. One way to move in that direction is to ask our partner, “How can I help to move this initiative forward?” This is different from asking, “When are you gonna handle this?” or demanding, “You need to handle this.” We get to be willing to give our partner our energy.


4. Listen to the feedback and execute.

Once our partner responds and informs us of however we may be able to help them move the project forward, let’s digest the feedback we have been given. Our partner may say a litany of things. They may say:

  1. Be patient with me. I’ll get to it.
  2. Let’s work on it together tonight at 7 p.m.
  3. Nothing.
  4. Let me think about how you may be able to help.

All of these responses (and others too) are reasonable and possible. And they all get to be responded to with love and care. Let’s do all we can to act on whatever they have suggested we can do to help.

Again, we are not brats (I hope). We cannot reasonably expect that there will be a change in circumstance because we throw a tantrum and holler because we are fed up. Change takes time and patience. And both come from a place of love.

It isn’t suggested that we will not get frustrated. However, let’s use our frustration for good and to connect with our partner. The blueprint for doing so has been provided. Let us know how it goes.

Keep Rising,

Frank Love

In my next blog post, “How to Deal When Your Partner Is Lying to You — It Depends,” we will look at how to handle lying in a loving relationship.

Watch Frank Love’s presentation “The Act of Caring.”


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Each week, Frank Love hosts Zoom support group meetings that assist women and men as we work to create a loving culture in our relationships. Calls occur from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. EST and can be accessed by visiting FrankWeeklyCall.com.


  • Tuesdays—Black Women: Creating a Loving Culture in Our Relationships
  • ThursdaysBlack Men: Creating a Loving Culture in Our Relationships


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Frank Love coaches individuals toward creating a loving culture in their family. He is also the author of Relationship Conversations You Don’t Want to Have (But Should Anyway) and 25 Ways to Be Loving. To schedule a free consultation, contact Frank at Frank@FrankLove.com.

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