Dear Vicki: My husband is a Metal. Roland is a truly kind person, but of course, has a deep appreciation for structure and doing things the “right” way. For almost twenty years he has managed an art gallery and done it very well. The gallery has grown and taken on dozens of new artists. But somewhere over the years, I think dealing with too many Watery artists has gotten the better of him. My kind Metal has become judgmental, overly critical, and even somewhat sloppy. Plus, things aren’t going as well at the gallery as they used to. I know something about the Five Elements model and have assumed that Roland has too much Metal, so have tried to be more Fiery around him (I am an Earth/Fire), but that doesn’t seem to be working. In fact, I may have made things worse. Help! Signed: Misses Her Metal
Dear Misses: Metal and Water relate on the Nurturing Cycle, so initially Roland’s relationships with his artists would have been congenial and felt supportive to them. But as the gallery grew, it is possible that he took on too many Waters without enough help, which would have made it harder for his Metal to keep in place the structure and order he needed and his customers expected. Bottom line: He became one stressed Metal. Remember, when an element becomes stressed, that stress takes them to an out of balance, dysfunctional version of their normal selves. Too much Water rusts Metal, but how that looks will differ depending on the Metal’s response to the stress.
If, in the face of stress, the distortion is toward too much Metal energy, an out of balance Metal will seem domineering, controlling, and dismissive. Conversely, too little Metal energy will usually manifest as an inability to determine what’s important (confusion), which makes the Metal more critical. It’s a subtle, but important distinction because it will determine the best way to help the stressed Metal.
In Roland’s case, because Metal feeds Water, it’s easy to assume that too much Water could create a demand that would cause him to build his Metal to keep the Water feed, and that does happen. If that had been the case for Roland, bringing in your Fire would have been a good approach; it would have helped keep his Metal in check. But it sounds like Roland has gone to a place of too little Metal, which is also understandable. Water demanding too much from Metal can easily deplete Metal leaving it in a deficient state. And that’s what Roland’s behavior seems to indicate. The fact that you say he has become sloppy tells me that he’s losing his grip on perfectionism, which is an indication of too little Metal.
The good news is that there is much that can be done to help Roland return to his kind and fully Metal self. What he really needs right now is to build his Metal energy and you are the perfect person to help because it is Earth that feeds Metal on the Nurturing Cycle. This means that instead of tapping into your Fire self with Roland, you need to tap into your Earth. Fix his favorite foods, but avoid spicy dishes because their fiery nature can decrease Metal. If he wants some sweets (which can build Earth), give them to him in limited amounts. Basically, just nurture Roland in any way that you know works for him. Metals are not, by nature, cuddly, but they do appreciate “appropriate” nurturing from an Earth. And ask Roland to drink several cups of Red Clover tea daily, which will also help his Metal regain balance.
In addition to upping your Earth energy around Roland, you can help him build his own Earth, which will also feed his Metal. If he enjoys the outdoors, perhaps arrange several getaways or day trips to nature areas. If possible, try to include mountains in the mix since the vistas they provide often feed the Metal soul. Other ways to build his Earth include lying on the ground (weather permitting) and surrounding him with Earth’s color, which is yellow (if he can stand it – Metals usually prefer the simple and clean look of white).
Because these problems originated at work, it would be also be a good idea to include more Metal and Earth energy around him at the gallery. Place metal sculptures and pottery pieces in his office to build his Metal and Earth. Avoid fountains because there’s already too much Water. And finally, while it’s not actually a Five Elements solution, I suggest you strongly encourage Roland to hire an assistant (or three). If they are all Metals, so much the better. I truly believe that following the suggestions here will save your Metal husband from drowning in the flood of Water. Good luck!