Friday, February 20, 2009

A few thoughts on anger

A few thoughts on anger in relationships..........

Anger is an emotion that is always masking something else...usually fear. In relationships, when we spend so much time with someone and we know what their buttons are, it's easy to use them as "punching" bags for our frustrations. We take what we call anger and we throw it at each other....inducing an instant gratification which causes a feeling of intense satisfaction to ensue. It also gives us a sadistic sense of joy to watch someone else experience what we think we are experiencing see someone crumble and fall. This kind of deflecting behavior is not right however it is human...we all have done this at one point in time, some more than others. It's important to acknowledge that this behavior is not acceptable however find a way to "accept" it in your heart that the other person is hurting. It's unfortunate but he/she does not know a better way of self-expression than through a lashing of the tongue and throwing of fire balls, metaphorically speaking. When someone you love comes at you like yourself through these steps mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

1. Acknowledge that this isn't really about's about them.

2. Understand that this person is hurting right now in some way or might be that they were treated unfairly, no one acknowledged them, someone else made them feel small, their ego has been bruised, etc. They are now wanting to flex their powers within to take revenge in order to make themselves feel better. They have chosen you for numerous reasons, one of which is that they love you and believe you will forgive them and the other (sadly) is that you are an easy target because they know from past experience that their tantrum will take effect on you, just as they hoped. It will produce an instant cause and effect for their ego-pleasing satisfaction.
Kinda like eating that cookie you have so dreamed of tasting....even though you beat yourself about your diet. You struggle and struggle, you call yourself names inside, you believe you are weak...then you break down and eat it..not even savoring the taste but rather guiltily shoveling it in....then afterwards the regret falls into place...more beating up...guilt,'s an endless cycle which is why at some point one needs to learn effective ways of healthy self-expression.

3. Build a mental shield or bubble around yourself and allow the other person's comments to roll right off..imagine them being diffused before they even reach you.

4. Listen and acknowledge the other person's feelings without succumbing to admittance or surrendering.

5. Ask them if they are finished and kindly say" I am sorry that you feel this way. I have listened to what you have said and I understand how you feel that way. I wish to have a chance to speak so you can hear my feelings as well. I love you and I want to know what is behind this. What happened today? Tell me about your day." You want to get inside and find out what they are trying to hide...sometimes this can take some teeth-pulling but even just a gentle explanation that you understand they are afraid of something will strike a chord with them. Are they afraid of losing their job, losing you, not measuring up, etc?

6. Ask probing questions in a gentle manner. If this doesn't work, let the other person cool down. " When you have had time to calm down, I would love to speak to you about your feelings." Then walk away. Don't look back, don't beg, don't barter...and say it calmly.

The point of this is to limit their behaviors from affecting yours and to genuinely help someone feel validated. My SO does this often.....bad day at work, boss yelling at him, loss of pay...he is quick to turn it around on me the second he gets home. I know we are not the only couple out there that has issues like this..especially in today's economy.

Fear is a horrible horrible illness that can rob you and others of happiness. Don't take your emotions out on someone else to make yourself feel better. Journal it, dance around to loud music, do some soul-searching and ask yourself the questions listed above or talk to someone who isn't your normal "punching bag"..perhaps a co-worker or someone in the mental health field..even blogging or posting to a forum can help. And most importantly....WAIT before taking action. If we all just took time to digest our feelings and understand them, we wouldn't have outbursts and outrages. "Think before we act" is so trite but oh so very true.

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