If you hate conflict, you could spend a long time stewing in your anger before you express it to the person who caused it. By then, your anger may have built to levels beyond reason. Or maybe you zipped off an e-mail, comforted by the fact that technology helped you avoid a face-to-face confrontation. But sometimes your relationships need that personal conversation to clear things up and move on to more enjoyable interaction. The trick is to do it without becoming so angry that you lash out and hurt the person you love.
A lot of us bottle up our anger, which is not a good thing. But it IS a good idea to think before you explode at your partner or friend. Think first why you need to tell this person you\’re angry. Is it to hurt them? Get revenge? Let\’s hope not. Instead, if you want to clear up the problem and get back to the close relationship you enjoy, then think before you speak.m
Wait until the anger has less of a grip on you. Wait until you can think clearly. Talk yourself down from your rage. It might help to check in with your body. Are your shoulders tight? Neck tense? Chest burning? Breathe deeply and calm down.
Ask yourself why you\’re really mad. Is it because of what your partner did or because of how you interpreted his or her actions? Be honest. Sometimes unflattering emotions are coloring your thinking. Like envy or jealousy. If so, you need to examine your own feelings. But if your partner truly did something to upset you then you need to talk with them.
How to talk to the one who makes you mad:
1) Tell them why you are upset. Be direct without condemnation. Try to stick to the facts without re-igniting your anger. If your partner is continually late, stick to the issue. Don\’t dredge up past complaints that s/he lets the dishes pile up in the sink. That\’s not relevant at the moment.
2) Discover why they did what they did. Be open to your partner\’s point of view. Avoid being accusatory. If they did not discuss a major purchase with you before they spent the money, why was that? Perhaps they didn\’t think the purchase was as major as you did. Or there could be a whole host of reasons. Try to understand their motivation.
3) Focus on a solution. What could your partner do differently in the future to keep from upsetting you? Maybe you ask your partner to call you if s/he will be late. Or you have an agreement that you\’ll leave after waiting 10 minutes. If you need consultation before your partner makes a purchase, set a specific amount of money that requires discussion first. Whatever your solution, be as clear as possible.
Remember, your goal is to get to a place where your relationship is once again comfortable and happy. Learn what went wrong so you and your partner can behave differently in the future. And a big hug might be in order, too.
Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional.Â If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch.Â You can reach her here:Â http://www.nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact-us.