Anger is normal. We all feel it from time to time. We shouldn't see anger as "bad" or try to avoid getting angry. However, HOW we show our anger and process it can be what gets us in trouble.
This week we are sharing tips to help deal with your anger in healthy ways.
Tip #1- Have Some Fighting Rules
Getting angry during a fight is common, but sometimes unhealthy expression of anger can cause a fight to get intense.
In order to set up your fights for success, it is good to have some ground rules. Without some basic things agreed to in how you fight, you will often do more damage to each other. And then anger can be triggered and become out of control.
One of the best rules during a fight is to remember that there is a point to the fight. Thing about WHAT you want your partner to hear. Once you have the idea summed up, start there. Don't go on a wild chase to get to the point of how you're feeling and what you need. Be direct. Speak your needs.
Another good rule is to watch for isolating that can cause feelings of abandonment, which can fuel someones anger. Sleeping is separate places, leaving the house, and the silent treatment can be very painful. I do think that taking a "time out" from the fight can be a great way to get refocused and calm things down. But this needs to be done in a way that is a limited time. For example, you can say, "Hey this is getting to be too much and I see it going down a bad path. Let's take a time out for the next 15 minutes to cool down and then we can keep talking." Make sure whoever calls the time out is the one to re-engage the conversation.
Staying on topic is also important. You shouldn't end a fight confused on what you talked about. Going on crazy rabbit trails won't get your needs met. This means that you can't derail the conversation when the other person "adds to the gripe" in a defensive way. For example, if your partner says defensively, "Well part of the reason we are in debt is because of all your shopping. You have enough shoes for the homeless." If a comment like this is brought up, try saying this to stay on topic, "If that is a topic we need to talk through, we can after we are done, but right now we are talking about _______".
Read Teri's article for more fighting fair rules. There are so many good rules to have in your fights that will help both parties manage anger in a healthy way.
Check in tomorrow for more tips!
Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC
Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri does virtual therapy for residents of Indiana and Florida using videoconferencing technology. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling and adolescent counseling.