When Couples Argue: Breaking the Cycle of Anger

Sometimes when we get our feelings hurt, we want to lash out at the one who caused us to feel bad. This is pretty common for some of us. I know it was for me.

I grew up in a household where my mother was overwhelmed and released her frustration by yelling at her children. I know she loved us, but as a child I learned that this is what you do when you don’t like something: you yell.

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When We Analyze Our Partners

When we analyze our partners...

Oftentimes in our relationships our partners will speak and act in ways that seem very strange to us. We will wonder why they are doing what they are doing or saying what they are saying, and our brain will immediately figure out what is wrong with them.

After they finish, we might even tell them that the reason they are talking the way they are talking is because of how they grew up and how they now sound like their parent and how this is something that isn’t resolved.

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When One Partner Stays Mad

Sometimes our partner stays mad at us, leaving us disconnected and upset like the couple pictured.

It is not uncommon for two people in a relationship to argue or disagree with each other. In fact it should be expected. We do not live in our partner’s head and we can’t always know when we step on a sensitive area.

These sensitive areas can release a big reaction and that can create a problem between two people who care about each other.

As a counselor I try and help people understand what happens during these instances. First we look at what happened but I always try and identify what the feelings were that prompted the reaction.

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Can We Believe We Are Good?

Some of us didn’t get a chance to figure out what our feelings meant when we were little. If our caregivers couldn’t read their feelings it is likely they couldn’t teach us ours.

If we didn’t learn what was going on inside of us we might have a couple of different behavioral responses. In my case if I was upset I would blame the one who upset me. Since I didn’t learn otherwise, I just used this habit well into my forties.

You can see as I write this that blaming someone for my difficulty is not effective. In fact it usually makes the person you blame react with some kind of defense or their own anger…

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Feed the Right Wolf

You may have heard the story about a Native American grandfather talking to his grandson. The grandfather told the grandson there are two wolves inside of him having a war. One is mean and angry. The other is kind and loving.

Curious the grandson asked, “Who will win?” Grandfather replied, “The one that I feed.”

I have heard this story a few times and every time I nod to myself that I too want to feed the right wolf. I want to be kind and loving, not angry and mean. And I bet if you are reading this right now you would agree with me.

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When We Analyze Instead of Connecting

Does analyzing in your relationship help bring you back together or kick off blame games like the couple fighting here?

It’s not unusual to describe what happened after an argument occurs. Many of us do this. We think about who said what and how we responded and we explain that what was said was not helpful and we talk about what might have been better and we do this with complete confidence that we see things the way they are.

I have worked with couples where one person is excellent at detailing what went wrong and how those things could be avoided. I listen to the explanations that are extremely detailed and I think to myself, “But how does this help?”

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When Our Anger Covers Our Pain

When Anger Covers Pain

Many of us got hurt during our childhood. And some of us were not able to talk about our pain to our parents or the people who cared for us. So when a young person gets hurt and there isn’t another person to help them, some of us turn toward our anger to get attention.

This is how I grew up. I got hurt, but didn’t have the skills to talk about what was bothering me, so I resorted to yelling at the person who hurt me. This is common when some of our needs are not met.

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When We Hurt Our Mate

We may feel upset when we hurt our mate.

All of us in relationships will at one time or another hurt the ones we love. We probably don’t mean to do this, but it will happen. It happens because we are not in their heads, we are in our own, and we cannot ever really know how another person will take us until there is a reaction.

So, let’s say you get into a disagreement with the one you love and you say some things that are an exaggeration of what you really feel, but you are maybe so offended or mad that you just let the words and hurts fly.

This also happens in relationships. It also separates people into their own camps, away from each other, disconnected and both feeling terrible about what just happened.

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What Gets in the Way of Your Love?

All of us start out in great love with our partner. It’s so wonderful to fall in love that we might even forget every other aspect of our lives. But as the relationship grows sometimes feelings get hurt and that usually prevents us from being loving to our mates.

All humans get their feelings hurt. Especially if we are in a relationship with another person. Even though they love us dearly there is no guarantee that they will never hurt us emotionally. In fact, because they don’t live in our bodies and minds and how we organized and receive life, they may step on our feelings regularly.

I believe these issues are meant to help us grow and figure out what is bugging us so we can get back to loving our mates again. So, if you have a moment, see if you can identify what gets in the way of your love.

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