Dealing with Anger in a Relationship

Dealing with anger in a relationship

Dealing with anger in a relationship can be difficult. Anger can push us away from our partner, so learning how to control anger’s influence on our lives and partner is incredibly important. Many of us don’t develop effective tools for dealing with anger until later in life, if ever. If you’re reading this, maybe you could use a helping hand.

If you get angry at your mate, you are not alone. If you get really mad and yell or do other things to your partner when you get upset… again, you are not alone. Anger is pretty common in relationships. And this is not an article about how terrible it is. This is a message about what to do about it.

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Gentle Requests – On Communication in Relationships

Communication in Relationships: Gentle Requests

By the time we are grown up almost all of us have figured out how to get what we want in life and how to get things that we don’t like to stop. We usually learn these skills when we are very young, starting with our first empowering word: “NO.”

As an adult we find out partner and then we use these same skills to continue the process of getting what we want and stopping what we don’t want.

But for many couples the habits and skills we bring into a relationship often create difficulty with our beloved…

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Accepting Differences Between You and Your Partner

Accepting Differences in a Relationship

I was thinking about acceptance the other day and was realizing that this is a practice that might take a long time to get good at, especially when we are talking about relationships. You see, all of us pretty much like who we are. We like how we think, how we behave and act. We like our ways.

And many of us get really perturbed when our partner doesn’t agree with us. They might do something different than what we learned growing up. Or they might like something arranged differently then how we prefer. They might even say things we would never say.

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How to Stop Arguing with Your Spouse or Partner

How to Stop Arguing with Your Spouse

Wondering how to stop arguing with your spouse? You’re not alone.

Couples often tell me they are so tired of having continuous arguments about the same thing with the person they love. They say those arguments always end up the same way, both people exhausted and nothing gets resolved. They want to fix the problem but they just don’t know how.

This is a very common problem for people in relationships and marriages. So why does this pattern occur? Let me explain.

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Why It’s So Hard to Change Your Spouse’s Behavior

Why It's So Hard to Get Our Partners to Change

Getting our partners to make changes is probably one of the hardest parts of being in a relationship. It certainly is the number one issue people talk about when they come to see me for counseling. So why is it so hard to get what we want from the people who are supposed to love us?

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How to Stop Fighting In a Relationship, and Simply Love

How to Stop Fighting in a Relationship

First off, no one plans to have a disagreement with the person they love. We love who we love and we want to be in harmony with them. So why is it so hard for many of us to stop fighting in a relationship? Why is it that the fights pretty much determine whether a relationship will last or not?

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Help! My Wife / Husband Stops Talking to Me

Help! My Husband / Wife Stops Talking to Me

I’m often asked things like, “Help! My husband stops talking to me when we fight. What do I do?” or “My wife stops talking to me when I’ve done something wrong. How can I get her to open back up?”

When couples fight or argue or have a disagreement it’s not uncommon for one person in the relationship to stop talking. This happens among many couples so if you are experiencing this in your relationship know that you are not alone.

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My Husband / Wife Blames Me for Everything! What Do I Do?

My husband blames me for everything! My wife blames me for everything! What do we do? Save my marriage!

People come to me saying, “My husband blames me for everything,” or “My wife blames me for everything.” Here’s a look at why people look to blame another when they feel hurt.

Many of us automatically look for someone to blame when we get mad. This is very common; humans often look for someone to take responsibility when something bad happens. So what’s wrong with blaming another person when we get upset? If a lot of people do this why even talk about it?

Well, people get defensive, they get mad, and they fight. They don’t have to. Learn how to break the pattern.

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Listening, one of the Keys to a Good Relationship

One of the biggest issues I hear couples complain about is communication.  They often tell me they “just don’t know how to communicate” with each other.   I hear the desperation in their voices.  I know they each have been trying to get understanding from the other person for a long time and they just haven’t been successful.  Usually due to exasperation the couple comes in and informs me they just can’t communicate, and they are desperate to find help.

I know that when people categorize their issues with the word “communication”, there is likely a lot more going on then just the phrasing of words.  I know that what’s missing is a very vital part of communication and one of the most basic human needs; and that’s the need to be heard.

Often times when couples begin therapy they have no problem expressing their individual points of view to me.  What they have a hard time doing however, is getting their partner to actually listen to what they are saying.

When two people have been trying to get understanding from each other for a period of time without success, it’s possible they might become angry or resentful trying yet again one more time to make their point.  It’s usually after years of dismissing the importance of being heard that a couple might decide to try counseling as a “last ditch effort” to fix the relationship.

And that’s when I can begin to help.  It starts by giving the couple awareness.  No one signs up to be mean to their partner.  No one starts out being indifferent, resentful or angry toward their mate.  These stances come after trying over and over to get one’s point across and failing.  So the first phase of improving communication is helping each person learn how to listen.

But before anyone can develop the patience and understanding to be a good listener they must be HEARD, because that’s what has been missing in their relationship.  They have not felt heard or listened to.  That’s where my job begins and I provide it for each person; I listen, hear, understand, help if needed, I am available and present.  This provides a release to the person expressing, and it models for the partner how to do it.

After the exercise it’s not surprising to feel a lot of tension leave the room.  It’s so simple, and so important.  As humans we require some basics; to feel safe, to feel loved, and to feel like we matter.  When we listen to our partners, I mean really listen, we give them exactly what they need.

Be sure and watch Feel Better Live, our show about relationships, live on the web, Thursdays at 6:00PM.

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Tit For Tat; How Some Couples Cope…Guidance From A Marriage And Family Therapist

Many of us grew up needing to have the last word when we got into an argument.  It just doesn’t feel right if we can’t say what we have to say after the other person has said their piece.  We just want to finish the exchange with our own ending note.

It’s not uncommon to see this interaction when two people are discussing issues important to both of them.  It’s also not uncommon to see this type of behavior between two people who are in a relationship. He says one thing, she says another, he has to top her, she has to top him and so on.  We’ve all seen it; we may even have engaged in it.

On some level it can be satisfying, putting the other person in their place, having the last word and really saying or acting out something dramatic that makes our point.  Yes, sometimes we even feel better when we can have the last word and end with a flourish, like slamming a door, or stomping up stairs, or using a cuss word or flipping someone off.  There’s something very satisfying about really feeling like we have been heard.  Unfortunately, when two people are locked in this sort of contest no one is listening to the other; both are just waiting for their turn.

These dramatic moments can also cause harm to two people who are in a relationship. Sometimes there is real damage done during these matches, hurtful things are said, painful slights are seared into us.

Some of this sparing may remind us of squabbling with a sibling or a childhood friend. If we learned it at a young age we might even feel confidence when we spar with another person.  We may grow to rely on these skills as we get older and might even use them with our mate in our adult relationship.

Sometimes they are funny and can be laughed at in a calmer state.  But more often than not they are hurtful and leave wounds.  We carry around these scars and feel terrible and angry.  Maybe we get zinged, maybe we zing our beloved.  If we engage, it’s likely we leave something behind, some residue of hurt feelings that may get buried over the next time there is a spat.  Maybe we even compile all the zingers and hurl them back at each other reusing them again and again.

So what do we do about these actions?  Why not talk about them with our partner.  Why not have a discussion about how it feels to hurl these slights and how it feels to receive them.  Why not find out if there are some bruises left over from past arguments.  If the bruises are still tender chances are it’s possible to have some real connection with your mate.  Maybe you both agree on what you won’t say again.  Maybe if you are the offender you can apologize.  This can go a long way to healing pain.  What you don’t want is for couples to wall up against the other because of all the slights.  This can lead to resentment which can leave each person living behind his or her own wall of bricks, afraid to connect for fear of being hurt.

No couple wants to live with resentment toward their partner.  Living behind walls of resentment cuts down on closeness. And that’s really what couples want, to be close, to feel safe and loved, free from those hurtful zingers.

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