Coping with Anger: Why We Rage and How to Heal

Coping with Anger: Why We Rage and How to Heal

Most of us are pretty easy going. We have lives that we manage. We might go to work or school and we make out there OK too. So why is it that when we have a disagreement with our partner, the one we love the most, we see RED and want to take their head off?

I know when I feel misunderstood or dismissed by my husband it is a terrible pain. It feels as if he is doing it on purpose. I know logically that is not true. He loves me and does not want to see me upset. In fact, I bet if he knew every pitfall he was about to step into that would make me unhappy, he’d get out a roadmap and avoid them. He doesn’t want to make me upset. I believe your partner feels the same way.

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Conflict in Relationships: Help Make Peace, Not War

Conflict in Relationships

When we get into a scrape with the person we love we often wind up in a difficult place. We sometimes hurt and feel unloved. Maybe we get mad at our mate and sulk or lash out. These are very common positions that many couples engage in. No one likes them. They are difficult and unpleasant.

As a couples specialist I am always trying to understand how to explain relationships in the simplest ways so people can improve how they interact with the person they love. And as I was thinking about this concept it occurred to me that there are really two places we end up occupying after a fight. We are either doing something about our partners or we are doing something about ourselves.

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How to Overcome Anger, Because Mad Makes a Mess

Mad Makes a Mess: How to Overcome Anger

Learning how to overcome anger can be a struggle, but you can definitely do it if you put your mind to it.

I was thinking about all the people we know who get mad. You know who they are. They are the ones we are careful around because we don’t want to get them upset. They are the ones who get mad out of nowhere and then there is a problem.

We all know someone or some people like this. Maybe it’s you. I know it’s me. When I was a little girl if something didn’t go my way I got mad. This is what I saw my mother do when she was disappointed or frustrated. This is what I learned to do too.

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How to Control Anger Issues in Your Relationship

How to Control Anger Issues in a Relationship

Figuring out how to control anger issues in your relationship can be challenging. Everyone gets mad. Some of us even blow up.

Controlling anger issues in a relationship means blowing up less often and learning how to minimize the damage when, despite our best efforts, an episode occurs after all.

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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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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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We Love Them Until We Don’t

Many couples tell me how much they love their partner.  They sit on a couch in my office with their mate next to them and they profess their love.  I listen to them convince me.  Then the other person adds their voice, “I love him too.”  They are very sure of themselves as if there is nothing more truthful in the world.

I hear these pronouncements often, and then I listen to how these two people actually treat each other when they are not professing their love, and it’s not very nice.

“He called me a @#$%”.  “She said I was (something belittling here)”.  Usually when I hear these tirades I can feel the bitterness and anger from each person.  It’s so thick you can actually feel it inside the therapy room.  I try and wade through the discontent to understand what they mean when they tell me that they love each other.

I think people believe that if they are with a person long enough, their shared history makes it love.  I think some couples convince themselves they are in love and are loved by their partner just because they have been a part of each other’s lives longer than any other relationship.

I don’t disbelieve that couples who act like this really love each other; it’s just that I don’t think they feel very happy in the relationship treating their partner the way they do and feeling the same treatment in return.  People who are happy in their relationships generally don’t belittle or rage at each other.  It’s my experience that if people harbor resentment and anger toward their mates then that’s usually how they will communicate with them, with words full of anger and resentment.  On occasion when couples are not angry at each other they can sometimes find closeness and soft, loving words, like, “You know I love you”.  When they hear those words they are lulled into the idea that they are loved, and all will be right with the world.

It’s just a band-aid though, until the next time there’s a big blow up.  Then these couples go right back to the fighting words first, not the soft, loving ones.  Couples who live in this kind of cycle go through extremes with each other; intense hate and intense love.

Isn’t that love they ask me?  Sure I say, it’s some kind of love, but my question to each person is, are you happy?  Are you happy in your life?  Are you happy with your mate?  Do you feel good?  Do you believe your relationship is good?  Do you feel supported?  Do you feel appreciated?  Are you treated with kindness?  How do you treat your partner?  Do you support him or her?  Are you treating him or her with kindness?

The answers to these questions will tell me a lot more about whether there is love than the words “Of course I love him” or “She knows I love her.”

Anyone can say the words “I love you”.  We all know that isn’t enough.  It isn’t enough to help us feel nurtured and whole in our life.  What’s needed is deep consideration for the other person and an unshakable faith in knowing that making your partner happy will be the best effort you can ever make.

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Rules for Our Relationships

Making rules to govern a relationship sounds like something kids would do, but what if a set of rules helps couples treat each other.  Would you follow a few guidelines then?  We all learn to follow rules when we are little.  Rules show us right from wrong.  Rules keep us safe, coloring within the lines, or in other words, they keep us grounded.

As a couples specialist I wouldn’t say anyone really needs rules, but sometimes partners treat each other so poorly rules might actually help.

I work with many different kinds of couples.  Some partners speak kindly to each other, but many do not.  By the time couples enter counseling they have probably spent a lot of time saying mean things to their partners.  In some cases those mean things can even include swear words and degrading remarks.   Most couples that swear at each other know they should not be hollering at their partners and yet they do it anyway, most likely when an argument occurs.  It might even become a well worn pattern developed over time.

So how do couples learn to be nicer to each other?  Why not make a rule? NO SWEARING AT EACH OTHER.  Why not create an environment with a cuss free zone?

It’s likely you don’t cuss at work or call your boss names.  It’s probably safe to say you wouldn’t holler and yell these phrases at your parents or your children, so why not outlaw swearing because it’s something you shouldn’t do to your mate either?

You say you love your partner.  Show them by refraining from calling them names.  This conveys respect, and often in relationships that’s what’s missing.  It may be hard to break a habit if this has been ongoing for a while, but you and your partner can do this.  Just make a rule.  You made promises to each other when you first got together.  Make this another promise.  “I promise to not swear at you any more.”  Say this to each other, and mean it.  Practice it.  Maybe you put a jar in the kitchen and every time you slip you put in a quarter, or a dollar.  Make a game of it.  Just do something different to change how you talk to each other.

Both of you probably want to feel better in your relationship.  Speaking nicer to your mate is a great way to start.  If you are interested in another step, how about doing one nice thing for your partner every week?  This is a change from not doing anything nice for your partner to doing something nice for them.  Most of the couples I work with tell me they are waiting for their mate to do something for them.  Sometimes this wait goes on for a long time.  Doing something for the partner you are mad at is very different then waiting for them to be nice to you.

Imagine what it would be like in your home if the one you are at odds with actually does something special just for you?  Now think how he or she would feel if you did something special for him or her. You are trying on new behaviors.  When you do something different you get something different in exchange.  Maybe it will be a thank you.  Maybe it will be astonishment.  Maybe you will get a laugh.  It may be an improvement.

And isn’t this what you are after, something new, something different, something hopeful?

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When Partners Swear at Each Other

Sometimes we want to make a point.  Sometimes we have to make that point so clearly we use specific words that will drive the point home.  Sometimes those words are swear words and sometimes we say them to people we love.

This is not a place that couples go willingly.  No one starts a relationship with the notion that at some point they will be swearing and cursing at their partner, and yet I work with some couples who are in this very state and dumbfounded how they got there.

So how does this happen to a couple that starts off loving each other?  In any relationship there are misunderstandings and hurt feelings.  These incidents are going to happen.  Sometimes one person will do something that hurts the other and vice versa, sometimes inadvertently, sometimes on purpose.

If you feel attacked by your mate, or left out by your partner you may feel deeply wounded.  Sometimes in a painful place people will lash out at the person who hurt them, often their partner.  When people are deeply wounded they have to stop the pain, and swearing at their mate let’s them know of the depth of the pain.

I know there is a tremendous amount of suffering that leads a person to yell F*** you at their loved one.  I believe that the person who is doing the cursing is trying to stop the unbearable pain inside them, and the only way they can do that is to fire back in the loudest most crushing way possible.  This behavior immediately changes the situation and adds excitement, energy and anger.  These changes then become the focus instead of exploring the original hurt that started the incident in the first place.  That part gets lost in the venom.

The receiver on the other hand has options.  He or she can fight fire with fire and yell back.  They can walk away.  They can leave.

Usually when the anger dies down, about a half an hour later, some couples can talk about the argument.  Maybe there is even an apology from the person who swore.  If a couple can engage like this, there is plenty of hope for the relationship.

But if two people just stay mad at each other and go days without speaking they are cementing a wall between them.  The wall will probably become harder and harder, making it more difficult to dismantle, even with counseling.  This state can also lead to resentment, where two people are just so tired of the other they begin to resent everything they do.

If you are in a relationship and you swear and curse at each other, try to realize your words do hurt the other.  Take ownership of the harm your words create.  Say you are sorry, make amends.  This can be the beginning of resolution and healing for both of you.

In a relationship where couples swear at each other there is plenty of hurt.  What’s missing is a chance to have your partner understand your pain and for you to understand theirs.  This leads to true bonding, and that’s one thing most couples crave.


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