Sunday, March 8, 2009

Listen to Your Anger

Check out the
article by Mona Barbera, Ph.D Relationships: Tips to Help You Get through the Conflict in your Marriage.

The crux of her article is that anger is a signal, neither something to be ignored or impulsively acted on. She says:

"Get to know the good intentions of your anger or coldness.
This is the hardest step and the easiest step. It’s the hardest step because: Your anger or coldness can be fast and powerful. You have to catch it before it takes over. You have to take a chance and consider that your anger is more than it seems. At first it’s hard to imagine that your anger might have good intentions. You’ve been taught that anger or distance is bad. It doesn’t make sense until you try it. You have to be willing to take a chance and do an experiment. This step is easy once you try it!

Once you become curious about your own anger or coldness, you’ll understand that it is trying to protect you. You will see that your anger thinks you need protection, and maybe even thinks you are a small child. You might hear it say: “You’re just a child, you’re in danger, I have to protect you, this is too dangerous.”

Remember the key is: Don’t try to get rid of your anger. Once you do this step, you will be able to say to yourself: I get the good thing my anger is trying to do now. I see how my anger is a friend in strange clothing. I appreciate how my anger is trying to help and protect me. I understand how my anger sees me as the child I used to be, not the adult I am now – it is living in the past, and remembering when I was small and vulnerable."

I agree that anger can feel strong and protective, however it is actually a weak way of expressing yourself. Confront your "child" and determine whether it is really too dangerous or are you responding to messages from the past that made being vulnerable dangerous. Even if you are accurate, anger does not make the situation less dangerous. Stating your fears openly is far more effective in diffusing anger in a relationship.

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