There are a lot of ways to confront anger. Some are far more effective than others. In relationships the occasions of the outburst can develop into unhealthy patterns. These patterns tend to be replayed over and over again throughout the relationship. It becomes like an intricate dance of words, emotions and unresolved conflicts. The actions and reactions become automatic, without forethought allowing the scenario to escalate uncontrolled. If you do not like the way you and your mate are currently handling disputes you can change your part in it. Taking an honest look at what is actually occurring in these debates can help you to see your part in them. This gives you a better idea of what you can do to stop the dance.
1. Assess your actions and reactions to what your partner says and does. If what you are currently doing is not getting the desired results then it is time to try something new. Look for the payoff. In these situations there is definitely a payoff for one or both of you that is why the behavior continues.
2. Set new boundaries for yourself as it is apparent the old ones, if indeed you had them, are of no consequence. You may not be able to change another person but you can decide what you will accept or not accept. It is up to you. After setting boundaries you have to learn to stick with the lines you have drawn.
3. Cognitive behavioral therapy is needed. Positive self talk to dispel the negative image of yourself and your spouse that has grown over time can help change the way each argument is viewed. Keeping each incident as a separate event rather than one in a long list of events can greatly diminish the time it needs to find a resolution.
4. Stop Rewarding Bad Behavior. Although you may not see it as such a payoff/reward can be giving in to an aggressively stated demand, not speaking up out of fear, submitting to an unreasonable request. It is imperative to communicate to your spouse/partner that you and your opinions are just as important as they are. Reclaim your rights to person hood.
5. Do not withhold your opinion, minimize we your feelings or avoid being your self. You have to be able to express your ideas and needs clearly and calmly if you want your needs to be met. Better communication can lead to less conflict.
This is by no means a miracle cure for the problems that ail your relationship. But it is a step in the right direction. We all wish we could change others and that is a part of the ongoing problem once we realize that the only person we can control is ourselves we are happier for it.
Information in this article was taken from a book entitled “Overcoming Anger In your Relationship” by W. Robert Nay, Ph.D.