If your relationship house is on fire cool the anger flames.
Go back and put the flames out rather than chase the person who lit the fire in the first place.
If you chase that person, your house will burn down and your relationship will be in ruins.
STEPS TO FOLLOW
- Contain your anger: do not argue with the person you are angry with. And do not argue with yourself. This only fuels the fire.
- Do one of the Eight Creative Breathing Techniques http://www.hypnosisworks.com.au/hypnotherapyblog/eight-creative-breathing-techniques/
- Embrace your anger: look deeply into the nature of your perceptions and into the perceptions of others to realize that both of you are suffering
- Look for the causes: anger is a royal teaching to let you know something is not right here. It will usually be a need that is not being met.
- Distance: go for a walk, leave it a few days before you address the issues.
- Look in the mirror when you are angry and notice its effects. You will notice you do not look very presentable. The hundreds of muscles in your face become tense and it can be frightening.
- Know that you can do something to change that. Smiling will help loosen the muscles.
- Embrace yourself with tenderness. Anger is not the enemy. It is more like a child that requires attention. You can take care of it and transform it into positive energy.
- Search for the true nature rather than believing someone else has created your misery.
CYCLIC EMOTIONAL PATTERNS
Recognizing the anger is there for a good reason helps. The next step is to practice how to manage it. This takes some management skills:
High management required:
The anger is so intense it burns everything in its path. It has been there for a while and does not leave. Find the time and space to settle down. Say “no” to an event, conversation at that period of time and follow up with “when I have settled down, I would like to talk it through.” A lot of tenderness and protection is required for the part of you that is so angry. It is like caring for someone who is ill. Be kind, soft and responsive to that part. Give it some breathing space. Do not put any more pressure or demands on it and it will settle down. Go for a walk, take a shower, do dome gardening.
Medium management required:
It can be soothed. Talk in a calm voice and use a soft start up.
Low management required:
You can talk about it with someone else without going back into it. With couples you can learn to talk about a fight without going back into the details.
The Four Horsemen
The Four Horseman gives you some management tools. John and Julie Gottman https://www.gottman.com/ created these to teach couples how to diffuse conflict. Here is a summary:
- Use gentle start up AVOID
Criticism: stating your complaints as a defect in your partner’s personality, giving them a negative trait attribution
Example: you always talk about yourself; you are so selfish.”
Better: I’m feeling left out by our talk tonight. Would you please ask me about my day?
- Take responsibility AVOID
Defensiveness: self-protection in the form of righteous indignation or innocent victimhood. Defensiveness wards off perceived attack where the other person is placed as “the enemy.” There will be a good reason for this pattern and a need that is not being met holding it in place.
Example: It’s not my fault that we are always late, it’s your fault
Better: Well part of this is my problem I need to think more about my time
- Describe your own feelings AVOID
Contempt: build a culture of appreciation, and respect. Describe your thoughts, feelings and needs NOT your partner‘s.
Example: You’re an idiot.
Better: I felt hurt about not being included in the arrangements. I need to be given an opportunity to express my views.
Do physiological self-soothing AVOID
Stonewalling: self soothe in order to stay emotionally connected to each other
Example: Emotional withdrawal from interaction, you shut off from the other person.
Better: I’m struggling to speak/listen at the moment. Breathe in (for the count of 7) as you exhale think “smile, relax and breathe again. Repeat until you are free to engage.