How To Transform Unhealthy Anger Into Loving Connection
There are three ways to get in trouble with anger. You avoid it, stuff it or explode.
Stuffing it creates a pile of resentment, and exploding hurts the ones you love. Not great choices.
Recognizing what unhealthy anger looks like is the start of growth. You need to know what isn't working before you can change it.
Before we start, a gentle warning. Please don't read this and go into shame. Unhealthy anger is much more common than healthy anger. If you're reading this you're willing to do something different. That takes courage!
As you read this, think of where you learned these behaviors. Most of us who struggle with expressing anger didn't have great role models.
10 Forms of Unhealthy Anger
- Blame others by focusing on their behavior.
- Yelling, name-calling, insults, and guilt trips.
- Destroying things and violating someone else's personal space.
- Punishing or avoiding conflict with the silent treatment.
- Condescending tone makes others feel less than.
- Focus on yourself and be accountable for your behavior.
- Use "I" statements as "I feel angry when you are late."
- Respect personal space in order to feel safe.
- Admit when you're upset even if you're not ready to talk.
- Healthy anger sounds firm and assertive but not scary.
Healthy anger transforms relationships because it creates an opportunity to express what's bothering you in a way that helps others listen.
You become more authentic in relationships because you can say ouch. Not saying that you're hurt or angry is what turns anger into rage or the silent treatment.
It Starts with Your Thinking
Healthy anger starts by taking care of yourself and expressing yourself assertively without blame. Problem is that it happens so fast you may not know where to begin.
The tendency is to blame your anger on your partner's criticism, or tone of voice but actually it starts with your perception of the event. What you think you heard is far more powerful than what is actually said. In other words, how you interpret what's happening is what causes you to react. It's called negative self-talk.
This is a game changer in relationships because when you can know what causes you to react - your half way there! Resolving conflict gets easier when you can identify what's setting you off!
Here is a common list of negative self talk messages.
- Nothing will ever change, what's the use?
- I can't do anything right.
- Why can't things go my way?
- I can't get anyone to listen to me!
- What I want just doesn't matter.
Managing anger effectively focuses on what you can change, not getting someone else to change. Healthy anger is about controlling yourself and that starts in your thinking! For more tips on managing anger read my How to Deal with Anger- 20 Things you Can Do.
It's not a linear process. Use these tips as a guide to sharpen your intuition. Your anger is always trying to tell you something, you just have to listen. For more check out my FREE 5 day email course called Catching Your Anger Before it Hurts.
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