All people experience anger during their lifetime. Anger is an intense emotion that if left unresolved, can contribute to negative choices of behavior. The good thing is that anger can be managed with some basic skills. In Harriet G. Lerner’s book “The Dance of Anger”, she provides some suggestions on what to do and what not to do when angry. The following are some of her suggestions:
1) “Do Speak in “I” Language. Learn to say, “I think…,” “I feel…,” “I fear…,” “I want…” A true “I” statement says something about the self without criticizing or blaming the other person and without holding the other person responsible for our feelings or reactions….”
2) “Do try to appreciate the fact that people are different. We move away from fused relationships when we recognize that there are as many ways of seeing the world, as there are different people in it. Different perspectives and ways of reacting do not necessarily mean that one person is ‘right’ and the other ‘wrong.’ “
3) “Don’t strike while the iron is hot. A good fight will clear the air in some relationships. But if your goal is to change a bad pattern, the worst time to speak up may be when you are feeling angry or intense. If your fires start rising in the middle of a conversation, you can always say, “I need a little time to sort my thoughts out. Lets set up another time to talk about it more.” Seeking temporary distance is not the same as cold withdrawal of an emotional cutoff.”
4) “Don’t make vague requests. Let the other person know specifically what you want. Don’t expect people to anticipate your needs or do things that you have not requested. Even those who love you cannot read your mind.
With these basic skills we can better manage anger and have relationships with less conflict.
If you have any questions or want to make an appointment, please contact Lisa Bradford, LCSW, at 801-660-8441.