Anger… wanna go there? Probably not but we are anyways.
Do you have anger? Yea you do, or at least you did at one point before you successfully got rid of it. (Is this even possible? I don’t know. If that’s you we need to talk because I’m a work in progress and I have a few questions myself)
Anger is a signal, a warning and sends a message that…
- … something isn’t right.
- … you are being hurt.
- … injustice is being done.
- … you are being violated.
- … your needs aren’t adequately met.
- … your values are being compromised.
When something isn’t right your inner-switch is flipped telling you your relationship is off balance. Since we all bring our own set of values and beliefs to the table sometimes these will conflict and this is where tension begins.
Use your anger to identify where things need to change and allow it to fuel you towards growth.
Unless you live in a perfect world with perfect people troublesome things will happen. People will hurt you, offend you and step on your toes, it’s inevitable. So instead of denying this reality be smart and equip yourself to handle these situations. There are two sides of this; what you do with yourself an what you do with others.
If you want to be effective at influencing others – and yes you can influence others – you must first be able to influence yourself. Is that such an absurd thought? Manage yourself before you mange others?
What’s Your Anger Style?
Before you learn how to get your own anger under control identify what your anger style is. Although it’s common to move through styles – which I will describe below – you generally will resonate with one more than the others.
- Silent Stuffer – A Silent Stuffer quietly suffers, they go with the flow, denying themselves and don’t even try to voice their thoughts and opinions.
- Peaceful Pusher – A Peaceful Pusher vocalizes their thoughts and feelings in a peaceful manner but backs off when met with opposition.
- Roaring Retreater – A Roaring Retreater also vocalizes themselves but does aggressively, they too back off when met with opposition.
- Bold Blinder – A Bold Blinder is one who consistently vocalizes their opinions and thoughts loudly and angrily, pushing their point with force.
Perhaps you start as a Silent Stuffer but eventually explode moving straight to a Roaring Retreater. You loudly attempted to be heard but end up retreating when you realize there is too much opposition.
Maybe you are a Peaceful Pusher but move to a Roaring Retreater when peaceful pushing isn’t working. Both attempts cause you to back down and retreat to a Silent Stuffer.
Maybe you’re are a Bold Blinder aggressively fighting to get your point across only to find yourself living with relationship turmoil.
No mater which route you take or which style you cling to, all have the same outcome. Each of these styles find themselves on a relationship merry-go-round, stuck, frustrated, and in a hopeless continual cycle. Thank goodness we can get off this silly ride, there is a better way.
Get off the merry-go-round
The best option is to be Tactfully Tenacious. This is having the inner-strength to keep your own emotions stable while having the staying power to enforce values and limits where necessary.
This is the emotional intelligence I spoke about last week. Miss it? Read it here.
Tact is the ability to deal with difficult situations with sensitivity, discretion and thoughtfulness while being tenacious allows you to persist and not back down when you are met with force. What a concoction hey? So how we we develop tact? We apply the relationship rule #1.
Relationship Rule #1: Own yourself, your thoughts, your emotions and actions.
Huh? Own yourself? You may be wondering how do you NOT own yourself? Well, as long as you are blaming others for your situation, your life and your feelings you will never have the strength to take back what rightfully belongs to you. If you’ve lost yourself in a relationship you cannot blame a controlling spouse because you complied, you gave up your rights and allowed yourself to go with the flow. If you have needs going unmet, again it’s your responsibility to voice those and continue to work towards a solution. Backing down and giving up is also a choice, it’s your choice and one you cannot blame anyone else for.
It is imperative in healthy, happy relationships that each individual remains just that… an individual. And although a marriage consists of two people becoming one, those two people need to remain a whole person themselves. Don’t cut yourself in half and give up part of yourself along this journey, that is not what marriage is suppose to be.
Lost in Frustration
Understandably, you may not know how to bring about the results you are looking for, despite giving it your sincere effort. This series will help you understand what to do in those situations and how to significantly increase your chances for results.
Getting back to controlling yourself, how do you respond when met with anger? Do you explode with emotions and become a Bold Blinder? If you meet anger with anger you end up blinding the heart of the message with high emotions. You want to he heard don’t you? Then stop blinding your message with anger. Aggressive anger is a turn off and doesn’t motivate anyone. In fact it causes people to back away and enforces unhealthy relationship patterns.
You must learn how to harness yourself, hold back, keep your mouth closed and stay composed while the storm passes. You will loose some battles, you won’t get your way, they won’t do as you wish. Be prepared for this. It’s not worth bruising your relationship for a one-time win. Instead, get to the heart of the mater and experience lasting change? Be willing to loose a temporary battle in order to win the long-term war.
Ok, ok, so you don’t want to refer to marriage as war… but you get the picture. Getting to the heart of the issue and dealing with it for good far outweighs fighting relentlessly to get your way, this time.
Making it Through an Anger Storm
In order to influence others you’ll need to become friends with tact. As an anger storm approaches, tact will guide you to approach situations with grace, patience and kindness.
Tact helps you overlook offence and not take things to heart. If you know who you are then insults won’t slap you in the face. You won’t feel the need to have the last say, defend yourself or get even. You will let hurtful comments roll of your back and not take them personally.
Of course you will want to address the comment, but not at that moment. An angry individual will take what you say and floss their ears with it, in one, out the other and back and forth. Don’t waste your breath. We’ll talk more on this next week.
Tact tells you to speak softly when confronted with anger. This quality takes practice but it’s actually fun to develop (no seriously). See it as a personal challenge as you develop right in front of your own eyes. Be proud of yourself for speaking softly when met with anger. This is not an easy feat and not for the weak.
Tact demands that you look with kindness and compassion even if you are met with angry eyes. Oh dear, this goes beyond controlling what you say and goes to the core of your body language, which usually oozes out without thinking. Can we really take control of this? You sure can. Make a point to give a small, humble smile, while emanating a soft, gentle look from your eyes and face.
Sheesh, this is kinda difficult to explain, it’s weird to describe your eyes as emanating softness, but I hope you’re following along anyways.
You Are Capable
Relationship Rule #2: Detect anger and deflect it by overlooking offence, speaking softly and being kind.
When confronted with anger, the softer you approach and the lighter you tread, the longer path you pave and the smoother the ride will be. Are you are capable of overlook offence, holding your tongue, speaking softly and giving kind looks while anger stares back at you. This is the first step to influencing your relationship, are you willing to give it a shot? Drop me a line in the comments and let me know.
Next week I will discuss being tenacious and how this plays into how we confront anger. Be sure not to miss it, join us here.