The theme in my practice has been anger this week. You know, that revved up feeling that you get when something really p*&%es you off. We all have to a greater or lesser degree. We would not want it to go away entirely either. You want to be able to fight or flee if someone is attacking you. But the problem with most relationship situations is that the other person is not really trying to attack you. It just feels that way. Yesterday, I was telling my husband that WE forgot to write our friend a check for money that we owed. I heard him respond from the other room and this is what he said: instead of talking about writing the check, you could just write the check. This may have been a joke. Now that I am writing this and those who know my husband would definitely know. It was a joke. However, I was getting ready for work, fixing my daughter’s hair, thinking about how I would get her later from Girl Scouts and my heart raced. 4,000 thoughts came through my mind about how HE doesn’t get it.. Thankfully, this week anger was on my mind. I asked the question several times to others. Is what you are about to say going to be heard if you say it the way you are about to say it? In my mind, at that exact moment, I knew the answer. Hell no. I mean heck no (I mean hell no). No way, no chance. So I said nothing. I drove to work and noticed my heart rate go back to normal. I parked my car at work and got a text saying thank you for everything you do. And by the way, I wrote the check. No need to say anything after all.
- If your heart is racing wait to tell the person what you are thinking.
- Once you are calm ask yourself: what was meant by what he or she said? Try your best to hold the other person innocent.
- Proceed politely in confronting. i.e. Start with something positive. Then be curious (truly, curious) Hey, usually you appreciate me so I was surprised when you asked me to write the check when you knew I was doing a ton. What did you mean by that?
Know that not everyone is going to hear you or care. But some will. You will learn over time who not to bother with and who you can be honest with. A word of caution. Too much sharing, confronting can be exhausting for those around you. I really recommend unless something is REALLY bugging you to not bother confronting and instead assume that the other has good intention or that maybe they are having a bad day and that it has nothing to do with you. Now if that itch just won’t go away, then you must say something. Try #3.
Nicole C Weiss LCSW
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