- Dr. Love in the Media
Ten Ways to Constructively Handle Anger
July 31, 2003
Top Ten Tips
- Factually state what your partner did to upset you and how that behavior made you feel. Remember to avoid global statements (you always, you never) which makes tempers flare. Only focus on the problem at hand.
- For highly defensive mates, start by giving the benefit of the doubt: I know you didn't mean to upset me...and then use the formula in step one.
- Another tip for highly defensive mates: avoid the word "you." Instead of saying, I feel X when you do Y, reword your sentence so that the word "you" doesn't appear. For example, I feel X when Y is done to me.
- Deal with your issue as soon as possible or else let it go. Don't harbor resentments.
- Ask permission from your mate before discussing what's bothering you. For example, you can start by asking: Is this a good time to talk? If your mate says no, then choose an alternate time, preferably within the same day.
- If you are prone to exploding, then, walk away and cool down before bringing the issue to your mate.
- Never express raw rage to your mate. Never call each other names or drop character assaults (you're lazy, cheap) which heat up arguments rather than resolve them.
- If your mate becomes defensive when you describe what's bothering you, you can say, "I'm not saying you intentionally did anything wrong, I'm just telling you how I feel."
- If your mate is still defensive after you have said #8, then you might say, "Obviously I have offended you. What did I say that rubbed you wrong?"
- If all else fails, abort mission for a later time. Try talking again when you are both cool.
"If anger and fighting are ruining your dream of a happy marriage, Dr. Turndorf’s conflict resolution program is for you."
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Author of NY Times #1 bestseller Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus
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Pulitzer Prize winning author and Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School
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Author of NY Times #1 bestseller Homecoming
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Winner of the Best Historical Fiction Award, 2012
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Producer Relationship Advice Cafe
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Syndicated Radio Host
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Host, The Matt Townsend Show