She’s going to get angry. There’s no possible way you can spend the rest of your life with someone and not have them get angry at you at some point. It is hard to join our lives with another person, to share our personal space, and to navigate our way through each other’s differences day in and day out. So what is the LAST thing a woman needs when she is angry?
The last thing a woman needs when she is angry is to be told that she shouldn’t feel that way. While you might not be saying the actual words, let me tell you all the ways you might be telling her that with your responses. . .
Immediately get defensive. I get it. You don’t believe whatever situation she’s mad about went down the way she thinks it did and you want to set the record straight, but RIGHT NOW is not the time to do so. First, hear her out. You can always let her in on how you see it tomorrow – when her emotions have calmed down a bit. If you don’t let the emotion come out of her first BEFORE trying to set the record straight, you’re probably just going to make her angrier.
Tell her to “calm down”. I get this, too. Your mate is fired up well beyond what you think is reasonable and you feel like you could work through it if only she would calm down. Well, it’s very possible that she can’t right now and telling her to “calm down” sends the message that she shouldn’t feel the way she does. She can’t help how she feels right now and can’t hear that she should feel the same way you do (calm & logical). Telling her to calm down is a recipe for disaster. Trust me . . . just don’t.
Compare her complaint to one of yours. When you throw out the “But you do the same thing!”, you are minimizing what she is feeling. Your point may be 100% right, but it will be like throwing gas on a fire. Pointing out one of her faults in response to her anger sends the message that she shouldn’t feel the way she does, and that very rarely (if ever) works to resolve the matter.
Match her anger with yours. When you roll your eyes, sigh or groan in disgust, or say things like “Here we go again!” you send a loud message that her complaint is invalid and pointless. And while she may be overreacting, you’ve probably already figured out that these moves don’t make the problem go away.
I’m not suggesting that you admit she’s right, change your view of things, or that how you feel about the situation is wrong. I am, however, saying that when a woman is angry and she gets the message from the person she’s angry at that she shouldn’t feel the way she does, you are in for a fight. Even if you are 100% right, you will not win. You will only make more messes that have to be cleaned up later. If you want to learn how to respond to an angry woman in a way that resolves matters, look for some of our blogs on validation, self-differentiation, or practice the ‘couples dialogue’ in Getting The Love You Want by Harville Hendrix.