Maneuvering through your own reactions takes understanding and knowledge of yourself. How you learned to manage your disappointment and frustration over the years contributes to your inability to fulfill your needs to be heard, understood, and believed by your partner. Heard and believed so you can change the course of your relationship. It takes real courage and power. But that power does not reside in your reactivity, your anger, your resentment or in the other person. In fact, blaming yourself doesn’t work either! Playing the blame game is sure to encourage resentment, anger, and rageful feelings, which will result in ineffective communication. If you are feeling ragey, blamey, and angry, it’s time to further investigate where you are stuck. Feelings of anger and hurt are not unhealthy. But these feelings come from the person feeling them. Not from the outside world. Such feelings provide insight into you, your reasons and your internal processes. Only you can control and choose to react the way you would like to see yourself.
Being able to move through challenges in your life does not mean forgetting and forgiving painful experiences without learning the lesson. Healthy processing means obtaining personal resolution so the emotional baggage does not continue to be a burden. Painful experiences are opportunities! Even in the face of your most painful nightmares. The use of anger in communicating with your partner is a sign of control and weakness. Anger can be used passive aggressively or directly. One of the most harmful poisons to a relationship is reactivity and defensiveness. Anger requires defensives to survive. Believing that your perspective is the “right” perspective does not allow effective communication with your spouse. Anger says “this situation is too scary for me, I better fight or flight.” When communication or lack of communication is based in anger or fear, it is impossible for needs to be met. Being “right” about your spouse’s poor choice to have an affair, overspend, etc. does not help. To continue to badger, shame, and intimidate your spouse about years of resentment over your spouse’s choices can become the rule and not the exception in your relationship and will kill intimacy.
Angry, hurt feelings that are expressed in the heat of the moment are legitimate, painful insights about how you feel because of the news or information. But becoming trapped in the cycle of defensiveness or anger is a red flag. These red flags can help you identify when your partner will most likely be unable to hear you.
Not saying anything, avoiding
Interrupting or “Selling” your perspective
Using words like “always, never, all the time, YOU”
Feeling anxious or overly concerned with your partners behaviors
Stopping your partner from speaking
Defending your actions, words, and reactions
Not being able to listen
Effective communication starts from the inside out. Discuss what you need, feel, want, and experience. Speak from an “I” perspective. When a discussion begins from this perspective, then you can come up with some choices. The situation may become less black and white. When you have choice, you have more freedom. Freedom to choose what makes sense to you. Your ability to move through a challenge lies within you, the person, not the event or outside influence that initiated the pain. If you can’t move through the pain in your life, then you need help to investigate the issue. So many couples rage against each other, either silently or out loud, crippling the relationship. Start learning how to communicate without the anger. Work on you, from the inside out, with the courage to be honest about your pain. Start to get the resolution you need from the challenging events in your life.
Everything in your life is a reflection of a choice you have made. If you want a different result, make a different choice.