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Rules for Rage? You bet!


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communication It may seem weird but the truth is that the same rules apply to good communication when one is not angry, as apply to communication when one is angry! This means that politeness, consideration, sincerity and speaking the truth are important on both occasions. But how is one to remember this when one is in a raging temper - that too at something a partner has done? Can love survive this sense of complete exasperation with the behaviour, approach or habits of another?

Well, it depends…depends completely on how you have expressed yourself in the midst of a flaming row. Words are truly the most hurtful things invented - they can be embedded in the soft flesh of your brain and never get obliterated even by the most pleasant memories. And when they are accompanied by a set jaw, angry stare, flared nostrils - all the body language that conveys extreme fury, the effect is even more indelible. If ever there was a fit case for anger management, it is within an intimate relationship.

The first thing to consider when you are angry, and when an argument is beginning - who is around you? Can you continue the conversation in a quieter and more private place? Words spoken in anger in front of friends, relatives, or children tend to produce reactions of hurt prestige. So calm down, take a few deep breaths, and don’t make a scene in front of the above named.

The most imporant thing you have to consider while an argument is in full flow - what is your vocabulary conveying? Is it indiscriminately heaping blame on your partner? Or making a valid point about some behaviour or approach you find unacceptable? At such times, do avoid using the words ‘never’ or ‘ever’ or ’should’. These are red rags to a bull, and will undoubtedly make your partner feel angry too, such as:

‘Why don’t you ever show the same consideration to my family that you do to yours?’

or ‘Will you never be able to understand my feelings?’

or ‘You should do more to make this house livable’ have a sting that sentences like

‘I feel hurt sometimes when I feel you are being kinder to your family than mine. Please understand.’

or ‘I would feel much happier in this situation if I thought you were also making an effort to understand me.’

or ‘Maybe we need to do more to see that this house is a real home for both of us.’

With ‘ever’ ‘never’ and ’should’ we seem to be assigning blame rather than looking into positive ways of solving a problem. Besides, such generalities are in fact, completely untrue. When Sandra Bullock chides Hugh Grant in the film ‘Two Weeks Notice’ by calling him the ‘most selfish man on earth’, he replies cheerfully with ‘But that’s silly! Have you met all the men on earth?’

Watching our vocabulary, seeing the larger picture, and using love to erase the pain are all things to apply to arguments. Yes, your partner has done something horrible. But no, you cannot do without the partner’s presence in your life. Better by far that you should both find a way out of your dissatisfaction, rather than have you proved right and grinding your partner’s ego into the dust.

The rules for rage in relationships are exactly the same as in many other areas: Love Rules!

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