Sharing Your Feelings Without Anger
Anger can be a problem. The challenge is that it is inevitable in a romantic relationship, in any relationship, actually, but our concern here is for your romantic partnership. Most of us don’t know that anger is not a primary feeling, and as a result, what we say when we feel angry complicates most situations. To begin with, anger is information. You are not comfortable about something. You don’t feel heard, respected, or appreciated. You may feel loss. You sense something is unfair. That is a good start. The challenge is: what to do about it.
If you dramatize your anger, you create a bigger upset. You won’t be heard, and neither will your partner. Chances are, you will each defend yourselves and feel more hurt at the implied accusations that go along with anger.
It is not unexpected that you will feel uncomfortable about something in your relationship. If you wait a long time to talk about it, your feelings may become more intense. That is not a good idea. Most of us wait to share those feelings either because we don’t know how or we don’t want to rock the boat.
The advantage of speaking up as soon as you are aware of feeling uncomfortable is that
your choice of words can be proportional to how you really feel. This is an ideal because it requires you to know your feelings accurately. I have been coaching couples for decades to look underneath their anger for the hurt and fear that lives beneath the surface. If you don’t delay too long and allow the whirlwind of anger to rise, you can find these feelings. It takes practice. Underneath anger is vulnerability and the vocabulary for that is not commonly known in our culture.
I find couples aren’t even aware that they need to learn this language of feelings until they get worn out and discouraged by the fruitless fights that get them nowhere. Further, this learning is a developmental accomplishment that is unlikely to occur until the 30’s, and only by intention does it happen. It is a huge victory when it does happen, and it allows partners to share feelings, understand each other, solve problems, and resolve their differences.
There is nothing wrong with you if you and your partner are not doing this yet. In fact, the romantic relationship itself has the potential to wake all of us up to realizing that fights do not lead to creative solutions that work for both partners and that the relationship requires new learning. So, your involvement in a committed romantic relationship is a catalyst for important personal growth.
This is one of the key goals of our relationship course, Falling in Love Forever. We teach you how to share your feelings WITHOUT ARGUMENTS and find solutions so that you each feel heard and respected. This is only one of many skills we teach you so that you can grow together, grow as individuals, and enjoy your relationship forever.
Our next course is scheduled for Sunday, January 7. We meet four Sundays in a row to learn and practice new skills. We meet a fifth time for a special couples’ date night that includes a dance lesson with a professional dance coach, and a performance that illustrates the Stages of Love over a lifetime.