By: Susan Adams M.Ed.
If you are accustomed to using anger in your personal relationships, you may want to stop and think about this. Does it work when you scream at someone that you want to love you or do as you ask? You can learn some new techniques! It just takes a little practice and the realization that you are probably not getting the reaction that you want when you use anger.
What is the purpose anyway? Men generally use anger to intimidate–when they feel that someone that they want to love them is getting too close and is apt to see their imperfections, they may well show temper. The woman then tends to feel overwhelmed and bullied. She is not likely to react with sympathy or understanding.
When a women feels betrayed,bullied, or disrespected, she may well have been taught (by her mother) to react with anger. This is designed to frighten the man into submission because you can’t very well have your caretaker angry with you.
Unfortunately, when people hear anger, they recoil. They only hear the anger message. They don’t hear what the person who is directing anger at them is really saying. They are apt to respond in anger and the outcome becomes a battle in which no one gets what they want. They are fighting to prove they are right.
So, what can you do instead? You can train yourself when you are feeling criticized–someone is coming at you angrily–to take a deep breath. Instead of responding defensively, respond to find out more about the source of the other person’s anger. In effect, what have you done to set off this reaction in someone else. This is called fighting to find out what you have done wrong rather than to prove you are right.
It has an entirely different outcome. This kind of disagreeing becomes problem solving.
It becomes a conversation about how things could have gone differently and what you might change which can lead to what the other person might change. It is done in a calm tone of voice.
I have learned to drop my voice related to the severity of the situation. If I am very very angry, I lower my voice to a whisper. It is training but it works. The angrier I feel, the more gentle I want to sound.
If someone sounds angry with me, I am careful to respond gently. i want to be the role model for what I want–not what I am getting.
Did you know? Ladies, men are TERRIFIED of female anger. If you use it, they don’t capitulate. They withdraw and decide you are crazy and do as they please.