Linda: It can be hard to own up to how we get in our own way of having the kind of partnership that we dream of. A chief deterrent to having a terrific partnership is frequently related to the inability to deal with differences well. When differences become conflict, due to the lack of skill on one or both partners, the well-being of the partnership is compromised. It is worthwhile to check ourselves out to see if we may be the one that is holding back the development of the partnership because we blurt too much. It is fruitful to take a look to see how we might up-level our conflict management skills as part of our contribution to the harmony in the relationship.
Here are some questions to assist you in your fearless inventory:
- Do you often say things that you are sorry for afterward for criticizing and judging?
- Are you impulsive and neglect to put thought between feelings and speaking?
- Do you get feedback from people you care about that you frightened and hurt them?
- Do you rationalize your outbursts by saying you are just being honest?
- Do you raise your voice and use aggression to dominate?
- Do you speak in a quiet voice that has a hard edge on it for the purpose of intimidating another person?
- Do you deny that you go over the line from asserting your needs to bullying others?
- Is there a part of you that is a reaction machine that gets vindictive and retaliatory when you feel hurt or threatened?
- Are you operating under the illusion that it is possible to win an argument, and not comprehending that by winning, you are putting your partner in the position of the looser?
- Are you undeveloped in the area of sharing power with another and still lapse into wielding power over them?
- Do you justify your angry outbursts by blaming the person that provoked you rather than taking responsibility for being undisciplined?
- Do you grab the moral high ground assuming that you are right, right, right and the other person is in the wrong, and that you have an obligation to correct them?
If some or most of these characteristics fit you, you are too far over on the spectrum in the area of volatility. That position robs you of well-being, both in your partnership and your life in general. When you tell the truth to your self that the cost of your volatility is too dear, you are likely to want to file down the rough edges on your unskillful way of dealing with your anger. When you find the motivation to do your own work, you will still feel your anger, but will stop causing harm by becoming more refined in your communication. Over time and with practice, even the experience of angry feelings will diminish.
The work of those who blurt out their angry feelings is to acquire self-discipline. By putting thought between feeling and speaking makes a huge difference. Simple pauses to reflect can give you an opportunity deliver your message to your partner into a respectful, responsible, constructive form. In the pauses to reflect, you can get in touch with your own wounds and fears that are driving your angry outbursts. By finding compassion for your suffering from yourself and others, you are less likely to project that pain on those around you.
Speaking the truth of your inner experience without blame and judgment is an art form. Becoming validating is a piece of work for those who have indulged their anger for years, but it is possible if a full-hearted commitment is made to the recovery process.
And the rewards are tremendous. Instead of those around you walking on eggshells, afraid of activating your temper, people will feel comfortable and safe to open up. Instead of taking hours or days to recover from angry interchanges, that time can be used for enjoyable interactions and activities. Instead of feeling guilty for causing harm to others, you can take pride in being respectful and kind.
You will feel the emotional climate of your partnership warm up. With less fighting and more safety an abundance of affection can be exchanged. When the fear, pain, and reactivity begin to subside from your interactions, in its place there is an inflow of generosity, appreciation, gratitude and love. Don’t take my word for it: Find out from your own experience, and see what is true for you.