Getting Together and Staying Together: Solving the Mystery of Marriage

Category: Relationships
Author: William Glasser, Carleen Glasser
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by napjerks   2019-11-17

Passion is good. Negativity is not. Don't lose the passion. You don't have to give up who you are to improve your anger situation. Stand your ground. But work on listening and sharing in a positive way. Listen until they've finished speaking and then confirm with them that you understood it.

"What I hear you saying is ____ ." And if they say no, ask them to explain it differently. Then share your thoughts too. "When you say ____ it makes me feel ____ ." Use these two phrases over and over for a week or two and it will start to become part of your communication repertoire and feel more natural. It's ok if it feels a little forced or formulaic in the beginning. It specifically helps us to avoid hearing only a few words and then saying something sarcastic that's meant to shut them down. Listening to understand cultivates curiosity instead of antagonism and automatically lowers the anger level of communication so you can focus on the content and negotiating with your favorite person so you can have an agreeable outcome for both of you.

See if you can try not to be right all the time. Especially in a relationship there's no real right or wrong. There's your opinion and theirs. And if a decision needs to be made you want both opinions to be taken into consideration. If you win, he loses and vice versa. So instead of winning and losing, work toward agreeing. That way you're creating a shared vision of your relationship. Relationship books like Getting Together and Staying Together help with this.

You did the right thing walking away. That's exactly what to do. Remove yourself when you know you can't manage your response. If we have a habit of angrily responding, we need to intervene with ourselves and walk away earlier than we think.

Get up and get a glass of water or stare out the window when you're starting to feel anger sensations physically (burning head, chest or abdomen; clenched fists; not looking at anyone) or you started cursing, pointing or otherwise have negative speaking tone or body language. Or if you notice a pressing sensation in your head. Or you can tell you're holding on to something and not sharing it, either in an attempt to prevent having an argument or a blowup or you're worried if you say it you'll get angrier yourself. That's a definite moment to take another grown-up break.

If there are persistent things that keep coming up try writing them down and evaluating them by keeping a journal for a couple weeks. You can trow it in the shredder when it's served its purpose. But it really helps work through things by getting them on paper.

Some discussions are of course very important and involve important decisions and things we need to talk through for a mutually beneficial decision. It's important our needs are met and we find a way to also meet our loved ones needs. So we just need to manage our anger so we can focus on the content of the discussion so we can make better decisions for ourselves and our relationships. There are audiobooks like The Dance of Anger if you'd like to listen to something to help with the anger specifically in these types of situations. It starts getting really good around Chapter 5. Hope this helps. Hang in there!

by napjerks   2019-11-17

Getting Together and Staying Together

by napjerks   2019-11-17

Defending our own opinions, yes. This is the prime source of a discussion turning into an argument. You both want to be right. So work on allowing both of your opinions to have their own room. You don't have to be right or wrong, just share what you think and make sure to listen to each other. This is a specific skill called active listening that you can practice together where you listen to each other and there's no right or wrong. The goal is to come to a shared decision that both of you agree on. There's room enough in decision making for both of your needs to be met.

> That started my anger meter, but I tried to keep it in control because I understand that I was being defensive, too. It was a sucky situation overall, and I didn't want to escalate it.

You still want to make sure you voice what you are thinking. If you hold things in, in an attempt to prevent from arguing, then you're not sharing your thoughts and feelings, which is just as important as listening to hers. When you hold something back, we tend to get overly focused on it and that's what makes the anger build up, that think we're holding on to but haven't shared.

So you want to actually speak earlier. And be explicit. Say exactly the thing that you're feeling. When you find you are holding something back because you don't want to start an argument, that's the time to actually share it. Just say it in the best way you can at the time. You can use a formula like, "When you say ____ , it makes me feel ____." Use it like a broken record for the next week or two and you will get the hang of it. We all get better at expressing ourselves with practice.

If you want to room with her just say it out loud, directly, explicitly. Not in a roundabout way. It will still probably not work out the way you want but at least you said it clearly and without confusion. Some siblings want to be near each other, some want to have nothing to do with each other. It's part of growing up, figuring out who we are and some people prefer to do it by themselves. Some of us who like to be together and connected feel sad when we find out they don't want to be so near to us. But that's ok too. You can tell her it makes you sad that she's moving away. It's ok to feel sad. But wish her the best and stay in touch. Try not to judge her harshly or blame yourself for her moving. Be careful of resentment. She just wants to do some growing on her own.

> "Everyone in this house has problems!"

What does that mean? Does that mean your parents too? It's easy to say "mean" things when in an argument. But it's sometimes worth asking about it. What problems does she feel the family has? That might offer some insight into her moving. But let her have her thoughts about it. Don't try to change her mind. Just listen. She seems to feel like she needs help to and the best way to get it is to separate from her hometown for a while. Obviously there were some experiences that are pushing her out. Don't blame yourself for her decisions. She probably has some very legitimate reasons that she hasn't shared before.

Going for a walk is the best thing you could do. That was a very good choice! Walking burns off the energy of anger and lets our mind decompress. It feels kind of silly being out that late at night for a walk, but it really does help. Just watch for your personal safety in the wee hours of the morning. Walk in the day too. Even if you're just slightly agitated, take a short walk. Get some kind of exercise regularly too, three or four times a week.

Writing and keeping a journal helps with anger and other strong negative emotions too. The relationship book Getting Together and Staying Together is where I get my approach and it might help a lot with your sister since you two are so close. You're not a terrible person. Just a person dealing with, and going through change. Hope some of this helps. Hang in there!

by napjerks   2019-11-17

You both want the cat to live as healthy a life as possible. So the question is how the conversation proceeds. She said something you took as criticism and then you probably stopped talking. Then these thoughts take off like a rocket. That's a totally normal sequence for couples. It's not good, but it's normal. You stopped talking because you didn't want a fight to escalate but that means you put a lot of pressure on yourself with a bunch of negative thoughts and you stopped sharing your thoughts with her.

Improving your communication with each other helps a lot. One of the goals as a couple is to be able to talk things through without feeling judged or criticized. And to not be so competitive with each other. When one person wins, the other loses. And when one person loses, they feel like their needs aren't being met. It's ok to disagree. But you want to talk things through so both sides are heard and acknowledged. Try a book like Getting Together and Staying Together. Use it as a guide for how to talk to each other. Consider your current anger a growing pain in your relationship. It's difficult but it's normal and you'll be that much stronger when you figure it out. Hang in there!

by napjerks   2019-11-17

Gaming and discord can be very frustrating. Many people who use it to relax find out unfortunately that it has the opposite effect, it causes anxiety, frustration and anger. The game itself is frustrating and other players are notoriously rude, antagonistic and abrasive on discord.

So if that's what you're experiencing you want to use gaming in a more "aware of anger" perspective. You will get mad playing and it will take some time to come back down from it.

So for example play in morning or afternoon but not too late at night or before you hang out with family or friends because it can put you in a bad mood. Don't let play time cut into your sleep time. Stop playing an hour before going to bed or before dinner, etc. That way your mind has time to come down before interacting with people you love. Try not to have any interaction with family while playing because you're in a totally different state. Close the door to your gaming room or office and put a DND sign on the door so they know. Let them know you are doing this so you don't snap at them while you're playing. Then come out and say "thanks for letting me play undisturbed". These kinds of tactics may or may not work with your situation but you can come up with your own.

It sounds like your wife is a little jealous of girls online. That is completely normal and a common trust issue for couples. There are books like Getting Together and Staying Together that offer techniques for couples and dealing not just with jealousy but building a relationship based on making sure both of your needs are met in the relationship.

Consider that the fight she picked might not be so random. Just about everyone these days has heard of someone's wife or husband running off with someone they met online. So try to treat her worries a legitimate concern of hers. Not that you did anything wrong. But that her worry is valid because she loves you and never really understands what you do online. She may not understand gaming at all but there are a lot of scantily clad girl characters and 'sexy' situations. Even the term "role playing" has a sexual connotation that was around before video games. So she's curious, a little ignorant of what it's about, and doesn't want to feel like she might be facing competition from something she doesn't understand. She wasn't minding her business because you are her business. She may be overly protective and jealous but you two can work on that together.

So maybe listen to her when she shows a concern about it. And take a minute to explain how discord works, what it's for in relation to the game. And try to do it in a normal voice. Not angry sounding or dismissive.

Try not to get mad at yourself because you got mad. That just makes it last longer. Anger usually lasts from five to twenty minutes. That's how long it takes the brain's chemicals to wash through our body. So when it lasts longer than that it's because we're holding on to something. It sounds like you already recognize this because you mentioned "you just didn't want to talk about it."

So why didn't you want to talk about it? Take a minute to really clearly identify the thought or feeling that is the reason. Sometimes it's because we don't want to start a fight again. Sometimes we're worried we'll get mad again. We don't know what to say or do to resolve the problem. In these situations just see if you can talk about it for a few sentences, not even minutes - just a few sentences. And see what happens. What do they say in return? Then take a break. Say "ok" and pause. Go to another room or for a walk outside. This is to let yourself manage the emotional response for a few minutes. Even if it takes an hour or more, or until the next day, figure out what you want to say and come back and say it. You're just picking up the discussion again and say a few sentences.

This is practicing managing our emotional state but working on keeping the communication going. Especially with our family, loved ones, our boss at work, this approach helps keep the discussion moving but lets us manage our reaction better. It's not magic. It's hard work. But it's a clear technique to use to get through difficult conversations. We can't agree all the time but we can keep a discussion going over time until we can reach an outcome that considers the needs of both people in the discussion. Hope this helps. Hang in there!

by napjerks   2019-11-17

> When I get angry with other people and angrily state what I need, they get amused or shut down and don’t give me what I need.

Because they are not emotionally invested, apparently, in what you need. Without any context it's difficult to offer specific advice. For example if these are arguments with family or your spouse versus your boss or co-workers. And what the argument is about. But remember:

> We can't control other people. We can only control ourselves.

Terrorizing people into doing what you want doesn't work. They will eventually pick up and leave when they're tired of being treated that way. I could be completely missing your point because of the lack of context to go by.

Generally speaking you could try a relationship book like Getting Together and Staying Together. It helps explain how to communicate with your partner or spouse so that you both share what your needs are and learn to negotiate outcomes that create a combined vision of what you both want out of your relationship. Not "you" vs "me" but "we" together. When one partner wins the other loses. And no relationship lasts when one or both are frequently losing. A win-win situation is when both partners needs are being taken into account for an outcome that caters to both of you. Hope this helps and sorry if I've gone the wrong direction. Hang in there!

by napjerks   2019-08-24

> I have one trigger and I love her

Is she really your trigger? Find out for sure. Take a real hard and close look. Try this worksheet. Print out ten copies so you have a few ready to go. You may have already had PTSD training since coming back so I don't mean to overstep my recommendations here. But it's a great format for a worksheet and this same technique can apply to anger, depression or any strong negative emotion. I've seen many like it online specifically for anger but personally I think this one is much better because of the flow that it goes through.

The purpose is to review incidents, episodes where you get upset. It's a five minute reflection on what happened and how your thoughts, feelings and emotions changed over the course of the incident to find where you can intervene with yourself differently in the future to try and see if you can prevent getting so mad.

> except when my anger flares up, and that’s (I feel) usually caused by her

Same thing, be cautious here. When we want something to happen but it doesn't go our way, it's easy to blame them. So try to notice when you have an expectation and the reality ends up not happening the way you wanted it to. That difference is where the frustration comes from and frustration leads directly to anger.

> I can tolerate her moodiness and backlash until I can’t, then I blow up.

Both of you may be using too much caution in your communication, afraid to say things earlier on to talk about them and get them out in the air because you're worried about causing blowups. Couples therapy can help with this. It sounds like you both set each other off but its' not clear how your communication proceeds and where the agitation is coming from. Talking down to each other, raised voices, cursing or saying hurtful things, all of these are bad. So it's a two-person effort to fix it. There are relationship books like Getting Together and Staying Together that offer practical help for improving communication. The goal is to build a life together where you both get your needs met. It's ideal if you both read a chapter a week and then talk about it on Thursday nights or whatever works for you. But even if just one of you read it it can help.

Being talked down to about the couch is very annoying. She wants things to be clean and orderly. But you want to relax and be cozy. This is honestly a typical couple's thing to argue about. Both of you are right. A home is meant to be lived in but you also have to keep it clean. And each of your desires is not even gender defined, the clean freak and the slob swap places between man and woman depending on the couple. So find a way to come to an agreement where both of you get what you want. If you are right and she's wrong, she'll feel her needs aren't met. And vice versa. If she's right all the time then you'll feel you're losing out which means you don't feel validated and heard. So find a middle ground. Is there a La-z-boy chair you can romp on without being chastised if you keep the couch clean for example? Can you keep the living room tidy but be more relaxed in the den?

When you're having a discussion that turns into an argument - pause. Table the discussion until you both have time to cool off. Then you can come back to it and continue. If you get heated again - pause. These are grown-up time-outs. Have a chat about this and how you'll go about it. It's ok for either of you at any time to say "let's table this until tomorrow" then just commit to talking about it again tomorrow. But don't insist on continuing to talk while you're mad. Both of you should commit to letting each other cool off when you notice you're getting angry.

When she says something like, "I can't believe you left the couch a disaster again" it feels like a criticism. Any other statements like this also come across as criticism - you've done something wrong. So try to take the criticism and turn it into a request. And ask her to state them as requests to remove the "volatile critical" tone. Can you please just say, "would you please put the couch back together?" And do your best to do the same when you talk to her. How we speak to each other, including tone of voice, body language, facial expressions, it all affects how our partner will take it. So asking nicely is one of the first things we can do, without sarcasm or anything else. It's just a task we're requesting.

> I’ve tried to talk to her about how she talks to me but all she says is that she didn’t mean to be demeaning and that’s just how her house was growing up, everyone was just direct with each other.

Keep bringing this up. If she's asking you in a way that triggers you she's not helping your anger. Demeaning and direct are not the same thing. That's something you can have a sincere talk about. Bring up specific examples. Or just wait until she does it again and then point out, patiently and kindly, but repeat the exact phrase back to her and then talk about how she could change it. And for you too, if she notices a tone or set of words that sets her off she should point them out to you. You can edit the way you talk to each other.

Active listening helps with this. It's a way of reducing argumentation and increasing understanding. Instead of only listening to the first few words she says and coming back immediately with a snarky comment before she's done talking escalates an argument. Waiting and listening to make sure you really, completely understand what she's saying and then repeating it to her so she can say "yes, exactly" or "no, that's not it" lets you then ask questions if needed. And she can do the same for you.

Try to talk about your feelings more. For men this can be really hard. But you can use a phrase like, "When you say ____ I feel ____." "When you talk down to me I feel like you don't appreciate me. Do you appreciate me?" Use this format like a broken record until you can get in the habit of expressing your feelings to her without too much difficulty. This helps because when we clam up and don't share what we're feeling it means we're dealing with it by ourself, we feel blame and shame, and we end up pushing it down. Pushing it down or ignoring it is exactly how it comes back as explosive anger. When we pay attention to our thoughts, feelings, emotions and share and talk about them, even just for a minute it helps alleviate what would normally build up later into anger. So if you notice you're feeling blamed or agitated, and nobody else is in the house, just say to yourself, "This is what blame feels like. This is what shame feels like." And just give it a minute. That's all it takes to defuse our anger a little bit. Doing this a couple times a day helps slow things down and prevents the pressure cooker from building up.

> I just want to get to the root of my issue and start treating it from there.

The cure is communication and not ignoring the smaller emotions that come up throughout the day. Share more. Be explicit. But be prepared to share the blame for arguments. Speak up about something earlier than you have been. Letting it sit in your head without talking about it is what usually lets it fester and blow up. So talk more and more often but be gentle. Try to explain what is happening in your head without fear of reprisal and for the sole purpose of keeping the communication channel open and sharing.

> I worked as a mental health tech during one of my deployments and learned about relaxation, guided imagery, counting to ten, reframing my thoughts, but it feels like it doesn’t work for me.

If you know why you're doing them they make sense.

You will get angry again. That's the bad news. There will be relapses and setbacks. But it's only because we can't anticipate everything that will make us mad. The good news is that with practice you can start to discover what exactly makes you agitated and how to take appropriate steps to help disengage from it to help it slow back down and keep you cool. Don't get angry at yourself for getting angry, that only makes it last that much longer. So don't beat yourself up when you get mad. Use each incident as a chance to reflect and learn. Hang in there! (Edit: Sorry for writing a book but I hope some of this helps.)

by napjerks   2019-08-24

Anger is often called a secondary emotion because other emotions can fuel it. What we're feeling throughout the day can lead up to it. So whether it's anxiety, depression, frustration, if other emotions or responses are not addressed when they appear they can fuel and blow up as anger.

So when you feel other emotions take a minute to recognize them. What's going on? Pause and pick a word that fits what you're feeling.

When we're worried anger is taking over, we get in the habit of suppressing everything we feel because we don't want anger to boil over. It's like we see a pot of water start to boil and don't want it to splash hot water everywhere so we clap a lid on it. The cure is the opposite. Instead of putting a lid on it we need to work on turning the heat down and that means looking a the little individual flames under the pot to see what is causing it to boil. This is what the journaling accomplishes. Weeding through the emotions that are causing the real flareups.

We can practice recognizing the variety of feelings we have throughout the day. Instead of pushing them down or ignoring them, we can ask, "what exactly am I feeling right now?" Let it be specific. Hurt, guarded, overwhelmed, embarrassed, criticized, what exactly is it? Then just give it a second. It helps to name the emotion and to say things like, "This is what overwhelmed feels like." This is how we slow things down and turn the heat down, by paying attention to our feelings.

Communicate with your partner earlier when you have feelings about something. If it's something they said you can use "When you say ___ it makes me feel ___." Repeat this like a broken record for the next week or two to get in the habit of expressing how you feel. This sentence is a communication technique in and of itself. It's the essence of what's called active listening. It's a way of thoroughly listening to each other without judging or making a sarcastic, defensive comeback before they other person has even finished speaking. Check out the video half way down the page.

Getting in the habit of recognizing how we feel helps us keep tabs on our level of anger. A couple times a day we can pause and ask ourselves am I angry or agitated right now? Am I feeling any kind of strong negative emotion? Where am I at on a scale of 1 to 10? It can look like a stop sign:

<--Green -- Yellow -- Red-->
1, 2, 3, 4 | 5, 6, 7 | 8, 9, 10

When we start to get angry it helps to put a number on it. Am I at a 4 or more like a 6? 4 means getting a glass of water, breathing from the abdomen instead of high up in the chest. Counting to 10 breathing slowly. 6 means pausing the conversation, taking a grownup's time out, going to a different room or for a walk. 8 means we're not fit for human interaction, so we should leave the house for a walk outside and come back after we're at least back down to a 6 or lower. Thinking about forgiveness, it's ok to have disagreements, people make mistakes, write things down, I got angry so my only goal now is to come back down, don't beat myself up about it. You can share this numbering practice with your partner and say, "You thought I was at a 7 but I was only at a 4, let's talk about what happened that made us think that way."

Notice green has a wider range. That's on purpose. We will never conquer anger. But we can learn to work with it at its much lower levels while we're still in control of how we react to any given situation. Red means we're completely out of control of our emotions. The emotional side has taken over. When we're yellow or red all the time we're very reactive. So we practice the ability to separate ourselves from others and use the anger management techniques to cool off until our rational mind is back online and we can make better decisions and not say hurtful things. When we get really angry it takes between 5 to 20 minutes to come back down. If it takes longer than that we're usually holding on to something. Like wanting to be right about something or being defensive and feeling criticized. We can actually practice not being right. It's ok to not be right. Let the other person be right just to see what it feels like. But what's a step further than "I'm right you're wrong" is that we can both be right. You have your opinion, I have mine. There's room for everyone's perspective. In a relationship the goal is to find a middle ground that works for both of us. So we both come out of a discussion feeling like our needs are being met. There is room for both. Getting Together and Staying Together is a helpful book for practicing this approach for couples, married or otherwise.

You're a normal person. Many of us on here are also going through it. You are not alone. So go easy on yourself. You will get angry again, so don't beat yourself up about it. Getting mad at yourself for getting mad just makes it last longer. See if you can learn from each episode. When could you have intervened with yourself earlier? What was the trigger and how could you anticipate your reaction next time? Was it a situation, a particular word or phrase, an expectation, a way you were viewing yourself? "I should have bene able to do this, I should have done something differently, etc." Lots of things can set us off so we just need practice monitoring our own reactions and giving ourselves the room to do and say things that can help earlier in the process. It's ok to experiment.

It's great that you started a journal. The purpose of the journal is two fold. You don't have to hold everything in your head. Writing things down helps a lot with sleep. And once you get it on paper you can start to analyze what's happening. The best information we get is from reflecting on what we have written. The order things happen in can be revealing. What happened first, then the next thing, then the next. And how did your anger ramp up over the course of several minutes from when you first felt discomfort to feeling like you're blowing up? Adding in more details when it's not clear exactly when we started getting annoyed, frustrated - not even angry yet - but started getting just a little bit agitated. How were you feeling about speaking at that time? Were you trying to do one thing but they wanted you to be paying attention to something else? There are clues in moments like this that can show us where our fear is and where we tend to stop communicating, both with others and with ourselves. When we're not communicating well with ourselves it means we're shutting things off, pushing things away because we don't want to explode. Taking a moment to cool off, pause, do something that is momentarily distracting in a healthy way and then coming back to it to acknowledge it and consider what was happening that started getting us agitated is where the fruitful work is.

Try not to multi-task. Do one thing at a time for the next two weeks. Also try not to be forced to rush through things. When we let our emotions and thoughts fly by without taking the time to acknowledge how we feel about what is happening is when we can be caught off guard. Were you trying not to get angry? This usually means we definitely had strong feeling about something but we chose not to speak about it because of fear of starting an argument. This fear is often one way we clap a lid on it instead of talking. Talk earlier and more often. Be explicit. "When (this) happens I feel (this)." Pay attention to what you expect versus what actually happens. The difference between the two is where we often feel pain. The cure is better communication about it.

You are absolutely not a failure. As we mature we need to drop things that don't work and pick up some new techniques. If your therapist isn't trained in anger management (and sometimes even if they are) they may not know exactly how to guide you in your sessions. There are books like The Dance of Anger or the Anger Management Workbook for Women that can help with what to focus on as you are journaling. Hope some of this helps and sorry for writing a book. I realize this is a lot. Hang in there!

by napjerks   2019-08-24

Feeling rushed is a huge source of frustration which leads directly to anger. Anger is called a secondary emotion because other seemingly less significant emotions feed directly into it. So you want to address that rushed feeling in the mornings and do something concrete to alleviate it. Spend a minute a couple times a day identifying your feelings at the moment. If you fee even slightly irritated, annoyed, agitated, pause and name what the feeling is. Then say it out loud, "This is what overwhelmed feels like" or whatever emotion it is. And just let it be there, acknowledging it. When we don't know why we're angry, when it's not clear and seems like everything causes anger, this is a great exercise to get back in touch with our feelings while also reducing the overall buildup on a daily basis.

Adjust your wake up schedule so you have more time in the mornings and can leave the house 20 minutes earlier. It may seem like a waste of sleep time but 20 minutes extra sleep isn't enough to get you to a fully rested state anyway. At that point we're just arguing with having to wake up and blaming the alarm clock for ruining our lives. And having to manage a stopwatch every single morning on how fast you dress, whether or not he gets a warm hug vs a cold peck on the cheek as you blast out the door is not a heart warming start to the day for anyone.

To get better rest, get to bed earlier. I know, easy right? Not! But seriously, protect your sleep like gold. It sounds like you need a full extra rem sleep cycle. Going to be at midnight is too late. Start your night routine (toothbrush, night clothes, contacts) at 10. See if you can fall asleep by 11 at the latest. I don't know if you have kids or if you have late night obligations but get a full 7 at least, 8 if you know that's what you've always needed. Remind yourself you're allowed to sleep. We all face the next day's challenges better if we're well rested. Getting up bleary eyed every day just puts us at a disadvantage first thing in the morning.

Before laying down, review tomorrow's schedule so you're not caught off guard by anything on the calendar. If you regularly have trouble going to sleep because of persistent thoughts rolling around in your head, write them down before you lay down. Keep a notebook to use as a journal on your nightstand. Write anything else down that pops into your head that won't go away. Getting it on paper means it's still there and you won't forget it. But you don't have to dutifully keep it in your active memory. You can review it again in the morning if you need to. Plus, this is a great way to record thoughts on your school work you don't want to forget, especially random insights or inspirations. This pre-bedtime writing is both a positive habit creatively speaking, as well as a way to get better sleep or cope with anxiety. The next day, or whenever you need to, you can reflect on what you wrote to help reduce tension and flesh out anything persistently bothering you. Going over your writing in this way is like a self-therapy session.

Read a book - preferably not related to work or school, something enjoyable - instead of your phone after laying down. This lets your eyes relax and you don't have that blue light haze when you close your eyes. That is part of what keeps our brains going when we try to sleep because it takes a while for that to go away.

> It aggravates me when I wake up and wish he'd been in bed with me. I wished I could have had more time to lie there with him.

Talk about this with him. Be explicit. Depending on what time your alarm is set, what time could he come back in and lay down with you for a few minutes?

When we want something to happen (I wish he'd come in here so we could have quality time) but it doesn't unfold the way we want (because he's trying to leave you alone so you can get good sleep), that's basically an expectation we've built up that falls flat. The difference between what we want and what happens that doesn't go our way is where the pain comes from. The only way to work on closing that gap is by talking about it.

This is a beautiful thing you want as part of your morning routine so don't keep it to yourself. You're both extremely busy and stressed out so planning moments like this is hugely beneficial. He's overcompensating by trying to let you sleep. But he can't read your mind when you want to be with him, nor you, his. So get these things out in the open. Talk sooner than you have been. Holding things like this in while wishing something would happen is when anger builds up. Speak earlier when you have these thoughts and things will go better. Because you're sharing what's going on with you instead of bottling it up.

Consider getting up at the crack of 6 and going for a 10 minute walk or doing yoga. (Not because yoga is special. Just something to do indoors if it's raining or cold out.) Lay back down with husband for ten minutes. Work is a 10 - 15 min drive. So if anything happens in traffic or you're running behind you're automatically late if you leave at 6:45. So leave at 6:40. Give yourself five minutes after you've arrived at work to look at your schedule again and tick through any task lists you need to look at. Say hi to everyone, especially your work friends. BTW we should all have at least one friend at work. If it's dreadful, consider getting a different job. If it's work that you want to do, remember in the mornings why you wanted to do this kind of work in the first place. Write the positive things about it in your journal or on a 3x5 card to keep at your desk so you can remember it more often.

The calming techniques obviously aren't working right? You are not alone in this. They can work, but we have to understand why they work when used correctly. If we're constantly rushed and already mid swing into a well worn anger cycle they will do nothing.

Punching, kicking and screaming are come-down tactics after we've already gotten mad. Breathing slowly, low from the abdomen (vs high up in the chest fast and shallow), counting as we breathe, going for a walk, are all preventive techniques to intervene to help reduce our anger buildup to begin with. But we need to train ourselves to do them as soon as we notice we're annoyed or anxious, rather than after we already feel like hitting something. So monitor your body for stress and anger - clenching fists, tight chest, holding our breath, negative thoughts, etc. And do the techniques at this time. Write a quick not about what is just irksome or is already annoying you, then stand up, get a glass of water, go to a different room, flip through a magazine, look out the window, go for a walk, etc. Before we've gotten really agitated, before we're bursting at the seams. In the car is too late. We blow up in the car because we were holding it in and didn't want to show our frustrations to anyone. We are holding on to that facade with white knuckles. Ease that tension by writing and doing the techniques, acknowledging the great variety of emotions we're capable of feeling throughout any given day.

Take the journal with you to your therapy sessions so you have concrete examples to go off of and don't have to recall from memory alone. Consider listening to an audiobook like The Dance of Anger or taking an online class. Or a relationship book like Getting Together and Staying Together. Sorry this is so long but I hope some of it helps. Hang in there!

by napjerks   2019-07-21

> I eat pretty healthy, sleep enough, and do yoga.

This is one of the revelations I had a couple years ago. Yoga and meditation will not cure an anger issue by themselves. That was kind of devastating for me because I had invested a lot of personal time in both. The anger has to be dealt with directly and specifically. No amount of yoga or meditation will help it. And meditation teachers in particular are not trained to help people deal with anger or strong negative emotions.

> -My boyfriend was sneezing very loudly (he does this a lot. I feel horrible that it makes me angry sometimes.) this didn’t lead to a bad outburst or anything.

When he sneezes what is your feeling? Is it a physical shock from the noise that makes you feel attacked? Or is it wow he's gross? Can you dig some detail up from your reaction? There are journaling techniques for reflecting on what happened to see what is really is the issue. Basically you just write down what happened, especially the order things happen in and review how you were feeling at each point. And try to identify where it was that you went from hurrying or stressed to annoyed and angry. Anger is sometimes called a secondary emotion because it builds on the emotions that lead up to it. I like to view it as these seemingly smaller emotions are incredibly important to pay attention to because they're like little drops of gasoline that accumulate and when we're not prepared or caught off guard by what happens next, it's the proverbial match that sets the whole thing on fire. Paying attention to the variety of emotions you experience on a regular basis is helpful. In therapy it's called emotional granularity - becoming familiar with one's personal array of emotions. It can help to just pause for a minute as soon as you notice you're not feeling great, whether it's frustrated, disappointed, depressed, whatever and put the label on it. If you can say "yes, this is what resentment feels like" it can actually help you keep your cool.

Cell phone etiquette in a relationship is no joke. It causes a lot of stress for the partner being ignored. You can work to set specific expectations and boundaries. When you are watching TV together, that's part of your quality time, so no cell phones. If he's not interested in watching that show any more he should tell you. Pick another show or movie you both really want to watch.

If it's making decisions around the house or what you are going to eat that day, if he can't listen because he's preoccupied with his phone, then the decision is yours and tough cookies for him. If he gets upset because his needs weren't met, remind him he wasn't listening and he missed out. If you don't want to take that much of a "tough love" approach you could ask him, what decisions should you consult him on and what he's fine you deciding on your own. If he says "surprise me" make a mental note never to ask for his permission about that specific thing again. Take the reigns. He just gave you the power.

> He knows I have anger issues (obviously), but I don’t think he understands how quickly I can get angry over something

This is a good insight! Most partners have no idea exactly how mad we are getting. Out of 1-10 I used to spike right up to 10 but I was able to maintain a stone face and would just walk out. It was only after I started really physically blowing up that I started getting help for anger. I wish I'd done it a lot sooner because I was the one who needed to acknowledge it and seek help. My previous girlfriends never figured out I had anger issues. I had to walk into a brick wall to figure it out.

Something you can both practice is active listening. Instead of only listening to the first thing they say and immediately coming up with a sarcastic response and ignoring everything else they say while you wait for the opportunity to interject, listen fully. Listen to truly understand. And when they stop talking, you just literally try to repeat back what they are saying. Just making a summary of what they are trying to communicate. If they say "yes, that's it" you then reply with how you feel about it. If they say "no, that's not it" ask them to explain it again, or use an example. It's also important not to bring up outside arguments or things that happened in the past. Stick to the current topic and stay on it until you both understand each other.

The goal is to hear each other out fully until you can reach a decision or outcome that takes both of your perspectives into consideration. Both of your needs are met. You're partners, so it can't be one person "winning" all the time. You should both win because both of your are being heard.

There are audiobooks you could listen to on the topic of anger like The Dance of Anger and also books like Getting Together and Staying Together on relationship building and working together on stress in the relationship. Even if just you read it it can help.

Just remember you are not alone! There are plenty of posts here about trying to manage your anger in a relationship. Some other relevant posts:
Yelling at my husband
Anger and my boyfriend
Why are we always told to "breathe" or take a walk
Broke my boyfriend's stuff

Hope some of this helps. Hang in there!

by napjerks   2019-07-21

It sounds like you are plenty aware that she is just trying to protect herself. It's exhausting to have an angry partner. This article, When You Love an Angry Person, can help you see what techniques they (our partners) can use to work with us and it details that aspect of protecting herself. Knowing this helps us angry people try to soften the madness for our partners while we're still figuring it out.

The difficulty and disappointment with therapy comes from when the therapist isn't actually trained or prepared to help with a very specific treatment, like anger management, and don't refer you to someone else immediately. Sometimes they want to save everybody and each person is just a new challenge. But if they're not well-versed in anger management they really can't help us. If you look them up on your insurance provider's website or on their own website, it should clearly state what their areas are. If anger management isn't on it, skip them and keep looking.

You can be your own therapist by keeping a journal of your troubling thoughts. Grab any notebook and write down today's date. The process is to write down the persistent, strong negative thoughts you are having every day. And then go back and reflect on it with tools that help reduce your anxiety around them. Keep your writing simple, you don't have to write a lot. If you've never kept a notebook or diary, etc., Bullet Journal is a great system to use. it's like bullet points - fast, easy journaling. I use it precisely for this and also keeping track of my calendar and tasks.

It's a good practice too when you notice your mind is just filled with negativity to take a week straight to pause when they come up and challenge them. When you hear yourself saying, "I'm not good enough", "This is all wrong", etc., stop and say to yourself "that's a negative thought and I'm not going to think that way." You have to proactively cancel these thoughts but if you do it for several days in a row diligently you might notice they start to quiet down.

When you have an anger episode, write down what happened. If you yelled at someone or threw something, grab your journal and see if you can back up an hour or two if you have to in order to remember what state of mind you were in, did you already have a crappy morning? What was going on with that? Then what happened? Who were you talking to, what was the order things happened in? The sequence can be very important and illuminating. The hardest times to stay calm is when we are caught off guard, often when we receive simple criticism. But after you've gotten that written down, give yourself time, a couple hours or the next day to cool off, and then use a process like this to help find the recurring triggers that are setting you off. You'll find that sometimes what you initially thought was making you angry wasn't it at all and it was something earlier.

When we're prone to anger we don't often challenge our assumptions about things. We just go with them without questioning our own thoughts. "She's making me angry!" When in actuality, we didn't communicate what we really wanted, so they did what they wanted because we didn't provide any input. Our partners can't read our minds. Improving our communication can help with this so practicing active listening can help tremendously. Listen with the intent of understanding, from beginning to end. Instead of stopping listening after their first sentence and working on a snappy retort the whole time they are speaking, just waiting for a pause so we can blurt it out at them. Stop saying mean things just to make people feel bad. Stop bringing up old disagreements. Stop being so reactive to criticism. That's a lot of things we have to "stop" doing. But what we "can" do is listen well and if we're not clear on something, ask for clarification. Sincerely listen. And be clear about what you want. Speak up. Say it out loud. Be explicit. That's our goal.

There are relationship books that add to these techniques like Getting Together and Staying Together. It helps us understand that the goal is to communicate well enough that we can find a shared decision instead of one person having to be right all the time. If only one person is right most of the time, the other person will feel like their needs aren't being met. So let them be right just for practice. But the real purpose of communication is to negotiate what works for both of you without anyone losing out. This book is great for any couples wanting to improve their communication. I wish I'd read it twenty years ago. Hope some of this helps empower you with some tools. Be extra kind to yourself and the people around you the next couple weeks. Hang in there! [edits: fixed some stuff; sorry for writing a book!]

by napjerks   2019-07-21

Getting Together and Staying Together is a relationship book that shows how to create your world together as a couple. It also talks a lot about trust and dealing with cheating. I wish I'd read it twenty years ago. I'm sorry for what you're going through. Hang in there!

by napjerks   2019-07-21

> Stupid Bitch is my name at least one night of the week.

This is unacceptable. Someone who claims to love you shouldn't use phrases like this. You can have a talk and agree to end name-calling like this. It only ruins the day for both of you. 100% no name calling. No bad-mouthing, putting each other down. When he says that, repeat to him "no name calling." When he comes up with something new like that, point it out. Use the format, "when you call me ___ it makes me feel ____" to get him to notice it. And then repeat, "no name calling, no putting each other down." Don't let any incidence of this slide. And make sure you're not doing it either. Your shared goal is to lift each other up.

> We have gotten into screaming matches over something as little as Sprite, or what the definition of “at least” means.

This is a common argument for couples that have anger management issues. You both want to be right all the time and aren't willing to budge. In a relationship there is no right or wrong because you are unique, different people. You can't possibly have the same opinions about everything. So the goal of furthering the relationship is to find ways to agree that let you both get what you want. Both of your needs can be fulfilled if you can figure out how to communicate better and not attack or be defensive every time you talk. Active listening helps tremendously with this, but you both must be willing to work on it. If it's one sided and you're the one doing all the work it will still be an exhausting uphill battle in your relationship. Then it's just you dealing with an angry person by yourself.

> I don’t know what to do. We are both young and I know he has a lot of maturing and growing to do, as do I, and I really don’t want to give up on us. We have been together a year and a half and he is the only person I have in my life who isn’t against me, but even then he makes me feel worse sometimes than anyone else in my life.

Both of you could grow together by reading a book like Getting Together and Staying Together. You could read a chapter a week and agree talk about it for half an hour once a week. Or just read a few pages each evening out loud to each other a couple times a week. It's work. But it's a way to show you are committed to each other. It has concrete ways to create your relationship together instead of a "my life" vs "his life" approach or a "him" vs "you" approach. The goal is "our life" together.

> He basically saved me from my crazy, narcissistic and alcoholic mother. Now he says I’m just like her and that he is dating a child.

He didn't save you if he's verbally beating you up all the time in her place. And calling you a child is just dismissing your opinions. It sounds like he doesn't handle criticism or negotiation well. He takes everything defensively. Something that can help with that is both of you "turn a criticism into a request." So instead of saying, "why do you have to leave dirty dishes in the sink all the damn time?" Say, "when you're done eating could you please lightly rinse off the dishes and put them in the dishwasher?" And make it really conscious for both of you. Even announce, I'm trying not to criticize so I'm turning it into a request. That way you are both aware you're trying to improve communication and not just spark anger to make the other person defensive.

> Today’s argument? I said we needed to sell something at least $30 to make money back (we will end up selling around $50 each, but $30 is just the minimum to make our money back) and he took it literally that we were going to start pricing at $30.

He's just jumping to conclusions and assuming he has to defend his position. That' you've already made up your mind about how it should be done. You were trying to just be clear and he freaked out. So tell him, it's not written in stone, you're open to negotiation. Could he please not freak out and just say what he is thinking without the anger and judgmental baggage? He needs to be explicit. Say what he's thinking instead of judging and expecting you to be able to read his mind.

> He screamed at me, told me I was a dumb bitch about a dozen times

Again, this is behavior that should be able to stop 100% in about a week from the point you both agree not to call each other names anymore. One or two slip-ups maybe should be allowable but is all it should take.

> stole my car because I was having a panic attack and wasn’t going to drive him home in the middle of that

Not driving while you are having a panic attack or extremely emotional is common sense. Any therapist would agree. You should be allowed to calm down and manage your own emotions before you do anything else.

> said he was tweeting “I’m so glad i’m finally single” as I started driving him home once he brought my car back (he didn’t, he was just trying to play games with me).

This kind of threat to break up with you is emotional abuse. You should ask him to promise not to do this if he is committed to you. If he loves you he shouldn't hang this over your head as a threat on a regular basis, or ever for that matter. We're not talking about getting married or proposing or anything that permanent. Just not using suggesting at the flip of a switch that you'll be out of his life. That constitutes emotional abuse. To suggest he would abandon you at a moment's notice because you aren't meeting his personal needs. He's completely disregarding your needs and welfare.

> I have apologized yet again...

You should not apologize for his poor behavior and lack of communication skills. Set boundaries for his negative behavior and what you're willing to accept. Set limits, thresholds. Have a place you can spend the night when he can't control his behavior. Consider how his use of verbal and physical actions influences power and control in your relationship.

> I love this man too much to give up, and I know if I posted on r/relationships they would tell me to end it. People make mistakes and people go through tough times, and I just want to try to work through this and grow.

Just keep your own mental and physical safety your highest priority. You shouldn't go to bed mentally frazzled every night. And you shouldn't have to be concerned about the stability of your relationship based on how you're going to sell things or use the car. These day to day challenges shouldn't rock your relationship to its foundation. He may have "saved you" from your mother only to put you in a new kind of hell. If he could communicate better, he would be doing it already. So it's obvious he has a lot of room to grow. But is he willing? That's something you need to observe closely. The more unwilling he is, the more you really should consider protecting yourself from him.

> For the record, name calling has been happening for months and whenever we are good he will apologize, and say it won’t happen but then justify it when he’s angry saying that I deserve it.

That's the thing - you never deserve the name calling. The kinds of things you two are arguing about are completely trivial. It's an emotional roller coaster you are being subjected to because he feels validated by tiny, inconsequential things. There comes a point when you have to ask, "so what if he's right about this?" He's a rage-a-holic. He feeds off the anger. His ego thrives on being "right" even if it makes you feel like dirt. That is the core problem. How our partners behave has a huge effect on us. It affects our mental peace of mind. It's up to you how long you stick with him while he's figuring it out.

> Sometimes he gets so angry with me I genuinely feel like he hates me.

You shouldn't ever feel that way. Don't be ashamed of protecting yourself. You deserve to live your life. There's the saying, even if you lay down on the ground for them to walk all over you, they'll complain you're not flat enough. Maintain your space. You can't choose who your parents and siblings are but you can decide how much access they have to you as an adult. And you can completely decide who you choose to allow to be your friends. Let people in who reciprocate your genuine friendship. You might like books like The Dance of Intimacy. Consider seeing a therapist to re-establish your self esteem, validate your self-worth and ensure you are focusing on positive relationship building with good people. If any of this comes across as overly critical it's not meant to - I'm trying to give you some pep and hand you some ammunition you can use to stand your ground and defend yourself. The rest is your choice. Hang in there!

by napjerks   2019-07-21

So you were arguing and then he said something unnecessarily hurtful. Couples that fight a lot have this issue, one person will say something that really hurts the others feelings and was unnecessary. This is the kind of behavior you both want to avoid when arguing.

It sounds like your life together is mostly in public with his friends. You can modify that by choosing not to hang out with him in bars. And you can choose to avoid this group of friends if they are toxic, tend to egg him on or he tends to put on a show for them every time and you get caught up as the item on display.

Alcohol always makes an angry person worse. It immediately taps into emotions and makes things more incendiary. He was being overly dramatic about you stepping on his foot and made it look like your fault. These are the same thing. Going over the top for no reason other than to escalate the fight. They don't even mean anything at this point because they're done purely out of anger. Kicking him is nothing. It's feeding back at him the same thing he was giving you, pure anger without any intention of slowing the argument down and not taking any responsibility for nasty things he said to you.

A set of techniques that can help with this is in Getting Together and Staying Together. It's ideal if both of you can read it but even if just one of you do it gives tools for approaching these kinds of arguments and steering away from saying hateful things towards being more understanding of each other's needs. It can help reduce the volatility and focus on building your life together by really listening to each other instead of being reactive all the time. Don't blame yourself so much. He chooses to be with you. You don't have to ask his permission to be in a decent relationship. It takes two to tango. Hope this helps. Hang in there!

by napjerks   2019-07-21

Everything can turn into anger. When we’re angry we ignore a great variety of emotions that we should actually be accepting and paying attention to. We convince ourselves that pushing it down or ignoring it makes it better and then we find ourselves blowing up. So acknowledge the more subtle emotions that we might not be identifying in ourselves throughout the day. Give them their space and time. In therapy it’s called emotional granularity and a worthy investment of our time. Frustration, disappointment, agitation, depression, sadness, joy, exhilaration, let them all have their moment. Pushing them down, pushing them away, ignoring them is what compresses them in to fuel for anger.

A conversation you can have together is that you need to be allowed to have your reaction. Not go over the top and obliterate his emotional control over himself, but allowed to have your own reaction. And same for him. If either of you is reacting so strongly that you are overwhelming the other person, that is a problem. But having a regular every day annoyed reaction to something unpleasant is normal.

Having negative thoughts is ok. Agreeing with them is not. When a negative thought appears, pause and say “That’s a negative thought.” If you’re getting five a minute that’s ok too. You can say that’s a negative thought, leave it at that and see how you feel. If you have a persistent one you can say something to counteract it like “No, that’s not true” or “even if that’s true I’m not going to let it ruin my day”, “I choose how I feel.” Sometimes just ignoring them works. Other times it helps to actually state the opposite. Thoughts like “I’m not good enough or I’m a piece of crap” - “That’s negativity, I’ve chosen to love and respect myself no matter what.” Pause and leave it there.

But don’t get trapped up in arguing with your thoughts or worse validating your negative thoughts. “I’m a piece of crap” - yes, I am a piece of crap and the world is crap and nothing is fair.” That’s when it really gets us because it’s promoting the negative trend into anger, depression, you name it. You don’t even have to choose a particularly positive trend of “shiny, happy people” but a neutral trend. Choosing to love yourself is a genuine wish, a real intention. The world can be a challenging place but we have the power to choose how we ultimately think and feel about it. Do it diligently for a week. Don’t worry about the rest of eternity, just a week and see how you feel. When it comes up again, don’t worry about anything but the individual day or week. Negative thoughts are habit forming, so just focus on the opposite habit of checking negative thoughts at the door. You’re the bouncer of your own club.

This may sound silly but wave your arms around you for a second. Left and right and over your head. And say “this is my area, this is my space.” You control this space. if someone is being a jerk to you, you can physically move yourself somewhere else so your physical space is restored. But you can also imagine a sphere around yourself, like a protective bubble. But the bubble is strong, like it’s made out of concrete. When someone is bothering you, imagine the bubble, you’re calm and safe in it.

You can put them in a bubble too. They’re talking, saying annoying things, imagine them in a bubble. And slowly you can crank their bubble so it’s muffling their voice. Like literally a wall between you and them containing their negativity with them. In your bubble is positivity and protection. If you’re home and the thought of that person is still annoying you imagine them in their bubble, you in yours and their bubble slowly starts moving away. It gets smaller and smaller and you hear and see them less and less and then it disappears on the horizon, gone. This is a Buddhist (Tibetan) style meditation, some people recommend doing it for five or ten minutes for situations that really bothered you. This is great for irritating people at work. It’s helped me get over bullies and a-hole people I had to work with in the office, etc.

If you're like most couples who encounter this challenge, you want to stop trying to be right all the time. Stop trying to have things your way every time. Stop trying to win. Let the other person win just to see what it feels like. It's surprisingly not the end of the world. There's no winning when it's you versus your partner. Same for him. He needs to stop trying to be right, get the upper hand, have the final say.

Something you can both do is practice active listening with each other. This is the opposite of trying to be right. It's trying to understand each other. It's a very simple technique but it focuses on listening to your partner until they are done speaking and not interjecting as fast as you can with a sarcastic comment or trying to one-up each other. Give it a try for a week together. Even if just one parter can take this approach it will have a calming effect. But both of you doing it together is ideal. You can practice it on people throughout the day too, every bit is a helpful exercise so it becomes natural.

Another thing you can do together is read a book like Getting Together and Staying Together. Married or just dating, it's a great instruction book on how to build your vision of your relationship "together' instead of your stuff and your approach versus his stuff and his approach. You work on a combined vision of your relationship.

How our partners act affects us. Articles like When you love an angry person help put this into perspective. Not that you do this, but you want to be careful demanding your partner get as angry as you do when you’re mad. It helps to be aware that you don’t want them to have to meet you at your level of emotional agitation. (Cont'd in reply to this below...)

by napjerks   2018-11-10

Communicating emotions is very difficult in relationships. He's in pain, both physically and mentally. He comes home in a bad mood with a bum foot. You can't fix him. He doesn't expect you to fix it. He just wants to complain, sometimes loudly, until the pain goes away. So you have to listen and nod. The hardest thing to do is to stop giving advice but that's really what our partner wants. Just commiserate.

The problem with that is we do bring our parnters feelings on oruselves. And it hurts us too. So we want to mitigate it by offering advice, tell them what to do, etc. But from their perspective it diminishes their feelings. They're not over it yet. SO when we show we are over it by being more rational, analytical than emotional - they feel they're not getting the empathy they expect. And there's the conflict of interest that can turn into almost any kind of fight. It can just be a so-so fight or it can get ugly.

So we have to unhook our desire to coach them, give them a pep talk, offer advice or even consolation. There is no immediate fix sometimes. So we just try to listen and nod. If they want a hug give a hug. But the talking is what messes it up. leave them in their misery bubble until they have eased down and can pop it by themselves. Then they'll be ready to talk rationally again.

> I tried to be pleasant all evening.

This is one of my difficulties. So many time I tried to put my feelings aside and deal with their noise. But we have feelings too and if we keep ignoring ours or treating them as secondary, they're going to pile up in a dark corner of our mind an then come flying back out in a giant random cluster like a cloud of bats. So speak up earlier. As soon as you notice you are doing that - putting your emotions aside, pushing them away, ignoring them - try to articulate in a way that shows you are concerned with his pain but you are also going about your day and getting things you need to do done. "Hey, give me a minute, I'm doing such and such. Ok sit tight, relax, I'm doing such and such." These sometimes obvious statements let you dole out what you are doing. You're spoon-feeing him what you are doing yourself, but it's what lets you accomplish caring for yourself in addition to him.

> He was rude but sort of half assed trying to be better.

Even if he is in pain, you're allowed to tell him he's really complaining a lot. You can say things like "don't be mean to me, I'm trying to help." "I love you, don't beat me up for trying to take care of you." Don't let him get away with mistreating you. In a joking, loving way, if he can take it in a good way, you can tell him he's a "bad patient." Tell him "Relax, take your medicine and stop complaining. If your foot falls off you won't have anything to complain about any more." Not everyone likes this kind of humor but it makes my partner laugh and feel better and reduces tension between us. You know his personality and what would or wouldn't fly in terms of humor. Alternatively would he like for you to read something out loud to him or play a board game while his feet are up? There are ways you can spend time together when he's uncomfortable that you enjoy as well.

> Then he abruptly threw something at me to put away for him

Throwing things is bad for relationships. It's a sign of aggression. Counselors advise stopping that behavior immediately. Ask him not to throw things just because he's annoyed. And you can agree not to either. Throwing is a big trigger for couples that can be a precursor to violence so it needs to be put in check and basically stopped. Then he accuses you of drama but he's been in a huff since he got home. That's a lot of judging you without acknowledging he's being emotional as well. Men don't like to admit when they're upset or emotional. If he can just say "Yes, I had a bad day and I don't feel good right now" it would help him get a load off his chest and possibly relax better and treat you with less hostility. This is a communication problem which means it's not un-solvable. It can be fixed.

The way you explained hitting the bed, it doesn't sound like you aimed for his foot. Just that you were frustrated and wanted to hit something. I have done that myself, punched couches, walls, thrown pillows. It was out of frustration. It was because of me getting mad at myself for my inability to control my emotions. Not an attack on them. But it will be impossible to explain that to him in the near future. Just a sincere apology without making any excuses and time...

Talking at people across rooms or when the washer is on, etc. is difficult for communication too. It's best for both of you to physically get closer together so you can talk without yelling. Obviously if he's going upstairs and not communicating that the dog still needs a walk, that's his communication problem too. That's not just you.

Getting Together and Staying Together . This book talks about infidelity and those kinds of marital problems. But it also has a lot of advice for dealing with arguments, poor communication and how to communicate better. And not feeling like you are on the same page as your spouse and how it can be improved. How to lean in towards each other instead of leaning away. This is one of those books that would be ideal if he read it too but isn't a failure if he doesn't. It gives you a game plan and structure to work off of. Your library might have a copy you could borrow for free and it's usually on eBay for a few bucks.

Could you two agree to go to couples counseling for a few months to specifically address these communication problems? He is 50% of the equation. So don't bear this weight just on your shoulders alone. He has responsibility too for your relationship. You've done therapy before so you're aware it's usually once a week for the first few weeks and then once a month until you feel you've fixed the issues you went in for. You can call your regular main doctor to get a couple's therapy referral or just look one up on your insurance website. But I always feel like a referral leads me to better therapists faster. It's not always because they're getting some kind of incentive or scammy. It's just because the doctor trusts referring patients to them. If you trust your doctor its' likely they will give you a really good recommendation for a referral.

I've been in therapy for a long time only because it's really helped me. If it wasn't helping I would stop. I love my therapist and they recommended this book which was a great pick for me. One thing I did was shop around. If I didn't like them or felt there wasn't a connection or they had the wrong approach, I said thanks and moved on. It took me several counselors to get to this one.

This is my advice on dealing with anger management which my therapist recommends her female clients and honestly really helped me put my relationship with my parents in a better perspective. Incidentally here are some tips on road rage I came up with because I was so bad at it and it just ruined the rest of the day for me. I hope all this rambling of mine helps you but I realize there's no quick fix. Hope you guys are getting along better soon! It takes time and a lot of effort I know. And we have setbacks. But we have to learn not to beat ourselves up for being human and embrace who we are and keep growing and learning. I got nothing but love for you ET11! Hang in there.

by napjerks   2018-11-10

Moms are in charge and dads often just try to stay out of the way. Could you just hand him what you want him to carry and say please carry this?

What you got from your mom was not just temperament but also the communication style. So maybe just the way you speak to him needs a little adjustment. As we mature and take on greater responsibilities sometimes we just need to pick up some new techniques and drop old ones that don't work as well any more.

For example remember he can't read your mind. Even after being together for years. So in a way, the longer you've been together, the more likely you need to be explicit because you have a lot going on. You have to say exactly what you want and what you mean. Otherwise he'll get confused. And when men get confused they just stand there. And when they just stand there they feel useless. And those kinds of progressive steps are a downward spiral for a man. When a man feels useless he feels shame. Shame is debilitating for a man. It kills his ability to be proactive. He just doesn't know what to do and feels bad because of it. It's not usually that he doesn't want to help. It's that he doesn't know what to do.

Out of respect for him also try not to talk about his manhood in front of other people. That's a sensitive subject. If you don't want him to be pouting later, that's a subject to put off limits. But you are fully right to ask for help! So just vocalize. Say exactly what you want and add please with a cherry on top. You will get what you want without fuss and he'll come back around. Hope you two are doing better this week! If you would like to read a book try Getting Together and Staying Together by William Glasser.

by napjerks   2018-11-10

This is a post I wrote for someone also asking about rage and blackout anger. It's rather long and it's not perfect. But I've been working on mine for a couple years and these are the things I found that really help me so I try to pass it along.

Getting Together and Staying Together is relationship advice. It specifically addresses ways to stop criticizing each other and instead find ways to communicate and work with each other better. Doesn't matter if you're married or not. The techniques work just fine for the modern relationship. It's ideal if both of you can read it but is also not necessary. One partner can use it to help improve the relationship even if the other doesn't want to hear about it.

For a different approach, these are some Rules for Road Rage I put together from some books I checked out. It's helped me a lot on the road. See if you can apply them to your daily life for a week. Every day, review them first thing in the morning and do your best to apply them all day long to everything you do. If you slip up, don't get angry at yourself. That just prolongs the anger and makes it worse. Instead, try to learn from what happened. Just review what order things happened in, try to notice what things got you angry and what you were thinking ab out at the time. And consider how you could approach it differently next time using the rules. Hang in there! I hope these ideas help.

by napjerks   2018-11-10

There are a couple things you can do immediately that would help.

  1. Try to notice when you first start getting amped up, before you’re really angry. What things make you start stoking the fire. When smoke first starts. What is happening before you raise your voice or start to talk over her? That’s where the real beginning of anger is. Is the things we are telling ourself about the anger that is building up. Not what the other person is doing or saying. It’s in the stories and assumptions we have in our heads. Start to monitor what those are and evaluate whether they are true or not.

  2. Try not to have to be right all the time. Even if you are! Even if you are 100% right, you can already see that your reaction is much larger than it should be. You are two different people, raised by different parents, with inherently different genetics and opinions. You can both be right in your own way. Let her be right sometimes and see what it feels like. Did you really lose anything? Find a way for both of you to be right.

  3. Active listening. Really listen to what she's saying before you turn against her. That feeling you get when you want to jump in and say something - recognize that feeling before you start talking and use it as a way to catch yourself. Tell yourself just shut up, don't even speak. With active listening you just want to hear her out, let her finish her sentence or thought without intervening. Don’t spend your energy coming up with teh perfect come-back while she’s still taking. Because when you’re doing that you’re not fully devoted to understanding what she is saying. Then if you don’t completely 100% get something, ask her to clarify. Try this when you are already calm and not arguing. Practice it a bit before you get into your next argument.

  4. Try to take criticism more lightly. The fastest way we often get mad is when we perceive something someone said as a criticism. So we get defensive. Even when it’s a simple thing. When you hear something that sounds like criticism see if you can turn their statement into a request. They are actually asking something of you. They said “yadda yadda” and I took it as a criticism and got mad. But they were actually just asking me if I would “do this instead of that.”

  5. Don’t try to read her mind and don’t assume she knows what you want. Be explicit. Say exactly wha tis on your mind. When you hear yourself thinking, we’ve been together long enough, she knows what I want, she knows what I expect. Stop. This is you triggering yourself. You’re getting mad because you expect something that hasn’t been communicated completely. Say it out loud. And ask her to do the same. That way there’s no misunderstanding.

  6. Go easy on yourself. Don’t get mad at yourself for getting mad, if you know what I mean. That just prolongs the frustration and wasted energy. Work on it as a problem that needs a better technique in your communication and life.

Getting Together and Staying Together would be really good homework for you. It would be great if she can read it too but not necessary. It has a lot of tips for forming a vision of your relationship together and how to deal with conflict.

You are right to reach out for help! Sometimes we just need some new techniques and to drop old ones that don't work. A little self-study (study of ourselves) goes a long way. Hang in there! I have been working on my anger for several years and this is some of the stuff I've learned from my therapist and books. Hope it helps cool things down a bit so you can enjoy each others company and work as a team. (edits: Was sick recently so my writing is all over the place. Tried to clean it up.)

PS. Who is down-voting posts like this before anyone responds? It's rude. This sub is for people seeking help.

by napjerks   2018-11-10

I'm sorry to hear that! We can't really offer advice on how to deal with such incidents without more detail. You said you failed, but a relationship is very dynamic. Does she say things that sound like criticism and you get defensive? What kinds of things, for example the most recent, caused you to blow up? It's not always just one person failing. Relationships fail together. I know for sure if we had both had better communication skills some of my previous relationships would have lasted much longer than they did.

Do you have a therapist? You can find one on your insurance provider's website. Your regular doctor can also provide a recommendation for a therapist (give you a name). Just call their office and ask for a referral and they'll call you back. You don't even have to go in. Also if you feel you need meds for anxiety etc., you can get that from your regular doctor. You will need to go in for a visit for that. Tell your doc everything.

The therapist will usually want to see you once a week for one to three months until you are feeling better and then once a month to continue helping. Be direct and focus on what is most urgent for you. If after a few visits you start to feel it's not worthwhile, tell them "thanks" and look up a different therapist. It's ok to shop around.

Anger can be difficult to overcome by ourselves. You can make improvements by finding good articles and programs online or by reading books.

But seeing a therapist can help speed up the process by having someone to talk to face to face and they are basically training you in techniques to alleviate the stress of anger and deal with what leads up to it. Basically they help you figure out how to put out the fire.

If you'd like something tangible to show your wife there are courses online you can do at your own pace like https://anger-management-classes.net and they offer a variety of length and even mail you a certificate of completion. It's not rocket science but it took me a month to get through the 24 hour class but you could probably finish the 8 hour one in a week or two. The later courses involve motivation for staying out of jail and dealing with domestic violence, etc.

There is a book I would recommend for struggling couples Getting Together and Staying Together . I've read this book a couple times and use it as a reference when I forget how to approach something. It shows how to avoid criticism and instead work on communicating better. You could both read it but just one person reading it will still help. Also I would just recommend getting a journal or notebook and writing notes about what you read or find that helps. And when you get angry, write the date and some detail about what happened. You can use a technique like this to keep a thought diary to review and work on things that trigger you and use it to focus on reducing your anxiety on a daily basis. It's useful to have some notes like this with you when you see a therapist. It gets it out of your head when you're trying to relax or sleep at night. But it is also something to jog your memory when working with the therapist. Hang in there!