From Anger To A Deeper Connection

I’d like to share a story about something that happened with my wife and I, which might sound familiar.

by Jeffrey Mark Levine

We were going out to see a movie, and headed to a part of town that we aren’t that familiar with.

I’m someone that likes to get there early so I make sure to allow plenty of time. I told my wife when I thought we should leave – because I wasn’t sure of the traffic or of the parking situation.

I definitely don’t want to be late to a movie I’m looking forward to seeing.

When I told her what time I wanted us to leave, I could see she had a look on her face like “Do we really need that much time?” But we didn’t talk about it.

When it came time to leave, she was running late – and we left about 10 minutes later than I would’ve liked.

So of course, we hit worse traffic than usual, the parking situation was challenging, and while we were trying to find the actual theater entrance (it’s a huge complex), we got lost. It was mere minutes from the start of the movie when we finally got to our seats.

Through all of this, I was seething. I was blaming her – no, I was yelling at her in my mind.

My blame story was – she had made us late and caused tons of unnecessary stress – AND we almost missed the start of the movie.

Looking To Make A Different Choice

So I’m sitting there two minutes before the movie starts, and I feel I have to unload this in a way that doesn’t ruin the entire experience for both of us, yet lets me express all those strong feelings I was holding in.

My old habits wanted me to tell her how wrong she was. I could have felt justified in making her feel really bad for “causing” us so much stress.

Fortunately, I have some skills and I stopped myself. I broke my habit of blame. I considered what I wanted to say – based on what I wanted the outcome to be – an enjoyable time at the movies.

So I said, “I need to get this off my chest.”

She felt it too and said “I know, I know.”

I continued: “We left the house about ten minutes later than our plan, and ran into a number of problems getting to our seats. I found myself stressed out and angry about it, because I want to know I have enough time to get to the movie with ease. So, I’m requesting that if we’ve got plans to leave at a certain time, and you want me to drive and get us there, that you do your part to make sure we leave on time. Is that something that you’re willing to do?”

She watched me as I spoke. And I know she was feeling relief that I didn’t say something angry or accusatory to make her feel bad. She responded, “Absolutely.”

I made a different choice, based on what I wanted the outcome to be.

I won’t lie to you, this was a monumental effort for me. And looking back on the experience I’m so relieved I handled it the way I did.

In your life, perhaps running late isn’t something you’d get terribly upset about. But I’m fairly certain you can think of a situation where your button is pushed and you feel like lashing out. We all feel that at times.

And what I’ve learned is angry blaming always makes the situation worse – and creates a new situation to clean up.

I talk about this in depth, and much, much more, in my ebook, “How To Talk To A Man.” 

In it, you’ll learn how to navigate challenging conversations, as well as avoid confrontations. And when you do have confrontations, you’ll be able to resolve them more quickly so they don’t turn into lingering bad feelings and resentments, that keep you from the closeness and intimacy you desire. 

I will also show you how to bring up issues in a way that will get you heard – even when you’re dealing with your own emotional triggers. And I’ll show you how to respond to him – even when he is blaming you and accusing you.

In short, if you’re interested in learning some new skills to use when your buttons get pushed, I can help.

This is all about language that’ll express what you’re feeling without blaming the other person – and it isn’t intuitive, at first.

If this connects with you in any way, I’d like to hear about it.

And if you would like some help in shifting how you speak under stress, please contact me.

Jeffrey Levine is a corporate coach and trained mediator (and Rori Raye’s husband) who works with both men and women to improve their communication, deepen their connection and remove the blocks that keep them from feeling and expressing love. He is the author of “How To Talk To A Man”, which contains invaluable advice, tools and solutions to help you avoid common relationship pitfalls, and clean things up when they go south. “Every moment presents a new choice for you: a decision about what you want – and what you believe you deserve.”

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