He or she didn't plant that emotion in us; it was ours. Often, we assume that we're stuck with that emotion — that there's nothing we can do about it. But a response acknowledges that while the emotion is real, we can choose what we do with it. If we stay stuck, we're waiting for the landlord to do something.
But if we take ownership of that feeling, we're free to move forward in a healthy way. That's why two people can be in the same car, stuck in the same traffic jam, late for the same appointment — but one person is upset while the other is calm. What's the difference? One person is blaming everyone else and the emotion escalates.
The other person knows they can't control the situation, so they choose to control their perspective. Viktor Frankl wrote in his book Man's Search for Meaning , "When we are no longer able to change a situation … we are challenged to change ourselves. How do we learn to respond instead of react?
By changing our perspective. When we feel strong emotion a reaction , that should be our reminder to slow down and decide what to do next a response.
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Have you ever filled a large tumbler with ice cubes and cool water? The ice cubes melt a bit but then re-form into single blob of ice. When you take a drink, the ice unexpectedly comes crashing forward, soaking you in the process. In the early days of marriage, we are amazed at all of the wonderful things about our spouse — and we hope they'll never change.
A few years later, all those little, icy irritations build up into an iceberg of frustration — and we wonder if they'll ever change. Yes, people can and do change. But anytime our happiness is dependent on others changing, we're setting the stage for frustration. We're no longer in control — they are. Healthy relationships happen when two people take responsibility for their own choices. It's like playing tennis. I'm responsible for what happens on my side of the court.
When the other person serves, I choose what I'm going to do with that serve.
But in marriage, it's tempting to become frustrated with how Diane is playing, and I want to rush to her side of the court and take over. But that's not my job, and Diane becomes frustrated at my attempts to change what she's doing. Owning our emotions means staying on our own side of the court. We can't force a spouse to change, but the choices we make will influence him or her. There are never guarantees, but there is always hope. When we spend all our time focusing on the faults of others, we don't have time to work on our own.
The apostle Paul was surprisingly practical in his advice about emotions. He told us not to worry about anything and just pray. That's good advice, but it can feel trite when we're in the middle of the emotion. Even if we pray, the emotion still hangs on like the scent of a skunk. That's why Paul adds a few verses about the need to replace the negative emotion with an intentional focus on things that are true, honest, pure: "Whatever things are true.
Blaming our spouse for how we feel usually defaults to criticism. After all, if it's his or her fault, it makes sense for us to be upset, right? When our husband or wife doesn't "repent," we feel even more negative — and our words become sarcastic or cynical.
Here's the filter, directly from Scripture: "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear" Ephesians The first part suggests that it's often best to simply say nothing and listen intentionally. The second part implies that we're taking control of our emotions and how we express them.
When a couple has become accustomed to renting their emotions, taking ownership might feel unrealistic. Many persons have such deep anger at their parents that they unconsciously desire to keep themselves dysfunctional as a way to get back at their parents.
All anger is, at its core, a dark and cruel wish for harm to come upon the person who hurt you. Note that we can even direct our anger at things. If a tool breaks right in the middle of an important task, leaving us feeling frustrated and helpless, we will smash the tool onto the floor and curse it.
What to Do About Anger in a Romantic Relationship
I wish you were dead! And then, when the tears dry, nothing is ever said again about the words of her outburst. So we all suffer insult, and we all feel hurt, and we all tend to sink into fantasies of revenge. So what honest alternative is there? Well, you can get up the courage to explore the human psyche a bit more deeply than most persons want to go and discover something about human nature.
Something ugly. You will discover a concept about human psychology that theology and religion have for ages called sin. Or, to say it more simply, most people are narcissistically preoccupied with their immediate desires and have little, if any, altruistic awareness of anyone or anything else around them. Sin therefore leads you away from true love and compassion, and it sends you right into all the predicaments of self-indulgence. Sin really does hurt others because sin defiles love. Narcissistic Personality Disorder refers to a pervasive pattern of grandiosity in fantasy or behavior , a need for admiration, and a lack of empathy.
Those who know true love act with confidence, straightforwardness, and honesty, whereas those who present themselves as nice are often merely hiding the depths of their anger behind a show of smiling appeasement. For example, after exploring their childhood memories, some persons will say that they feel sad or lonely but do not feel any anger at their parents.
In these cases, the anger can be recognized not through the emotion of rage but through specific behaviors of hate. Hatred for authority can be expressed through criminal activity; political protest and terrorism ; abortion; shoplifting; speeding; being late for appointments; living in clutter or filth; etc. Questions and Answers: More about psychotherapy and anger at parents. To forgive means simply that you refuse to keep hating someone.
What to Do About Anger in a Romantic Relationship
In practical terms, this refusal to hate is a conscious decision, from the depths of your heart, to give up your desire to feel the satisfaction of knowing that the one who caused your hurt will get hurt in the end. Notice here that the silent, secret desire for satisfaction keeps unconscious anger alive and growing and prevents genuine forgiveness. They may not believe in sin, yet it is breeding right under their noses. Psychology concerns the individual, and forgiveness is an individual act. And for that matter, peace is also a matter of individual will, not of politics.
No government can order you to love, and no government can order you to hate.
A ccording to the principles of geometry, an infinite number of lines can be drawn through a single point. To define any one particular line, two points are needed. The same sort of principle applies to psychology. The experience of one trauma does not tell you much about your unconscious, because any explanation is as good as any other.
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If the trauma is repeated, however, then you have two points to define a line which can be tracked back into the past and projected into the future. And maybe others again, until you start to look at your life and ask yourself what is going on. This concept of psychological repetition , however, has nothing to do with naturally recurring cycles. Repetition refers to an unconscious process by which you essentially lead yourself into trouble over and over. For some dark, unknown reason, you so despise yourself that you continually put yourself at risk.
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You will feel victimized by the world. You might even become a psychological terrorist. When a child is abused, it cannot be claimed that the child has any responsibility for the abuse. Violence is always the responsibility of the perpetrator, and, when violence is repeated, the perpetrator is at fault.
There is, however, a psychodynamic process called Identification with the Aggressor in which the abused child, in trying to make sense of something essentially senseless, comes to believe that the abuse must somehow be justified, and the child will therefore unconsciously seek to befriend, and even imitate, the abuser. With this dynamic in place, blame and anger toward the abuser becomes turned toward the self, thus beginning the repetition of an unconscious, self-inflicted abuse.
In fact, scientific research has shown that adults who were sexually abused as children tend to have a high risk for being sexually assaulted e. Moreover, the research shows that adults who are sexually assaulted and who were also abused as children tend to have even lower levels of mental health functioning than those persons who were sexually abused as children but never sexually assaulted as adults.
As a result of abuse, the child experiences painful fear and hatred of the abuser s. Because this self-destructive behavior is unconsciously directed against the world, not the self, the child cannot see, let alone accept consciously, that he or she is now causing most of his or her own pain. And so the child grows into an adult who harbors an aching bitterness against the world for its unpunished abuses.
They lack confidence. They lack a meaningful future.