Tags: Health Topics | spouse | stress | behavior | upset

Fight Their Anger With Love

love chosen the right way instead of hate

(Ivelinr/Dreamstime)

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Thursday, 20 February 2020 12:12 PM Current | Bio | Archive

"He or she has anger issues and we just fight."

I hear innumerable versions of that complaint on my Sirius XM radio show.

My typical immediate response is, "Well, a screaming fight can only take place if two people reciprocate yelling, name calling, threatening . . . so why do you yell back?"

Frankly, it surprises me that spouses are willing to unleash on each other when weeks, months, or years ago they couldn’t bear even the thought of not being in each other’s arms.

I do ask how and why they could put aside all those touching feelings and look right into each other’s eyes and go for blood — intentionally wanting to do damage.

When I pursue the motivations to lob back when their spouse is having a meltdown, all I get back is silence. It is as though the caller sees "fight" as the only solution available.

I consider the "fight" reflex reaction a clear lack of compassion.

And it should be obvious that "love, honor, cherish" should include an awareness and sensitivity to the feelings of the other when they become unglued. Where is the understanding and compassion that we promised to give each other?

The latest such example was a woman who called to complain that her husband has these angry outbursts. I asked her why she thought that happened. She offered that sometimes he just seems to get all upset over something that isn’t so big.

When asked for a more specific reason, she replied, "Probably stress."

My follow-up question was, "How does yelling back at him help him with his problem?"

Her answer to that was, "I guess it doesn’t."

Now I do understand that it may be difficult to not personalize your beloved’s upset behavior. When we take it personally we do tend to strike back. Nonetheless, I expect a loving adult to work on controlling that reflex and turn their attention solely to the emotional state of their spouse.

That means stopping the urge to strike back and go immediately into caretaking behavior. "Honey, may I give you a hug? I know this has been a tough time for you.

"Sweetie, let me bring you some coffee/tea/cocoa/beer and let’s sit and talk about what is upsetting you.

"Dear, let’s take a walk outside, get some fresh air, and then revisit whatever is upsetting you."

And, while you do that, hold hands!

Or, just move in for a hug, caress, back rub, etc. In other words, attend to their feelings and fears instead of focusing on the stupid things coming out of their mouth due to some terrible upset.

These are the behaviors of love.

Unless your spouse is a drug addict or a compulsive mean person, there is nothing at all to be gained by "taking them on." In fact, if your spouse is simply mean, go home to mother.

Otherwise, please, please, control your adolescent, knee-jerk, self-defense reaction to strike back, and lovingly move in for the love — not the kill.

Nobody has ever been made to feel better by having someone they love and depend on yelling at them. That simply escalates into a situation no one can control — or repair. There definitely are some things which, once said, can never be taken back or forgotten.

So please, come in with love and understanding.

Approach him/her with palms up and a ready hug.

Dr. Laura (Laura Schlessinger) is a well-known radio personality and best-selling author. She appears regularly on many television shows and in many publications. Read more reports from Dr. Laura — Click Here Now.

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DrLaura
I do understand that it may be difficult to not personalize your beloved’s upset behavior. When we take it personally we do tend to strike back. Nonetheless, I expect a loving adult to work on controlling that reflex.
spouse, stress, behavior, upset
596
2020-12-20
Thursday, 20 February 2020 12:12 PM
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