Wednesday, 12 December 2012

I'm Not Angry

Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly. (Proverbs 14:29)

Unfortunately displays of anger can be the beginning of the end of a marriage either literally or figuratively.  No one likes to be screamed at, yelled at or put down. It is not an affective form of communication and usually resolves nothing.

Often anger is caused by fear or the feeling that a person is losing control.  In any event anger, other than righteous indignation, is a sin and often caused by a sin.

When Anger Hurts by Mckay offers some helpful behavioral suggestions to the person wanting to stop their outbursts.  However the first thing to do is to repent and ask God to help you overcome your predisposition to anger and then go to your latest recipient of your anger and ask them to forgive you.

There are three active and three passive approaches to converting an angry exchange into a productive conversation.  First there must be an attitude change.  The angry person must re-orient their thinking.  Moments of conflict must be viewed as opportunities to resolve problems with your partner.  By changing the desired outcome from wanting to punish, control, or get even to one of problem solving the entire climate changes.

 Active approaches:

1.    A healthy response is direct.  Ask for what you want of the other person.  Be sure it is something they can do, something behavioral.  Develop a fallback position, a minimum change that is satisfactory to you.

2.    Negotiate.  Ask the other person for a proposed solution to the problem. 

3.    Self-care.  You deliver an ultimatum.  If we don’t resolve this disagreement about ____________ I will _____________.   You must be willing to follow through.

Passive approaches:

1.    Get information.  What are your concerns?    What do you need in this situation?  How are you being hurt by___________?

2.    Acknowledge / clarify.  So what you want is_______?  You are feeling hurt because_____________?  Be factual and non-judgmental in how you state this question.  No sarcasm.

3.    Withdrawal.  This is a request for a time out.  A time to think, reflect and come back together when cooler heads might prevail.

 Hopefully, if you are prone to become angry these practical skills will help.  However for a lasting change there needs to be a heart change which only comes about through the help of the Holy Spirit.

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