You’re angry. Boy, are you angry. She didn’t do things the way YOU wanted them.

A lot of good that anger’s going to do you.

I mean, did you think that because you’re angry, she’s going to say, “Oh, I’m so sorry!” Did you think she will turn to you with eyes full of love and affection and stroke your back? Were you expecting your anger to turn a hostile environment—that YOU created—into the warm, loving one that you long for?

Who are you kidding?

Oh, did I say these things before in an earlier post? Well, I guess I have to do that again. For all of you who are tired of hearing me remind you that anger is one of the most worthless emotions and we could all do well to leave it at the door, just skip this post. But there was someone out there who needed to hear this again. I just know it. And by the way, repeated anger is abuse. No two ways about it.

“Worthless emotion?” you’re saying. “Why? Isn’t it a natural expression of feelings?”

Anger may be natural. So is poison ivy. It’s certainly not helpful. It’s decidedly unhelpful. The angrier you get, the more you push away those you love, the more you muddy up the waters as to what, exactly, you want, and the more hostile an environment you create. Everything you want gets pushed that much further away. Is that what you want to do?

I don’t think so.

Instead, learn to see the world from your partner’s place. How about trying one simple exercise the next time she does something that you think “makes” you angry:

–Do your deep breathing and calm down first.

–Then ask her why she did it.

–And—here is the key thing—actually listen to the answer.

–If you still don’t like the answer, don’t get angry. Ask more questions. Keep asking and keep listening until you really do understand her point of view. Really understand, not fake understand. Understand well enough to articulate it for her if someone else asked.

I’ve asked clients to take a pair of their wife’s shoes (or husband’s shoes) and keep them handy. Whenever the gulf between you gets to be too far away, put them on or at least wriggle your toes inside them and imagine what walking in them would be like since they won’t actually fit. Be your partner for a few meditative minutes.

Do whatever you can to bridge the gap.

Being angry isn’t on the list of choices. It creates walls.

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