Sunday, May 13, 2018

Help! I want to wring my partner’s neck! PART 2 “The science of sticking it out”

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“I feel like all of my relationships are doomed.”

“It’s all well and good until they do something to piss me off and then it’s all ‘you to wild for me ma.’ These dudes get their feelings hurt one good time and are ready to run for the hills.”

Is your relationship “smooth sailing” until you guys argue?
Did you recently have an argument with your partner and, at some point, in the argument, you realized that one of you done FREAKED up?

Welcome to the wonderful world of vaginas. A place where people with vaginas (namely me, so maybe just one person) talk inclusively about stuff that affects pretty much everyone. This edition? How to be in a relationship when HOPPING FREAKING MAD.

Read: Help! I Want to Wring My Partner’s Neck!-PART 1: Communicating With Your Loved One Through The Veil Of Ange

Okay, so let’s delve into my experiences for a quick second. I have anger management issues. I sometimes see red. I get enraged. Things happen to me that feel out of my control when I get mad, upset, or frustrated. I have literally hopped with anger. This is not a joke for me and I assume it isn’t for any of you either. So, how is it that I manage to have a partner that gets on my nerves all the time, without sending him running for the hills when I’m aggravated with him? There are some things I had to realize about myself first, some tips and tricks I use to prep myself for ‘an episode’ and some things I try to do DURING my anger to try and head it off. So, I’m going to dish out the tips to you lovelies in a two-part series Help I want to wring my partner’s neck!  

Welcome to part 2! From start to finish, this segment contains some serious steps toward getting yourself under control. No wonder your parents always had such trouble with you. Now you’re the adult in your life and must deal with your own tantrums.  Remember, when going into situations where you feel triggered, a good rule of thumb is to approach the matter with the mindset of trying to find a resolution that works for everyone.

STEP 1: Stop and think
Let's stop and think

Step 1a: BREATHE BREATHE BREATHE. When I first become incredibly enraged, there was a half second where I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Take that second and use it to take 5 more deep breaths. I’m serious, do not stop at three, take five or even ten. Do what you must but, do to NOT say that first thing that comes to your mind. It’s bad! Don’t say it!

Goose fraba!

Do whatever you have to do to not say that first thing! Calm down. Take a second. Fully walk away if you need to. All of this is part of the stop and think process.

Step 2: Identify why you are angry.

Tell yourself that your anger isn’t necessarily wrong. Don’t try to bury your anger. Go into it. Feel it. Identify it. Thich Nhat Hanh says in his book ‘Anger Wisdom for Cooling the Flames’ that feelings of anger do not actually anger at all. He likens anger to a crying baby. Usually, there is something that we, on the inside, don’t feel is fair. We feel saddened at this unfairness (when our inner angry baby begins to cry) and we grow frustrated about our perceived lack of ability to address or remedy this imbalance. This mixture of emotions creates what we commonly identify as anger. The solution here is the more inner reflection to handle our inner crying child.

NOT like that!

Dealing with anger is, according to Hanh the ability to delve deep with meditation or Self-reflection and play the mother to our crying inner child. We can do this by identifying where we feel mistreated, by giving that feeling credence and solving that issue instead of our surface feelings of rage, which are usually misleading. So, for our step 2, concentrate on identifying what is the source of your feeling of mistreatment and dissect it.

Step 3: Address the issue with an eye toward resolution
You have become angry. You have addressed why you are angry. You have found the real reason fueling your feeling of mistreatment and it’s not something arbitrary, like their tone. Now, you need to articulate your displeasure and hurt to your partner. How can you do this without them becoming hyper-defensive and not hearing what you have to say?

3a. Always talk about the actual issue and not supplementary bull DONK.
We are going to stop calling them arguments here and now because that is a very contentious word and you should be going into the discourse with an eye toward resolution. There is nothing more annoying than getting into a disagreement with someone and instead of having them address what is hurting you, they veer off into something that you did, that hurt them. This is a defense mechanism.
Understand, as soon as this common defensive response happens, there is no logical reason to defend yourself, unless you are feeling attacked. Just like the age-old phrase goes, “the best defense, is a good offense.” If your partner begins attacking you during your discourse, they themselves are feeling attacked. Defensiveness is a key indicator of how your partner is feeling, something you should always keep an eye on.

No shields necessary

If your partner is defending themselves, take a step back and let them know in plain English that you are not attacking them and that you understand the action they are speaking about hurt them. However, that you are not focused on that right now and if they would like, you can pick up that discussion after you are finished having this one. Get verbal affirmation that this is the plan. Mutually agree to it and then continue to step 4 which tells us HOW to speak to our partner.

Step 4: The golden rule.
When you are angry, if all respect or human decency for your partner flies out of the window, that tells us all something about you, and more self- reflection on your part is needed. Make sure when your true colors show, they are pretty colors and to that end, MIND YOUR MOUTH. Don’t take the low blow unless you want one in return and treat your partner how you want to be treated during the disagreement. You can do this by learning to speak constructively while angry.
I can hear your thoughts, I swear it. “So, what do you mean by constructively here?”

Constructive people. I’ll explain.

Speaking constructively during a disagreement is how you can de-escalate situations and put your partner into a problem-solving mood, as opposed to a defensive mood. Let’s check out this very fake example:

Person A: “Hey! You didn’t take out the trash. Again! Can you please actually take it out, instead of letting it sit or waiting for me to do it? You never do what I ask you to do.
Notice how Person A has chosen to phrase their displeasure. I promise, the nuances of Person A having asked Person B to take out the trash any number of times got lost behind the phrase “you” for Person B. “YOU” is the first and pretty much only thing your partner is going to hear in that sentence. The rest translates out into “I’M ANGRY AND IT’S YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUR FAULT! FIX IT NOW, YOU DONK-HEAD!” It doesn’t matter that isn’t what Person A said to Person B. The statement above is how it was translated.
People often don’t respond to what you are saying, but how you are saying it, and certain trigger phrases or words. “Always” is one of these trigger words. When having a discussion, it is bad to generalize, because the person you are having the discussion with will consciously or subconsciously start looking for individual instances that deviate from the generalization you made. As we all know, doing this during a disagreement is not conducive to problem-solving.

Instead of angrily saying “you didn’t take out the trash again” and “you never do what I ask you to do” Person A could try this:
Person A: “Sometimes when I ask you things, I feel like you blow me off. I asked for the trash to be taken out a few hours ago and it’s still here. But, it’s not just about the trash. I don’t ask you for things arbitrarily, I genuinely need help and I feel like I’m not being listened to. Can you see how this could upset me?”
This takes a completely different tone than the previous example and it’s because Person A was forced to change their phrasing by taking out accusatory “You” statements. Now, instead of coming from a place of needing to defend oneself, Person B might just approach the crux of Person A’s issue. A feeling of being ignored and unimportant, and not the surface issue of the stinky garbage. The true face of any disagreement is the desire and will to hash it out and reach some sort of compromise that works for everyone.


This article is not designed to show you how to manipulate your partner into always getting your way. It is designed to educate you on how to resolve conflict in your relationships. To that end, compromise is always the ultimate goal. When going into a disagreement, you should know the end goal is NOT to get your way. It’s to come away from an untenable situation with a happy medium you can both live with. I started this series by saying that we should always keep an eye toward resolution when heading into difficult situations with our partners and it’s with an eye toward a resolution that you should approach compromising as well.

You have now made the self-reflective shift, towards the things that upset you and have mastered the art of speaking properly during times of distress; Now, if you are doing all of these steps and are still encountering problems or frequent disagreements with your partner. Either because you feel unheard or things aren’t making a shift into the land of the better, consider that the problem isn’t you, but your partner. before doing anything drastic make sure to go through these steps with them and try the science behind sticking it out.

By Alisha Smith, Alisha is 24-year-old recent graduate, writer, blogger, gamer, and corporate drone by day and rampant blabbermouth by night. She currently writes for Ms. Vixen and on Medium and spends her free time shamelessly pursuing her interests and avoiding other humans. 

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