Tell a fish it's in the water?
Ralph and Robin were in their kitchen having a discussion. Their emotions began to rise.
Robin attempted to explain her point of view and was continually interrupted by Ralph. The more she felt she couldn't express herself because of his interruptions, the more anger she presented. Her demeanor hooked his anger, and the eruption of accusations, fault finding, bringing up the past, and dredging up old wounds resulted in her leaving the room with more hurt and pain than before.
The difficulty with telling someone they are angry is like telling a fish it's in the water. (That is if you could say that to a fish.)
It is such a blind spot, and the conversation degrades into an unrecognizable mince of words. The original conversation has disappeared, and it is now only about winning a fight. This is more a natural feeling than abnormal because who wants to lose?
Amazingly, an angry person doesn't notice when they lean in, speak loudly, act intimidating, use strong words, or try to subdue the other. And it's interesting how bringing up these angry tendencies only provokes greater anger and denial.
Anger in relationships represents our automatic survival mechanism. Yes, the fight, flight, or flee mode.
None of these work in resolving a disagreement peacefully. If the fly or freeze mode is taken, the argument is pushed into the future and usually erodes into an angry fight that, interestingly enough no one can win. Yes, in an angry fight, everyone loses. I also hate the thought of others, particularly innocent children, becoming collateral damage as a result of hurtful words. When the parents of a family are fractured, the children suffer the most.
I have witnessed anger too many times in my office. Protruding veins, wrinkled faces, occasional spatter, and sharp, piercing words appear without the person knowing they are angry. Anger can feel so appropriate at that moment and is not easily ended. The angry person is unaware of the damage and collateral damage it produces. It is only currently perceived as the appropriate way to deal with the situation at that moment.
What is not seen is the unappealing and unattractive nature of anger just to prove a point or win an argument. The unseen results of anger are fear, broken trust, distancing, and brokenness.
Anger might stem from a lack of control. Carrying too much emotional baggage is another source. Another example is being unaware of one's emotional maturity.
Anger is one of the most prominent blind spots I see in relationships.
Going out of control to gain control is an oxymoron. So is telling a fish they are in the water.
Can you recognize and admit when you become angry?
Watch for the blind spots.
Please comment, like, and share, I appreciate your input.
You can get a copy of my book below.
Blind Spots in Relationships
What I don't know I don't know about Myself
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