How to Channel Anger In An Argument

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Anger is a useful and healthy emotion, but too much of it can create chaos and destruction in a relationship. If you don't control it the right way, it can cause more harm to you and the person you're arguing with and most of the time not actually allow you to express yourself clearly and efficiently. So how to channel your anger effectively in an argument?

What You'll Need

  • Your breath (always an anchor no matter what's happening).
  • Some humility when you realize you haven't channeled your anger all that well. It takes practice.
  • Be gentle with yourself.

What You'll Do

  • Make a commitment to yourself to only ever use your words to describe and express that you're angry, i.e. no physical or violent gestures are allowed ever which includes never throwing anything.
  • Make a commitment to yourself to never swear at, or name-call, any person you're having an argument with.
  • Use I-statements and focus on your own feelings and thoughts, i.e. "When you said x...I felt hurt and embarrassed and then I lashed out at you because...", or "When you did y...it reminded me of when my father...and so I reacted by...". An example of not doing it right is "You were being so selfish when you...".
  • If you need to speak about the other person try and use one of these phrases (it'll land better and they'll get less defensive): "I imagine you were feeling..." or "The story I made up when you didn't call me was..." or "I suspect what was happening for you was..." or "I experienced you as selfish when..." (very different to "you are selfish").

Tips & Warnings

  • The more you can learn to tolerate the burning/fiery/heat sensations of anger in your chest, the more you'll have a few seconds to think about what and how you want to say something. It's a practice. The person you're having an argument with is likely to be sane. They'll have their own valid viewpoints and experiences. Try and listen to them. Both of you are likely to be "right" in your own way. Remember we are 50% of every interaction.
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