Too much fighting in your relationship?
Empathy is the antidote to anger!
Resentment and anger in relationships often stem from utter dismay at how your spouse could have possibly done what they did.
You just can’t understand it — you never would have done such a thing.
So what is the solution to dealing with resentment against your spouse and its possible escalation to anger? The solution is to channel the shock at your spouse’s behaviour into empathy, to try and understand them, and to come at the situation trying to see their perspective. It’s trite to say, but that’s because it is advice which is perennial. If it were easy, no one would need to talk about it much.
In this post I cover 6 best tips to handle anger and resentment in relationships.
Use “I statement” feeling terms, but don’t use “you.”
Here is one example of how to phrase dissatisfaction over another spouse’s actions:
“I feel resentful that xyz Is still not done. I want to understand if I can help you in any way to fix xyz, because I will feel really relieved and relaxed when it’s sorted.”
Practice active listening.
Repeat back what you heard in order to confirm you understand, and affirm your partner’s feelings.
Count to ten before speaking.
Counting to ten will help you choose your words more carefully and not say something you will regret.
Love is not a contract between two narcissists. It’s more than that. It’s a construction that compels the participants to go beyond narcissism. In order that love lasts one has to reinvent oneself. – French Philosopher Alain Badiou
Implement the I-Thou.
“Catch” the other’s feelings, trying to feel them yourself. Surprisingly, this makes the experience of those feelings actually diminish.
This is powerful because it is really the only way a person can impact another’s experience with feelings of anger in relationships.
For one, hug, and do have sex. For many women, this may involve a bit of fake it ’til you make it if the situation is in the process of being resolved but isn’t there yet. For most men, sex actually serves to alleviate resentment because it’s a form of connection in its own right.
Even though you both might not be in the same emotional place during the resolution process, connecting physically can help.
In fact, some marriage counsellors suggest that if the marriage is on a downswing, have sex at least once a day. The scheduled connection might put things in a different light and aid in resolving resentment.
Engage in daily empathy actions.
Empathy is not necessarily the default feeling and needs some retraining to become par for the course. Routine empathy can be actualized by checking in with our partners about how they are feeling, looking them in the eye, and regularly giving the benefit of the doubt. Once empathy becomes intrinsic behaviour, resentment often becomes a thing of the past.
Empathy, it turns out, is the antidote to anger in relationships. As such, feelings of empathy also fuel natural anxiety reduction. Not only will you hopefully come to an understanding with your life partner, you will both feel calmer.
Making empathy a regular part of your relationship will have an impact not only on getting along better, but ultimately feeling more connected and less stressed, because it facilitates you getting out of your own head, and into your partner’s. Empathy, as such, fosters unity, transforming narcissistic into conjoined, and dismay into understanding..
Practice the above to revive and handle Anger and Resentment in your relationship.
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