The holidays are fast approaching. In 14 days Thanksgiving will be upon us. As most of us experience, especially Newlyweds, the holidays can cause stress and strain on any
relationship. Whether it’s an old family dispute, inviting in-laws into your home, or cooking for a house-full of people holiday stress is sometimes inevitable. Unfortunately, stress doesn’t come and go unnoticed, with stress comes anger, blow ups, and hurt feelings. Most women are masters of holding back from their loved ones when they are hurt, angry, or irritated. But, it has been scientifically proven that it can be harder for men to calm down than it is for women. Which may cause a person to explode at the wrong time, such as sitting around the Thanksgiving table. The key to avoiding this holiday horror is to not let those feelings fester, by telling your loved one how you feel.
Dr. Nancy Zapolski, a psychologist states that the key to telling a loved one you angry is to remember that “The intention is not to get something off your chest or to dump something on the other person,” she says. “The intention is to restore the affinity and the love in the relationship.”
So how does one go about doing that? Back in April I read an article on Wall Street Journal.com, Friendly Fight: A Smarter Way to Say ‘I’m Angry’. I thought the steps outlined in the article would be the perfect approach to take in order to avoid a holiday blowup. Here are 5 steps:
1. Calm down. Take a walk, or get some sleep, to get perspective and allow your emotions to cool. Think about exactly what disappointed you. Ask the other person to talk. Say, ‘When is a convenient time?’
2. Acknowledge the difficulty of having this conversation. ‘This is hard for me to say, and it may be hard for you to hear.’ Saying this out loud will make your words less threatening and defuse the other person’s anger and their possibly defensive reaction.
3. Say ‘I,’ not ‘you.’ Don’t say, ‘You did ___ wrong.’ Say, ‘I felt hurt when you did___.’ ‘When you accuse someone, they have to fight back,’When you share what you feel underneath, it gives the other person some room.’
4. Find out why. Ask for the other person’s point of view. Say, ‘I know you probably didn’t mean to hurt me. Why did you do it?’ Really listen to the answer.
5. Say everything. This is your chance to put it all on the table and talk about how you can change the situation in the future. ‘Could you please do this differently next time?’ A hug wouldn’t hurt.