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Some Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
From Dave and Mike

Re: Out of Control

Re: Constructive Anger

Re: Angry Friend

Re: Other People's Habits

Re: Blowups in Marriage

Re: High Self Expectations

Re: "Anger Illness"

Re: Family Cut-Off

Re: Dating Warning Signs

Re: Angry Women

Re: Can Abuse Stop?

Re: Do I Have Anger Problem?

Re: Angry Husband

Re: Spouse Won't Admit Problem

Re: I'm Better; Now my Wife is the Angry One

Re: Emotional Abuse: What is it?

Ask Dave or Mike a New Question

 

Dear Dave and Mike:
You say that people who get angry are never actually out of control. But it sure doesn't feel that way to me. When I get really pissed, I just explode and go ballistic. Sometimes I don't even remember what I've said when I was mad. I'm sure I'm out of control at those times. What do you think about that?
A.S., Plymouth, MN

Dear A.S.:
We'll stick to our belief that angry people are never "out of control" (unless, of course, they have a major mental illness like paranoid schizophrenia where they may actually lose contact with reality). That doesn't mean that there aren't times when people feel "out of control." But feeling "out of control" and being "out of control" are two very different things. In your situation, try to think of some times when you have made better decisions when you were angry. Are you "out of control" at work? Have you continually lost every job you've had because of your angry outbursts? Do you only respond to your anger with extreme forms of violence directed at others. If that was the case, you'd likely be in prison. We all make choices when we're angry. If you have any limits in your own mind about how you express your anger (e.g. not saying certain cuss or swear words at certain times), this is an example of making choices. The goal in effective anger management is to start realizing that you are continually making choices so that you can work at making better ones in the future.
Dave and Mike
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Dear Dave and Mike:
What is constructive anger?
F.T., Burnsville

Dear F.T.:
Constructive anger is putting one's anger to some productive use, to making a difference. An example is that when women were angry about losing loved ones to drunken drivers, they formed the organization called Mothers Against Drunk Drivers.
Dave and Mike
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Dear Dave and Mike:
I have a good friend who seems to get mad at me almost everytime we get together about something. It's really getting old. How can I confront her and tell her that I don't like what she's doing without her getting mad about that and blowing up again?
M.B., St. Paul, MN

Dear M.B.:
First of all, there is no guarantee, even if you say something directly and respectfully to her about her anger, that she will not simply respond with more anger. People who have a lot of anger don't like being told that their anger is interfering with their friendships. She sounds like a person who has a lot of anger in her life and it sounds like you have become one of her scapegoats for the pain she feels. If you want to maintain the friendship, it's critical that you tell her how you're feeling about the level and intensity of the anger you experience when you're with her. But she may not care. In any case, it's not your responsibility to continue to spend time with her if she is not willing to listen to your concerns about how your time together feels to you. And, in reality, thinking about the loss of your friendship and time with you may serve as a potential consequence that could help her actually look at her angry behavior and do something about it.
Dave and Mike
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Dear Dave and Mike:
Some people's habits just make me angry. What can I do about it?
L.G., Excelsior

Dear L.G.:
Sometimes we get angry and frustrated by others because their behavior reminds of some things we do ourselves. Other times, we get angry because we are already upset about something else. Ask yourself why you are so bothered by this behavior? Maybe it says more about you than about them. Are your expectations too high? You might want to adjust them. If the behavior is really annoying or frustrating, you might confront the person gently about it. They might be willing to change their behavior. If nothing changes, you can choose to spend less time with that person.
Dave and Mike
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Dear Dave and Mike:
I've got a big problem in my marriage. I've only blown up at my wife a couple of times in the past but now, whenever I start to get angry, she gets scared and refuses to even talk to me. What can I do to build back the trust we used to have?
D.S., Eden Prairie, MN

Dear D.S.:
This is an ongoing problem in many intimate relationships. And the loss of trust you're talking about can eventually lead to emotional distance and even divorce. When you say that you've "blown up...a couple of times," what exactly does that mean? The extent of the explosiveness and abusiveness in a marriage can make a huge difference. But even if there have been only two times when you've become verbally explosive, this can have a very damaging impact on the way your wife feels about you. One of the most important factors in having a healthy marriage is to moderate the anger you express. When you don't do that, you destroy the emotional connection between you and your partner and create distance and a loss of safety. Relationships need to feel safe if people are going to experience closeness and trust. There is no easy way to re-build that trust if it's been damaged by cruel or hurtful attitudes and behaviors. You may want to think about doing some reading or getting some professional help to better understand your "blow-ups." They don't "come out of nowhere." There are an indication that something is going on within you that you need to attend to. If you start to understand what was going on, you may be able to start sharing your insights with your wife. That may be helpful to her. But the bottom line in re-building trust is stopping the explosive and abusive behavior that led to the loss of trust in the first place. And, if your wife is going to actually regain trust in you and the marriage, she needs to see this happen consistently over time.
Dave and Mike
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Dear Dave and Mike:
I expect too much from myself--so I get angry when I don't live up to my own expectations. What can I do about it?
M.C., Stillwater

Dear M.C.:
Our own expectations often come from our parents or others. It might help to look at where your expectations came from. The process of lowering expectations can be freeing and relieving. You don't have to be perfect to be lovable. We all make mistakes. We all disappoint others at times. It is helpful to develop realistic expectations through affirmations, and self-acceptance. Watch your self-talk, the words to you say to yourself when you make mistakes or fail. These could be damanging to your self-esteem.
Dave and Mike
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Dear Dave and Mike:
Is there such a thing as an "anger illness" and how would you know if you had it? Please email me back with an answer because I really need to know.
J.M., California

Dear J.M.:
We don't view anger as an "illness." There may be some genetic predisposition to being angry, hostile, and irritable (often this can also involve being anxious or depressed). But, for the vast majority of people, there is, in addition, a learned component, where we see important people in our childhood acting in an angry, cynical, and aggressive way and we learn from these role models that this is the way to experience and express our own anger. Because we believe that hurtful and disrespectful anger is learned, it can also be un-learned if you get to know your triggers, start to better understand your personal escalation process, and learn some effective ways to intervene in these with de-escalation and calming strategies. There are some good books on the website list (we especially like our own books as well as Anger Kills and The Dance of Anger). It is also very helpful to contact and work with a therapist who has expertise in issues related to anger, control, and abusive or aggressive behavior who can assist you in changing some of the attitudes and behaviors that are interfering with your life.
Dave and Mike
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Dear Dave and Mike:
What can a person do when family members brood over things to the extent that they literally have completely cut themselves off from us? We don't want to be cut off, and they don't seem to be getting the message of reconciliation that we are trying to send. What keeps people brooding over things vs. trying to heal the hurts and resentments that have gotten between us? Sometimes, it feels like we're being punished.
B.R., Chicago, Ill.

Dear B.R.:
When people brood and fret about issues and are completely unwilling to respond to others' overtures, they are, in fact, being punishing. It may be because you have done something to them that they perceive to be very hurtful and disrespectful and they are not willing to address it, forgive, and move on in your relationship together. It may be because they have problems in handling their anger and resentment or don't have good tools to discuss the issue and to work on being forgiving for mistakes that you have made.

Unfortunately, there isn't anything you can do to "make" them resolve the issue and re-connect with or respond differently to you. You may want to write a letter to them, addressing your feelings and concerns and taking responsibility and making amends for whatever you don't feel good about. This might open a door between you and them. You could also ask if they would be willing to sit down with a third party, a counselor or a trusted friend, to try to address the issue directly. But sadly, if they are totally unwilling to make any efforts to move toward reconciliation, you need to accept this and move on in your own life. Sometimes seeing a counselor by yourself can be helpful with this process as well.
Dave and Mike
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Dear Dave and Mike:
Hi. My name is Suzanne. I am 22 and I just started dating a 23-year-old man. I guess I kind of saw some problems in this guy and started looking for some information on the Web and came across your article called "The Warning Signs That A Man May Become A Batterer." Although I did not see any of the "high risk markers," I did notice 8 of the other warning signs you talked about. I have noticed that he is very controlling at times. We've been together for only three weeks and he has already said that he loves me and wants to be with me forever. That was my first clue. Anyway, my question is this. Even though he is controlling at times (e.g. wanting me to eat certain things, telling me what I should wear, not letting me hang out with my friends when he is not there, calling me alot and getting mad when I'm not there or don't answer the phone), he is also incredibly wonderful with me at times, showering me with attention, affection, lots of nice gifts, and dinners at great places. I really don't want to walk away from this relationship...he can be a pretty special guy. But I do want to talk to him about my concerns. How do I bring this up to him and let him know that I am concerned about these controlling behaviors without putting him on the defensive? I have never been in an abusive relationship of any kind, and I don't want to start now. Thanks for your help.
S.K., Phoenix, AZ


Dear S.K.:
There are no easy ways to talk about the issues you want to address with your new boyfriend. Controlling men may not become physically abusive but the kinds of control you are talking about in your letter still have the potential to hurt and stifle you. Many men believe it is their "right" to control "their women" because "they know what is best." We don't agree with this way of thinking. Being controlling with others, even without violence, destroys self-esteem, self-respect, and the human spirit. You, as a person, have a right to eat what you want, wear what you want to wear, spend time with friends by yourself, and decide whether you wish to answer your phone. Controlling behavior always comes out of an internal sense of self-doubt and insecurity although the other person may try to hide this by proclaiming "I do this because I care about you so much" or "I only want what's best for you." In the end, you need to decide how you want to live your life, even if you're with a partner (that's what a healthy relationship is all about). We would recommend that you talk directly and honestly with your boyfriend about your concerns about his tendency to be controlling with you. If he is unwilling to listen to your concerns and to look at this issue within himself, that means even more difficulty for you in this relationship in the future. Take care,
Dave and Mike
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Dear Dave and Mike:
I am married to a very angry woman. She often yells, screams, and rages over the smallest things. She has also been known to throw things, swear, and even hit me. In fact, she told me "fuck you!" on our honeymoon. Her anger and rage is abusive. She justifies her reactions because I "piss her off". But her fuse is so short that I must constantly "walk on egg shells" in our relationship. Her own mother aknowledges these anger issues in her. I have tried to get her to join me in marriage counseling but she absolutely refuses. I think this is because she doesn't want anybody to find out what she is really like. She is very polite to strangers but is rude, angry, and abusive to me. Everywhere I look on the Internet to find out more information about anger seems to always show MEN as being the perpetrators. It's like women are seen as these "perfect little creatures" who are always the victims and never the perpetrators of explosive and abusive anger. This blindness to reality makes me leary of the psychological "community" as far as what they really know. I wonder why this bias against men.
C.K., Miami, FLA

Dear C.K.:
From our perspective, there is no question that women, as well as men, can be explosive, disrespectful, and abusive. It is not okay for men or women to use control and abuse as a way to try to address and resolve feelings and issues. As you may or may not have noticed on our website, the five-session anger classes that I offer are for both men and women and the material I have written is, in addition, used in women's anger management classes all over the Twin Cities area and in my work with women in my private practice. I have worked with many more men than I have women in my counseling practice over the years but that does not mean that your wife's behaviors are any less abusive than an angry man's. As a matter of fact, many men offer the same justification that she does, saying that they become abusive because their female partners "piss them off." Your wife may not recognize that she has a problem (and many men do not see themselves having a problem either) but she does, if your description of her behavior is accurate. And there are counselors out there who can help her with her anger if she chooses to address it. If she is not willing to address it, however, you have some of the same options that women in abusive relationships have. Consequences are one of the major ways that angry PEOPLE get the message that their behavior is not okay. If she is unwilling to do any counseling, you may decide to go to counseling for yourself to help you start to identify the options that you have. There are counselors who can help you with this. You cannot force her to change this part of who she is but you can figure out what you need to do to take care of yourself (and your children, if you have any). Good luck.
Dave and Mike
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Dear Dave and Mike:
Can abuse in a relationship with a partner ever stop?  Is it possible that a woman can just push a man too far so that, as a result of her doing this, he ends up hitting her?  Or is this just an excuse?
D.L., Ann Arbor, MI

Dear D.L.:
You, as a partner, can certainly say and do things that are offensive, disrespectful, and hurtful to a partner and there is nothing wrong with looking at what you are doing in your relationship and changing these behaviors to do your part in creating a healthy relationship. However, your partner is not “out of control” and he still makes a decision about how he is going to respond to you. You have absolutely no control over his behavior. In fact, he makes the choice about how he will behave with you and everyone else. The idea that you “push him too much” is, from our perspective, just a convenient excuse so he doesn’t have to look at alternative responses, which might include actually leaving if he really believes that you treat him so poorly.In reality, many men do not seriously think about that as an alternative and they really want their partners to take responsibility for their controlling and abusive behavior. His telling you that you “need to do something different” so that he does not explode with you is an effective way to do this. It sounds like your partner needs to find better ways to respond to whatever he is feeling frustrated and angry about in your relationship.That is his responsibility alone. You do have the responsibility to take care of yourself (and your children, if you have any) and to stay safe in your life. If he is unwilling to look at himself and actively work to change his controlling and abusive attitudes and behaviors, this will be difficult to do if you continue in the relationship with him. Good luck!
Dave and Mike
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Dear Dave and Mike:
Hello. My name is Katy. My mother has told me that she thinks I have an anger problem but I don’t really think that I do. How do you know if you have an anger problem? I also wanted to ask you what will happen if you do have an anger problem and you don’t do anything about it.
K.T., Los Angeles, CA

Dear K.T.:
The way to determine whether you have an anger problem means making an honest assessment of how your anger is affecting your own life and the lives of the people around you. There is an article on the website entitled Is Your Anger A Problem (For You or Others)  that describes how anger can interfere in a number of areas of your life.  That can give you some ideas about whether your anger is affecting you or others in a negative way.  In addition, there are two self-tests on this website that you may want to take. There is an Anger Index,  which can give you a “quick and dirty” sense of where you stand regarding your own anger, negativity, and cynicism. There is also an Anger Pre-Test, which is a true-false test that can help you assess what you know and don’t know about anger. You do have to be open and honest with yourself when you are taking these tests; otherwise, they probably won’t be very helpful to you. If you have a problem with your anger and you “don’t do anything about it,” the likelihood is strong that it will only get worse over time and that it will lead to significant consequences, for you and anyone who tries to get close to you. It’s a worthwhile endeavor to address this issue if someone in your life like your mother is expressing concerns to you about it. There are a lot of articles and resources on the website that can give you more information about disrespectful anger and where it comes from. You may also want to seek out a counselor to talk more specifically about you and the part that anger plays in your life. Good luck!
Dave and Mike
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Dear Dave and Mike:
I am writing to you because my husband is angry almost all the time. He get upset on a daily basis and gets loud and harsh with me and other people. When we go out to dinner, he often gets angry and you can see it on his face and in the way he acts (other people see it too). He doesn’t seem to care how he is affecting me or anybody else. It has made our home life miserable. One day, he is mad about me shopping; the next day, he explodes about the kids not doing their chores the way he wants them done. He even gets mad if I touch him at night. He has a history of alcohol and drug abuse, and attends AA meetings faithfully, but he is still awfully angry. He says that we don’t get along and that he doesn’t like me in front of the kids, and sometimes it gets even worse. I’m thinking seriously about divorcing him but he keeps calling my bluff, telling me to go ahead and divorce him. I don’t know what to do. I’m miserable living with him but I also really don’t want to leave. Is there any help available for him?
C.S., Spokane, WA

Dear C.S.:
If things are going to change in your household, your husband needs to be willing to directly address his angry, controlling, and abusive attitudes and behaviors. It sounds like he’s been willing to do something about his alcohol and drug use, but simply attending AA is generally not enough to address the anger issues in his life (as a matter of fact, when some people sober up, they actually become more angry, not less). He really needs to contact a counselor in your area who has expertise in anger and abuse issues to look into becoming involved with individual therapy or an anger management class or group to look at why he is so angry and what he can do to change that part of himself.  If he is not willing to do this, it is unlikely that anything will change in his life or yours. At that point, you need to take the responsibility to decide how you want to proceed, for you and your children. Sadly, your kids will probably start to pick up some very unhealthy attitudes about anger, relationships, and families if something doesn’t change (this may have already begun to happen). There is a lot of good information on the website about anger and how to handle it more effectively and there is a anger management workbook I have written entitled Embracing the Dark Side,  which is a practical and useful resource to help men and women address their anger issues. You can get this by downloading an order form from the website. But even with the workbook, it sounds like it would be helpful for him to connect up with a counselor to help him through the process of learning to do something different with his anger. Good luck and take care.
Dave and Mike
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Dear Dave and Mike:
I have a question for your website (and for me!). I'm going to ask my own counselor about it when I see her next, but here it is:
What can I do if my husband refuses to admit that he has a problem with managing his anger? I feel that our marriage is in jeopardy, and I've even issued an ultimatum that he needs to go to counseling about his anger or we will have to separate. Somehow he managed to "improve" for a while and he talked me out of the ultimatum. Now things are worse again. He refuses to get any kind of counseling, but I do see a counselor myself. Is there some way that I can "force" him to face the anger issues? So far, his anger is expressed only verbally, not physically, but I am very much on edge, not knowing what will set him off. I really need to have him address this issue.
O.T., Minnetonka, MN

Dear O.T.:
Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to "force" your husband to address his anger issues. At some point, he needs to decide this is something he is willing to do, for himself, for your marriage, and for your children (if you have any). However, the reality is, for many angry people, that clear consequences are a practical way to help motivate them to look at their anger. When you gave him the ultimatum you mentioned, that was what you were doing. It is important to understand that "empty threats" that you are not willing to follow through with are not helpful because they give the other person the message that you are not really serious about what you are asking for. It sounds like it would be helpful for your husband to see a professional who has expertise in anger and abuse issues. If he has no interest in doing this and refuses to go, nothing will change. Even if he is willing to go, if he is unwilling to put any time and energy into the counseling to learn new attitudes and skills, his being in therapy wouldn't do any good either. I think it's great that you are seeing your own therapist. In the end, you need to figure out how you want to live your life and your therapist can be helpful to you in sorting this out. Good luck.
Dave and Mike
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Dear Dave and Mike:
I have been involved in an anger management class and have made great strides in recognizing and controlling my anger. Now, I see my wife doing many of the same things that I used to do. I have tried to suggest to her that she may have some "anger issues" now (directed at me), but she doesn't see it this way at all. She refuses to look at the possibility that this may be true, she refuses to talk to anyone about her anger, and really doesn't seem to see what is happening in our relationship at this point. For me, it took a shock to get me to understand that I had a problem with anger. I think I am dealing with this and I have sought and been granted forgiveness by many of those whom I have hurt over the years. What can I do about my wife if she refuses to admit, recognize, or address her own anger issues? She will be nice one moment and cold and mean the next. She admits that she is mad at me and bitter and resentful about the past, but refuses to let it go. Do you have any suggestions?
M.R., Green Bay, WI

Dear M.R.:
The bottom line is that, if your wife has an anger problem of her own, it is a good idea for her to address it. This is absolutely critical if she has unresolved issues from the past , if she needs to develop some new ways to communicate whatever feelings she is having in the present, and if your relationship is going to get any better. If she received destructive messages from her childhood related to how her family or peers dealt with anger, it is certainly a good idea for her to take a look at this and learn to understand what she was taught.

But, with your question, there are also some other important issues that you raise. Part of what sometimes happens, when men finally begin to address their own disrespectful and punishing anger expression that has been a longstanding part of an intimate relationship, is that their female partners do, in fact, become more angry and begin to show this, occasionally in some very unproductive ways. They begin to feel safer about expressing anger that they have needed to squelch throughout the years because they have been afraid to be as direct and assertive about what really has been going on for them in the relationship. Her anger expression, even if it becomes hurtful and disrespectful at this point, may actually be part of her healing process related to what has happened previously in your life together. This does not mean that it is okay for her to now treat you in a punishing or abusive manner. But her beginning to express her anger, even if it is done poorly at first, often serves as an "test" that she may be using to determine if you are truly changing the way you look at and treat her. This is not to say that she is aware of this or that it is a "conscious" process, but if she has been fearful in the past to speak up, she may want to find out if you are really applying the tools to make it safe for her to do this in the present, even if what she is doing seems "provocative" or just like "many of the same things" you used to do.

Even if this is the case, however, It is still helpful for her to look at her anger expression. Things will not improve between the two of you if she is not willing to do this. If she is unwilling to look at her anger in individual counseling, it might be helpful to seek some couple counseling with a therapist who is familiar with anger, abuse, and control and their effects on her as your partner over the years. This can be useful in helping to determine whether her current anger is part of the legacy of what you have been doing to her in the relationship. She may need to deal very directly with the hurt, disappointment, resentment, and anger she has experienced related to what you have said and done with her in your time together. Good luck to both of you.
Dave and Mike
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Dear Dave and Mike:

I'm in an anger group right now with the Twin Cities Men's Center. In our class last week, we discussed emotional, verbal, and other forms of abuse. I am struggling in a marriage with my wife right now, and we're separated. She has accused me of being abusive, and I have had a hard time with that...

My question is this: What constitutes an emotionally abusive behavior? The reason for the question is this: There are many things that are listed as "emotionally abusive" that are fairly common behaviors (rolling of eyes, interrupting, and the like). No one will argue that these are good things to do, but labelling them as "abusive" seems a little excessive to me. Perhaps it is my "hang up" with the connotations of the word "abuse". One of the members of the group put it like this, "When you refer to someone as abusive, I think that maybe that is the type of person that has to register with the cops when he moves." Certainly not every person who has interrupted belongs in this category of being abusive.

So my question is: what separates "normal" (though unhealthy, not good, but still normal) behaviors like occasional interrupting from being abusive? When is interrupting no longer normal, and when has it crossed the line into the "abuse" territory? Is it a part of a larger picture, when combined with other behaviors and attitudes?

We had two responses in class:
1. Intent: If you didn't mean it in a bad way, it is not abuse. To me, this seems to let the "abuser" off the hook too easily. Things can still hurt regardless of intent.
2. Perception: If the "other" perceives it as abuse, then it is abuse. I feel that this is too harsh. there must be some standard of truth out there... What if there was a situation where a man and a woman had a "low-level" abusive behavior that occurred. How do you tell whether it is actually abuse, or whether the "victim" might be overly sensitive? Is there such a thing?

Another thought that we had is that maybe all these behaviors are abusive, nearly everyone is an emotional abuser, and maybe we need different words to distinguish this "stuff" from violent physical abuse and sexual abuse.

Maybe the terms "use", "misuse", and "abuse" could be worked in... Emotional misuse?

Anyway, thank you for having such a great website and being so open to these questions. Thanks for all the work that you do to help us angry (and I think mostly clueless!!) guys.
Thanks, J.M., Mpls., MN

Dear J.M.:
You raise some interesting and, I think, very important issues in your question. Both responses that your class had are very relevant. The term "abuse" is often a "trigger word" for people who have it directed at them by someone else. There are many other words that describe abuse to me and include "hurtful," "disrespectful," "harsh," "mean," "cruel," "demeaning," "derogatory," and the like. Your term "emotional misuse" seems a bit vague and confusing to me. As you have stated, intention is absolutely critical.

If the intention is to hurt, punish, intimidate, or control, you are being abusive from my perspective. Those are the four operative words that describe, to me, what abuse is. You may well say to yourself, "Well, I'm not really intending to do any of those things to the other person" when you behave in a certain way. But, in my mind, that is not enough. This is the point at which you really need to look into yourself and try to assess whether that is, in fact, what is really going on. This is not an easy task. It means looking at your past and what you learned about how you view yourself, people around you, and the world in general (angry people often don't know themselves and why they do what they do as well as they need to). And it also means trying to understand the purpose behind what you say and do in the present. Human behavior is always purposeful...there is some meaning behind it. So if you say or do something that is hurtfuI to someone else, it's worthwhile trying to assess if there is some "hidden" meaning or agenda in what you are communicating to the other person even if you may simply deny this at first.

Oftentimes, angry people have little awareness of the impact they are having on others around them. Starting to understand that you are affecting others (and that they are not just "too sensitive") is an important part of understanding and changing how you express your anger. Hurtful and disrespectful behavior (i.e. "abuse" in my mind) is truly on a continuum from relatively "minor infractions" (e.g. rolling your eyes, clicking your tongue, interrupting and talking over others) to "major infractions" (e.g. slapping or hitting someone, choking another person, and using objects or weapons or even killing someone).

The "bottom line" is that these sorts of behaviors, no matter where they fall on the continuum, especially when they are used in an ongoing and consistent way, always have the potential to damage your relationships with others. It is our belief that everyone is on that disrespectful continuum at times. But the overall goal, in our minds, is to decrease the things that we do to others are are on this continuum. They are never helpful in building safety, trust, caring, and intimacy into our relationships with other people.

Another issue that you justifiably raise has to do with how others perceive what you say and do. Some people, because of their own family of origin and life experiences may indeed perceive your comments or behavior as hurtful and disrespectful, even if that is truly not what you intend. In fact, someone else outside your relationship might even agree with you . But, in reality, couples and others in relationship (e.g. family members, friends, co-workers) need to decide if what they say and do is okay in the context of their relationship together (and BOTH people need to have a say in this). There may indeed be people who don't mind teasing, bantering, and other forms of language and interaction that some others find offensive. But if your partner (or the other important people in your life) find what you're doing to be hurtful, disrespectful, or offensive, it makes a lot of sense to look at your behavior and try to do something different. Otherwise, you are likely to find those people moving away from you (emotionally and/or physically). We think that it's great that you're taking the class and hope that it's helpful for you in your relationships with those closest to you. Take care.
Dave and Mike
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