Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Are You an Angry Person?

Helen has another quiz. Yay!

This one’s a little meatier than my Vanity Quiz from last month. This time, I’m playing therapist. My qualifications? I’ll warn you, fair and square, I have none. Just been married for twenty years this June.

I
guess I’ve learned a few things, not many, but a few. One of them is that people experience anger in different ways, some not so healthy. It’s not always the Mars vs. Venus thing either. It’s also about how you were raised and your own unique personality mixed with how someone else was raised and his personality.

B
ut I’m getting too deep here. This is supposed to be fun. Or not. So let’s go.

1
. You get up in the middle of the night to go “potty” and just about fall through the toilet and into the sewer. The lids up, again, and your butt is wet. Again. You ...

a.
Don’t even notice.
b.
Wipe off your butt and go back to sleep
c.
Calmly remind the offender the next morning that there are at least two people in the house and each of them needs to be considerate of the other’s needs.
d.
Slam down the lid, slam the door on the bathroom and make as much noise as possible when climbing back into bed, including pulling those darn covers over where they belong in the middle of the bed because there are two people who sleep here. Hello!

2. You’ve been standing in line at a retail store for a while. The line keeps getting longer. And longer. Finally, another clerk opens a register and you don’t get to be the next one checked out, despite being the next one in line. You ...

a.
Don’t even notice
b.
Start humming a happy tune and tell yourself that everything happens for a reason.
c. Remind yourself that these clerks are probably getting paid, at best, minimum wage.
d. Keep track of who makes it out of the store ahead of you and drag your keys alongside their car once you reach the parking lot.

3.
You’ve ordered your meal. Salad, dressing on the side, hold the tomatoes. Fettuccine Alfredo, whole wheat noodles. Yes, chicken. Grilled, not fried. Please. Extra napkins. Water, no ice. I don’t even want to begin describing what you’re served. Let’s just say, it’s not pretty. You ...

a.
Don’t even notice. (But then you probably wouldn’t have made any adjustments to your order in the first place.)
b.
Brush your lettuce leaves off on your napkin and vow never to return. Of course, you forget the bad service and end up in the same position three more times before finally getting wise.
c. Take a deep breath, ask for a new salad, deal with the white noodles, ask for your money back on the unrecognizable chicken and scoop the ice out of your water. Amazingly, you still leave a moderate tip.
d.
Ask for a manager, insist on not paying for the meal and even get a coupon for a free entrée upon your next visit.

4.
You ask someone, I won’t say who because that would be telling, to do some laundry and cleaning while you’re out of town for three days on a business trip. When you get home, not only has no laundry or cleaning been done, but the kitchen countertops look as if someone spilled a bottle of maple syrup, another someone had a hankering for chocolate chip cookies late the previous night and the last someone remained blissfully unaware you were even gone. You ...

a.
Don’t notice. Set your purse in the syrup and don’t notice that either.
b.
Take care of the dishes, countertops and two loads of laundry after everyone else has gone to bed.
c.
Ask everyone to help out before they all head to bed.
d.
Serve the offenders breakfast the next morning right on top of the dirty countertops and refuse to do laundry for at least another week.

Y
ou get the idea, right? So here’s my take on the scores.

A
’s: Are you people even alive?

B'
s: I’m not buying it. You’re getting angry and chances are it comes out in weird ways and at times that have no connection to what made you angry in the first place. Can you say passive aggressive?

C'
s: Wish I could be ya. You’re able to separate the anger from the offense and keep your cool while still standing up for yourself.

D
’s: You’re the hotheads. Like me. And, yes, you’re dysfunctional. Me too. People say you have issues with anger. I say they have issues with anger.

T
he truth is that we all have conflict in our lives. It’s part and parcel to being human, I think. I got these tips from StayHappilyMarried.com. A resource for married couples.

"
Remember, the purpose is to resolve the conflict, not to simply vent the anger."

And here are the rules:

  1. No threats during argument.
  2. No blanket judgments or labeling generalizations.
  3. Stay on the topic at hand.
  4. No interrupting.
  5. Stay in present tense.
  6. Don't argue in the dark.
  7. Don't walk away or leave the house without saying to your partner, "I'll be back".
  8. No finger pointing.
  9. Take responsibility for your thoughts. Use "I" language.
  10. Write down the topic at the beginning to insure staying on topic and clarify the issue.
  11. Try to avoid over-dramatization.
  12. Allow time to collect your thoughts. Immediate response is not necessary.
  13. Approach the argument with a problem solving attitude, rather than blame.
  14. Try to avoid statements so critical that the other person has no course but to retaliate.
  15. Don't save up feelings and dump them all at once, try to air feelings often.
  16. Try not to yell.
  17. Don't use abusive language or labels.
  18. No gossip.
  19. Speak for yourself.
  20. Neither person is right, there are only differences. Both win when the conflict is resolved.
  21. Admit you're angry.
  22. Go forth as equals. Don't use power plays. Gauge the intensity of your anger to the ego strengths of the other person and be responsible with the things your mate has entrusted to you in your relationship. YOU ARE ON THE SAME TEAM!
I think I’ll get these laminated and mounted in my kitchen.

I also found some useful tips at the American Psychological Association’s website. They suggest that sometimes angry people need to learn to be more assertive. Isn’t that interesting?


So are you an angry person. Have any great suggestions for how to deal with conflict in our lives
?

8 comments:

lois greiman said...

I was all As and Bs. And since I'm pretty sure I'm alive that must mean I'm about to erupt.

Stay tuned.

Helen Brenna said...

No, Lois, you're one of the calmest people I know. I probably need anger management before I go and throw the phone at my maid!

Debra Dixon said...

I was terrible in an argument when I was first married. Always, Always I would utter the words, "And another thing..."

Fortunately I learned how to fight fair or argue productively. And I'm married to a very secure tolerant man so that helped during the learning curve.

We can't even raise our voices much anymore because our foundling dog gets very upset if Mommy and Daddy yell. LOL!

Helen Brenna said...

Security and tolerance always help, Deb. I find that the better I feel about myself, the better I can objectively listen to other people's opinions/complaints.

And I know what you mean about the dogs. Ours are babies too.

MsHellion said...

*LOL at trying to imagine Debra Dixon yelling "and another thing..."* (This is difficult to imagine. Debra was extremely gracious and awesome at the workshop I attended a few years ago in St. Louis. *puzzled frown* Might be more than a "few" years.)

And I'm a very angry person. I remember watching Coyote Ugly--and they refer to one of the bartenders as needing anger management classes. *LOL* And she was the funniest bartender of the lot.

And I'm not sure I could fight fair--and I certainly wouldn't be fighting at all if I had to adhere to those freaking rules. I'd fall over from a stroke in a bid to not say anything that interfered with any of those rules!

I do tend to walk off if I'm angry because I don't want to say something I regret, like, "You're a complete and utter moron and I can't believe I reproduced with you." Which would invoke the snappy comeback of: "Well, you can't be too bright yourself--since you said, 'Okay.'"--then that would start a whole new argument.

I recommend: YOGA. I do it every week, and that one hour is usually the best hour of my entire week. Even better than the hour with Grey's Antatomy or Robin Hood: the Series.

Debra Dixon said...

Mshellion-- LOL at your LOLing! (g) I'm sooo happy that you think I'm too gracious to yell. :)

My hubby is a "walk it off" kind of guy. Used to drive me nuts. I follow. Usually saying, "And another thing..."

And of course he didn't "get" that if I stomped off, he was supposed to follow, saying, "Honey, I love you. It'll be okay. I'll completely change and do whatever you want. You are always right." I had to sit him down and explain the mechanics of living with me. Actually, I'll still working on that.

He may be tolerant but he's not stupid.

Christie Ridgway said...

Oh, man, it was that how to argue list that steamed me. At myself. I'm guilty of several. ("And another thing..." Deb, sounds a bit familiar.)

Think it's interesting that it suggests not arguing in the dark. We often write about doing other intimate couple things in darkness...

Helen Brenna said...

I'm with you, mshellion, yoga baby! I might even check into getting certified. Might be more productive than anger management.

Deb, even angry and yelling you'd probably talk circles around me. When I get angry, I do tend to clam up. So I do probably need to practice the assertiveness stuff.

And that no arguing in the dark got me too, Christie. Wonder what that's all about? Maybe we need to see body language to fully understand what the other person is saying?

Huh.