Yesterday was a very frustrating day, and it started about 2 weeks ago, and kept building. I have been dealing with some end of the year paper work. This involves two banks, and two credit cards, and health insurance, and holiday preparations. You can probably imagine the stress and frustration all this has caused. The anger came out yesterday. Actually that is not an entirely bad thing, since expressing anger does help let go of it by venting. The thing is, yesterday, anger got the best of me. What do I mean? Anger, made me hide the best side of me to prevent getting more hurt, and what the other people saw, was the worst side of me. The anger caused more problems, and it didn’t solve the cause of the problem.
Some people yell when they are angry. Some people sulk or give the silent treatment. Some people smile and pretend they aren’t angry (which seems a bit crazy to me). I tend to YELL! I learned this from my father who has always yelled a lot, and he learned it from his mother. My son learned it from me and his dad. How did I come to this epiphany? Yesterday, after discussing the day’s frustrations with my husband and going to bed, I woke up this morning determined to find a solution to prevent anger getting the best of me again.
I got online this morning and did a little google research about how to control anger. I printed some useful suggestions and explanations. I read them, and highlighted the best parts. Then I pondered what usually makes me angry, and how do I deal with anger? I am hoping I can find a way to use my anger in a more productive way, and actually solve some frustrating problems, without yelling. What I have learned, is that although anger gives me the feeling of power and control, it actually is a bad way to solve a problem. Sometimes, I can get what I want by yelling, but usually, it just makes another person angry. Two angry people just circle around the problem, and see each other as the enemy. There is no enemy in most cases. There is a problem, or a misunderstanding that needs a solution. Whether you deal with anger by yelling, or sulking, or being silent, (or smiling crazily), none of these behaviors will solve the problem that caused the anger in the first place.
I decided that one way I can try to deal with my anger, is to take a time out. Many of us have used this technique with a child who is not behaving. So, when I realize I am getting nowhere with a problem, and all I want to do is YELL, instead I can take a time out. If I am on the phone discussing a problem with someone at the credit card company, I can say, “You know I really need to think about this for awhile, I will call back later when I am thinking more clearly.” If I am in a room talking with someone about a disagreement, I can say, “I need a break. I just need some time to think and calm down. Can we talk about this more after dinner (or lunch)?” Then in the thinking process, I can do what I learned online to do —
Figure out what the real cause of the anger is. Figure out what the real problem is. They may not be the same thing. Then come up with a possible solution for the problem. Realize that the person I am angry with, is not an enemy. They are just doing their best to do their job and live their life in the best way they can. This thought process should disconnect the anger. Then I can put the problem in perspective, and realize that it is not the worst thing that has ever happened to me, and there are actually several good things that have happened that day. Now I can take a few deep breaths, and use my calmer attitude, and my plan for a solution, to allow me to finish the discussion with a better chance of reaching a solution without anger. Even though yelling in anger can make me feel a bit better letting off steam, it really doesn’t get me what I want — a solution to a problem.
So what possible solution did I decide to try for yesterday’s frustrating problem? I decided that I have time to let the bank work on the problem. I don’t have to get it solved today. I am going to let them try to straighten out the mess for two weeks. Then I will call again, and see if the problem is solved, or if I need to come up with another solution. Either way, I am in a much better mood now, and I can deal with the situation using the best side of me.
So what do you think? Do you think this makes sense? Would it maybe work for you too? Let me know what you think.
The golden rule is — Treat others as you would want to be treated. I know I don’t like to be yelled at or given the silent treatment. Thanks for letting me sort out my thinking process with this blog. I hope I got you thinking too.