How you communicate your anger to family members and friends is important. In the heat of the moment, you may express your anger inappropriately. It's easy to use blaming language such as "It's your fault." or sarcasm, "You got what you wanted, huh?." Some use exaggerated statements like "You always think about yourself and no one else."
Others might name-call, "You're stupid," Or maybe your go-to anger statement is, "you make me feel bad," or, "you think I'm not good enough."
There are benefits to name-calling, yelling, and sarcasm. Name-calling could make you feel morally superior, e.g., "You're bad," and "There's something wrong with you and not me. "Yelling as a form of communication may show that you mean business and aren't a pushover.
Telling your spouse, "You made me yell at you," makes you less accountable for the things you say. You can say or do what you want when you are mad, like screaming, breaking things, or hurting someone because it's not your fault- they made you do it.
The more I think about the benefits, the more I realize it can be liberating to communicate anger inappropriately. When speaking to people, you don't have to lower your tone or consider other people's feelings. With no filter, you say what's on your mind and do what you want.
However, communicating anger inappropriately can be draining and lead to feelings of shame and embarrassment. Due to shouting and name-calling, close friends don't want to be your friend. Your partner could disconnect from you emotionally or leave the relationship. You may feel lonely and have minimal connections with people because they feel ignored or disrespected.
Sometimes people find it challenging to be assertive because they feel worthless or not good enough. They tell themselves, "Nobody cares about me" or "I don't matter." These thoughts lead to guilt, bottled-up emotions, and resentment towards themselves and others. Everyone has the right to say no and mean it or to stand up for themselves when they feel disrespected.
You can communicate anger appropriately, which looks like being assertive. When assertive, you share your feelings without yelling or being hurtful. You are direct and can say no and mean it. Assertively expressing your anger shows you have respect for yourself and others.
What does assertiveness look like in practice?
To communicate anger appropriately, you will want to avoid sarcasm or yelling at your loved one or friend. An example of this will be if you tell your spouse, "You make me mad." This statement describes how you feel but uses blaming language and doesn't explain what caused you to be mad.
You can use "I feel" statements by stating how you feel about a specific situation. Using "I feel" statements communicate how you feel, and it doesn't attack your partner. For instance, you'll want to say, "I feel mad when you don't spend time with me on your days off work."
You would prefer the "I feel mad" statement because you are taking ownership of your emotions and you are direct. When the person knows why you are upset, the two of you can address the problem.
Conversely, when you say, "you make me mad," you influence the person to become defensive and argue why you are wrong. "I feel" statements encourage the person to listen with an open heart instead of ignoring you or justifying their behavior. Give "I feel statements" a try, and you'll feel empowered to express your feelings to anyone.