Home Anger Management I Need Help Managing Relationships

I Need Help Managing Relationships

by Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

From a woman in Iran: I have found out that I have a really bad personality problem; here it is: When someone that I care about makes me angry repeatedly (for things like not answering my phone calls), I talk aggressively and bittingly to him/her. The result will be his/her anger and stop being kind with me. Then I feel ambivalent. On one hand, I’m sad and guilty because of my impolite talking and nagging; on the other hand, I believe that person is the one that made me mad and he/she deserved my rude words. At least I could show my anger and I now I feel catharcised.

After that, Some days pass and I start to excuse and ask for forgiveness, however I believe my bad talking was the reflexion of his/her bad behaviour to me. But I deeply feel I need having good relationship to that person. This is so hard for me. This cycle makes me crazy and i cannot do my daily activities. I repeatedly had this problem with my literature teacher when I was in high school. Now I have the same problem with my educational consultant. I hurt a lot because he doesn’t behave normally and kindly to me, I know he even doesn’t like to think about me, let alone talking or visiting me.

Thanks for your help.

One possibility is that you are so concerned that someone might be rejecting you that you reject them first. As you have already discovered, your angry reaction may make the person go away for a time but it also damages the relationship.

More important that labelling what you are doing is learning how to respond differently. First, consider whether it really matters what the other person thinks about you. Someone doesn’t need to be a good friend to be an important resource. Good examples are your teachers and consultants. It is enough that you are mutually respectful and get the job done. Your worth is not dependent on such people liking you.

With friends, it’s another story. Expressing anger with angry words doesn’t do anything to solve the problems. Instead, you need to learn how to have a civil conversation about it when people disagree or don’t meet your expectations. My guess is that sometimes your expectations are unreasonable (like maybe an unreasonable idea about how often someone should answer your phone calls). Sometimes you may simply have a different point of view and that difference makes you anxious and angry. In that case, you need to learn how to keep emotions out of it while you and your friend try to clarify the problem and maybe come to a compromise.

Your anger isn’t necessarily a personality problem. More likely it is due to not having skills you need to learn. There are books that can help you with this. If you can’t figure it out on your own, some sessions with a mental health counselor might be helpful.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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