Friday, July 6, 2012

Healthy Arguing- Anger Management Classes for couples

As a therapist, I once worked with a couple that told me that they had never argued in their 13 years of marriage. I was astonished. I first wondered how emotionally involved they were with each other. The truth is that arguing is a part of a healthy relationship. We all come to a relationship with our individual perspectives, beliefs, values, experiences and issues from our families of origin. It doesn’t make sense to expect to agree on everything. “Expectations” and “Empathy” are 2 of the 8 tools taught in anger management classes at Daybreak Counseling Service These tool help to decrease anger and increase harmony. Unhealthy arguing is often a way some people use to release resentments or to punish the other. In a healthy argument, issues can get resolved and we learn more about the other person. Healthy arguing is considered a hallmark of a healthy relationship. When we come to understand that others have their own “opinions” born out of their own experiences, we will feel less threatened and not demand that they agree with us. When I see a couple seeking out anger management therapy because of a “hostile environment” in their relationship, I ask about the topic of their spats. They seldom remember what they had fought about. This is because “spats” are usually about old grievances or resentments. When issues come up in a relationship and they are not dealt with at the time, the parties build hostility towards one another. The resentments become a wedge between parties and lead to negative thoughts which then breeds petty and misguided exchanges. This can be resolved by “telling the truth faster”. When one partner is hurt or disrespected he or she needs to tell their partner immediately! This is how to keep the channel between them clean and harmonious. It is harmful to a marriage or relationship for partners to hold on to past anger and leads to “kitchen sink” fights, which can incorporate all past grievances in one moment. This is much to stressful for a relationship to sustain. We can come to believe in the normalcy of 2 people having diverse viewpoints on the same subject and that we don’t need to demand they agree with us. Stay emotionally current with your partner and your arguments will be about today and not the past. Shannon Munford Daybreak Counseling Service 855-662-6437