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Penny Bail Bond Anger Tip: Add Gray To Your World

Oct 12, 2007
It was our 5th pre-marital counseling session with 34 year old Natasha, a professional woman, and 32 year old Emir, a mortgage broker. The day before, she had unknowingly called him at work at a very bad time; he was in the process of losing a $5000 commission because one of house deals was falling out of escrow.

In session Natasha said: "You snapped at me when I called and that was disrespecting me; I won't put up with a man who disrespects me."

Emir replied: "Honey, I didn't disrespect you, I was just under tremendous stress and I snapped a little-it was not directed at you; I was just frustrated."

Therapist to Natasha: "Sometimes, part of loving someone is learning to interpret their behavior in a context (because we know them so well) without taking their bad behavior so personally."

Natasha: "NO. People should say what they mean. If he was upset over work, he shouldn't have taken it out on me. Why should I have to interpret him?"

Many participants in anger management classes admit they are there because they see the world as "black and white" with nothing between.

"Things are either right or wrong,this way or that way. People should say what they mean and mean what they say."

Sounds good on the surface. Who could argue with that? But when you think about it, what is wrong with this concept? The main problem is that just because you heard something a certain way, does not make what you heard absolute fact. Why? Because we all listen with certain listening filters, platforms or agendas that sometimes distort things.

What is said is not necessary what is heard, especially in the emotional and relationship realms.

When trying to communicate with each other, things are simply are not that clear cut. Many issues are "gray" because they are based in perception and viewpoint rather than hard facts. Those that rigidly adhere to the "black and white" principle and insist in seeing things in rigid extremes often find themselves frustrated, disappointed and angry.

To reduce your anger toward marriage partners, family members, co-workers, and relatives, try developing the skill of seeing things as having more than one perspective. Rarely are people 100% right or 100% wrong on most of the issues that people conflict and argue over. It is possible for both parties to be partially right at the same time that they are both partially wrong.

At the end of one of our anger management classes, one of the participants joked: "What do you call a person who brags about his or her philosophy of my way or the highway?"

Answer: (drum roll) "Divorced" (or single).
About the Author
Dr Tony Fiore is a licensed psychologist,anger management trainer, and community education consultant to Penny Bail Bonds Company.Read more of his articles and discover other useful community resources at http://www.pennybailbonds.com
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