There was a time in my marriage when arguments felt a lot like attempting to escape the fun house at a carnival after someone has set it on fire. Keep in mind that I’ve never actually been inside a fun house while it’s on fire, but I can imagine: scary, confusing, dark, hot, overwhelming, loud, and panic-inducing.
Fighting with my husband used to be just like that. I was scared to voice what was really on my mind, and the words that often tumbled out of my mouth did the opposite of what I intended. Rather than get my point across, I often felt lost in a maze of anger. We talked in circles. I felt out of control, as if I were a puppet and my emotions were the puppeteer. Neither one of us felt heard. Or loved. Or satisfied. No one won. Usually, after the fight ended, we both felt like losers with anger-induced hangovers.
Can you relate?
Over the years, I’ve learned many techniques that have allowed me to speak my truth without feeling scared and meek, as well as strategies that have helped me to better connect with my husband so he understands my point of view. For instance, I have learned to say less, following a three sentence rule. If I can’t say it in three sentences, it usually means I’m just too angry and better go for a run before I open my mouth. What follows are seven more strategies—many of them completely counterintuitive— that cutting edge research has found can help you win an argument and avoid an anger hangover.
Read more of Alisa’s writing at ProjectHappilyEverAfter.com.