Rescuing Your Most Important Relationships

Posts tagged ‘anger’

7 Tips to Fighting Fairly

Many of us don’t like having conflict with our partners. It can be uncomfortable. However, it’s a very normal and even healthy part of a relationship, that is, as long as it’s done fairly. Bottom line: it’s about respect. You can be really angry and express those feelings in a respectful manner. Below are 7 tips that will help you keep the argument at a healthy level:

1)      Your partner is not your enemy. Without realizing it, when you begin to argue with your partner, you may be seeing them as a foe rather than a friend.

2)      Use “I” statements to say what is bothering you. Own your thoughts and feelings. Use a variation of the following phrase: “I felt_____ when you said/did ______.”

3)      Stick with one point at a time. If you tell your partner about all the things that are bothering you, your partner will feel overwhelmed, become defensive, and attack or shut down.

4)      Focus on behaviors, not the person. Avoid attacking the person. Focus on specific things he or she says or does that bother you.

5)      Avoid exaggerations. Using words like “never” and “always” are extreme and unrealistic. None of us is “always” or “never” doing this or that. Stick to your take on what has specifically happened.

6)      Leave the past in the past. If past mistakes are frequently brought into the present, it makes it very difficult for the relationship to heal. It’s like picking a scab over and over until a nasty scar forms.

7)      You can always call a truce. When an argument is getting to an atomic level, it’s time to call a truce. Usually people who want space will need to provide some reassurance to their partner so that they can walk away.

If you follow these 7 tips, you’ll find that arguments can be more easily kept at a respectful level. Maybe the outcome of the argument won’t be what you wanted (like an immediate resolution), but if you can keep the conflict at a healthy level, you won’t be experiencing the shame or guilt of handling the argument in an unhealthy way.

Bryan Norman 2011

Have YOU ever thought about cheating on your partner?

Have YOU ever thought about cheating on your partner? Chances are that you have, and if so, you aren’t alone. Some research numbers say that as many as 60% of all couples will experience infidelity in their relationship. That’s 6 out of every 10 relationships that might have a cheating partner. If we accept these numbers, not only are there thoughts about cheating, there’s also quite a bit of action around cheating. Sounds pretty high, doesn’t it?

We all know that no relationship is perfect, and that there are many stages and phases we go through in our relationships that are less than ideal.  Some of these stages are so uncomfortable that we may find ourselves wishing that we had a different, better relationship.

Well, for those of you that feel this way, here’s the news:

I have a new book out, “Keep Your Pants On: Preventing Infidelity in your Marriage that addresses these concerns. This book was written as a direct response to all of my clients that struggle with their thoughts about cheating on their partner. While these thoughts can be a normal experience for some, it’s the taking action on these thoughts that becomes a big problem when we are in a committed relationship.

Infidelity is extremely painful for the partners that are going through it; it is also painful for the therapists working with these issues to witness the damage. That is where the original idea of this book took off- trying to prevent infidelity before it happens, to stop the actions of cheating before it is too late.

Keep Your Pants On has been reviewed by several experts in the field of couples and relationship counseling, and includes their own testimonials plus others on my advisory team. The book includes interactive exercises, action steps and “RSS Feeds” (Relationship Super Strategies) to help support your choice of commitment within your relationship. There is also a brand new website, that has even more information.

I am so excited about finally finishing this book that I am making a special offer to you for the month of September– giving you a free copy of the book!  If you are an active client at AFC you can get one from your therapist at your next session, or you can come in to the office and pick one up from Sarah, our administrative assistant. I do have one request- if you like the book, go to Amazon and say so by writing a review. If you don’t like it, just tell ME! I really hope that you take advantage of this offer, to help strengthen your relationship and prevent infidelity with your partner.

Finally, this book is truly a labor of love for my clients; past, present and future. And for anyone else who struggles with these problems- this one’s for you.

Kelly Chicas 2011

Albuquerque Family Counseling Events

Here is a line up of what is coming up in the next few months at AFC:

  • Men’s Anger Group, begins monthly on Thursday evenings
  • Women’s Anger Group, begins monthly on Wednesday evenings
  • Co-parenting Group, begins Wednesday August 24, for 6 weeks
  • “Keeping Your Love Alive” Couples Conference, Saturday October 22nd.

See our website for more information. All groups and classes require registration in advance.

When Your Counselor Needs Counseling

This newsletter is a bit different from our usual tone. As many of you know, my Dad died just a few weeks ago, very suddenly. First, a huge thank you to all of you who scheduled and rescheduled your appointments, and for your understanding and compassion as I had to leave town two weeks in a row. Losing a parent is certainly the hardest thing that I have ever been through, as those of you who have also lost a parent already know.

At Albuquerque Family Counseling, we spend a great deal of time talking with you about the benefits of self care, as a tool that should be used not just when in crisis, but even in times of stability. Do you ever wonder if we actually “walk the talk”? If we truly believe in the value of what we do as therapists, how do we handle our own transitions and life crises?  

In answer to that question, yes, we do. I knew immediately when the situation with my Dad arose, I would not be able to handle it on my own and solicited referrals from several other therapists that I trust. I started sessions with a counselor who specializes in grief, and it is some of the best money that I have ever spent. Having a safe, supportive place to go to work through my feelings, gain additional tools for coping, recognize my strengths and bear up my weaknesses is invaluable to my mental health. It’s hard to ask for help- even someone who spends all of their time in helping others realizes that- but it is a necessary element of a healthy mental attitude.

Long before there were therapists, there were family members. Relatives listened, or gave us advice, or sometimes just told us to buck up. If family couldn’t help, there were friends or a clergy member. But most likely, we were also warned not to broadcast our troubles, and many people suffered their mental problems silently.

Times change, and so has society’s acceptance of seeking help. The old stigma of being seen as weak or incapable is largely gone, helped by many who are open about their life struggles. Going to a therapist is now seen as a positive step in most people’s lives. Therapy is a unique relationship and what makes it valuable sets it apart from friendships, working partnerships, family connections and love affairs. Good therapy is a balance in which two people are collaborating on a single project: helping you deal with your problems and achieve the change you want, in one unique agenda.

It’s the simplicity of that agenda, combined with a structured schedule, confidentiality and trust that make this unique relationship work so well for so many people. Rather than proof that someone is “sick,” it is a sign of good health to make a commitment to change.

The strength of therapy is that there are no strings attached. Here are some further benefits of the therapeutic relationship:

1. Safety. If the relationship is right, you can feel safe to reveal your fears, dreams and fantasies without fear of repercussions or judgment on the part of the therapist. Unlike telling a friend or family member, your words to a therapist won’t come back to haunt you.

2. Confidentiality. The therapist is bound by ethics and law (except in a few well-defined cases) not to reveal what you have said during sessions. This adds to the feeling of safety and trust, and aids in people making changes.

3. Learning. Therapy can be seen as a deeply educational experience, in which a therapist acts like a coach or teacher to help the client see the world-inner and outer-in new and positive ways.    

Into each life some rain must fall, and we all have felt deluged at least once in our lives. Grief, loss, anger, financial hardship, relationship problems, stresses-all of these are a normal part of life. So is seeking help when coping is just too hard. In the end, it’s your life, and you know best how to make it a richer, happier and more fulfilling one-with a little help. Life is short- make it the best that you can.

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