Relationships Fails and Wins, How to Vent Anger without Dumping on Your Partner
Venting Vs. Dumping
Anger is a normal emotion. It's not right or wrong. Venting anger is healthy if done right. But venting can quickly turn to dumping if ground rules aren't observed. Dumping on your partner is an epic relationship fail. What differentiates venting from dumping? Dumping is blame and shame oriented and destructive. Healthy venting is sharing-based, respectful and goal-oriented. Use these fixes to turn anger dumping fails into productive sharing wins!
Situation Fails and Fixes
* Schedule time to talk. Ask your partner when would work best for him. Don't start or end the day with a vent session. If your partner is struggling too, don't add to it. Suck up your frustrations till he feels better. Maybe try reaching out to him.
* Find a neutral place. You'll vent healthier if other people are around to buffer. Public places provide a natural check and balance system. Find a place where you can both relax. Go out to dinner. Walk the beach.
* Keep kids safe. Children panic when they hear adults debate or vent. Find a place where and time when you can purge without hurting them.
* Meet your needs. Are either of you hungry, tired or sick? Don't try to talk at these times. Or do what you need to fix it. Go to dinner (can you tell I really like to go out to eat?) Or prepare a meal together. Food is a great relaxer! Don't drink, though. Alcohol is a bad chaser for stress.
Communication Fails and Fixes
* Vent to, not at, your partner. There's a fine line, but you can navigate if you remember what you're really mad at. Tell her what happened. Rant if you must, but don't make her feel responsible.
* Keep it clean. If you can't share frustrations without taking it out on someone, don't try. You're not ready. Blaming innocent people won't help and will hurt. Process internally till you cool off.
* Don't nitpick. So he doesn't understand the minute details of why you're mad? So he doesn't say exactly the words you want to hear. Be glad he cares.
Transparency Fails and Fixes
* Don't scapegoat. Some of us have a hard time seeing loved ones upset. We take responsibility so you won't have to. Don't exploit that, in your quest to purge your spleen. You won't feel better hurting us.
* Don't act mad at your partner. Watch your tone and demeanor. Even if you don't think you're being rude, you might be subconsciously punishing. That's not venting. It's passive-aggressive bullying. Don't plant seeds of doubt or you'll harvest misery.
Books on Love
Attitude Fails and Fixes
* Being able to vent anger is a privilege. Don't get your "woes" and "owes" mixed up. Your partner doesn't owe you a listening ear or shoulder to lean on. If they provide it, count yourself lucky. Don't take it for granted.
* Ask don't demand. Your burdens may be heavy. But that doesn't give you have the right to unload them on others. Request support. If your partner is unable to provide, thank them for at least caring.
* Appreciate. Not matter how justified venting is, listening to it is as pleasant as a root canal. If someone is kind to do it, the words you're looking for are "thank" and "you."
Books on Anger Management
Cooperation Fails and Fixes
* Respect. Don't treat him like the Shell Answer Man. He can't fix everything for you. Also don't take for granted she'll want to listen. She has a right to decline (especially if you've abused your venting privileges in the past).
* Reciprocate. One person shouldn't do all the venting and the other all the listening. That's a recipe for disaster. If she's kind enough to listen about your bad day, return the favor and let her vent about the kids.
* No contest. Maybe you've both had a rough day. Don't, for heaven's sake, turn it into a competition about whose day was worse.
It boils down to this: venting anger is healthy and necessary. But it has to be kept in perspective. It should never be a weapon or a crutch.
Vent or Dump?
Which relationship fail do you struggle most with? (be honest with yourself--it's okay--we all struggle with some areas)
Which area of anger venting are you pretty good at (be honest here and give yourself a pat on the back).
Helpful blogs on relationships
- Heart Smart Relationships
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