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Venting Frustration while Maintaining Relationship

Updated on April 30, 2008

Finding another perspective

Venting frustration implies that we are going to outwardly express our disappointment, anger, or hurt. The first thing we need to understand and consider is that something has happened differently than we planned. Someone did not show up as we expected. Before taking our feelings to another, it will be helpful if we can identify our judgments, expectations and intentions.

What did we expect/plan in this situation? What difference did our planned outcome make? What feelings have we attached to the situation, behaviors, ideas, and outcome? Are we willing to own our feelings, before we confront another? What are our intentions, in the situation and in verbally expressing our frustration?

If we are willing to search ourselves and own our feelings, we are less likely to be mean to another. It is important to find a listener who will not take sides or become invested in your story if the intention is to remain kind (not be mean). With or without a listener, here are some techniques that will allow a reframing of the situation:

Retell the story in the third person. Imagine that you are outside of the situation, a witness or reporter, able to see the story from the outside and interview all the parties. Restate the facts as this outsider. Perhaps there is something that is missed as we embrace the first person in our drama.

Another technique is to argue the opposite point of view. Imagine that you are in the role of the person(s) with whom you are frustrated. Honestly step outside of your feelings as be on the other side. Present the facts as the one being confronted. At the finish, acknowledge what new insights have been gleaned in the exercise.

The above techniques are for defusing anger and frustration internally. Once we have identified what we are feeling we are less likely to take out that hurt on others. In general, we seem to be geared toward compartmentalized physical expressions of anger (hitting pillows, breaking glass, screaming, yelling, and even exercising) without internal examination of our own participation in the process that seems to be frustrating.

Finally it is time to verbally express that frustration, if is still exist. While this is a pattern, it is helpful in clearly expressing the event, the feelings and the expectations. Using the following statement will help avoid attacking. "I feel (______) when (the event) because I (hoped, planned, expected _____)." If the frustration is being expressed toward the impetus, allow for response. Please wait for the response. The other person need time to absorb the information. If you are sharing with another listener, continue eye contact and notice your own feelings. The listener can rephrase what has been spoken for clarity, but input is unnecessary. Input, sometimes called feedback, is at times another person's buy-in to your distress and not an opportunity to clear things up.

As we own our own feelings and expectations, we allow others to take responsibility for their behaviors and motivations. There are times when we do not have the entire story. Once more of the facts are available we can be completely committed to the choices we make and their results.

Even when the bloom fades, relationships remain


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    • tudsanee profile image


      9 years ago

      I like your idea.

    • Nathanael profile image


      10 years ago

      Trish How are you this morning. Great response! Writing our thoughts down is like being authors of our Hubs. We can actually write our thoughts down, go back an edit them to make them more stronger in our point of views. So true darling. Pretty strong note ..uh!

    • donnaleemason profile image


      10 years ago from North Dakota, USA

      Very nicely done.


    • trish1048 profile image


      10 years ago

      hi again,

      Another great hub!  I had a situation at work that left me feeling 'less than', frustrated and overwhelmed.  This went on for a week or two until I could no longer stay silent.  I chose to write down the situation as I perceived it, and requested a meeting with the person who was contributing to the way I was feeling.  The meeting took place, the note was read, then we discussed what I had written.  There was no blame, just simply a conversation that led to a compromise of the issues raised.

      I often find it is much easier for me to write down what I'm feeling/thinking, this way all my thoughts about a situation are out there, and I have the luxury of re-reading it to see if something else should be added or deleted.  When I have to rely on simply trying to explain my thinking, I find that things don't come out the way I intend and/or I forget to mention something relevant.

      Thanks again for another good hub,


      PS: The flowers are beautiful :)

    • C.S.Alexis profile image


      10 years ago from NW Indiana

      I like your idea about stepping outside of your own feelings and trying to view the situation from the other person's point of view.

    • Nathanael profile image


      10 years ago

      Welcome to HUbpages, sister D. I like the Technique. Because for some one who is trying to make a relationship work, they must step back and analyze the situation. Another way to stop from exploding with breaking glass and throwing chairs is to be long tempered and a short burst of working out.

      Spouses dealing with marriages or relationships need an added incredient in the mix. Never act off impulse. Something wrong can happen. It like the after shock of an earthquake. One bad thing after another. Anyway sis GREAT hub. I needed that.


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