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The post-mortem: t/j on How to respond to anger

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20WrongsVs1 posted 3/1/2014 11:47 AM

1bigidiot79's thread, How to respond to anger, is a frequent topic on SI. Because...

SlowUptake: your BS's anger is valid and righteous

Yes, it is. Unfortunately, responding to anger (no matter how valid) with defensiveness...or more anger...is a normal human reaction, and one we WS must learn to suppress. And this...

1bigidiot79: she's not talking to me and will probably be pissed for a few days now.

Infidelity aside, is common fallout from marital arguments. We give each other the silent treatment for awhile, and eventually one spouse extends an olive branch or we just rugsweep and go back to our everyday lives.

What I don't recall seeing here on SI, is what AdamsApple (my brilliant husband) brought up, so instead of totally t/j'ing I started this new thread.

AdamsApple: do a post mortem on your arguments when she is no longer angry. You can learn a lot from that.

The "argument autopsy" has been a valuable tool in our R. When both partners are willing to look at how we conducted ourselves during the argument, acknowledge that we could've done X, Y or Z better, and amend or retract statements made in anger...it builds trust and safety in the M. Being able to bring issues or complaints to your spouse, without it turning into WW-III, is crucial to marital harmony.

Pre-A and immediately post-DDay, BH and I had poor conflict resolution skills. He's such a brilliant tactician, when I did (rarely, but harshly!) dare lodge a complaint he'd empty his considerable arsenal and I'd ultimately retreat. Attack, defend, retreat, rugsweep...resent. Repeat. BH had no idea I was making secret deposits into the First National Bank of Resentment, until I cashed out my account with the biggest f-you a wife can deliver to her husband. "Can you hear me now?!" is how my therapist put it.

Now (lucky!) BH gets to deal with the A fallout and (for the first time) a WW who's no longer a Vulcan, who's figuring out how to feel and express her newly-connected human emotions. Seriously, 16 years together, he'd never seen me cry until a few months ago.

I certainly don't welcome or pursue conflict, but avoiding it is no longer an option. Coming together for the conflict autopsies has been really valuable to our individual growth and our continuing R.

AFrayedKnot posted 3/1/2014 12:02 PM

The "argument autopsy" has been a valuable tool in our R. When both partners are willing to look at how we conducted ourselves during the argument, acknowledge that we could've done X, Y or Z better

We have done a lot of this. I like the term "argument autopsy". On many occasions we have even been able to step away, take a smoke break, hit the reset button, and come back with a different approach.

SpotlessMind posted 3/1/2014 15:02 PM

Thanks for posting this, 20Wrongs. It's a good reminder, as we are struggling a little today with this very issue.

T/J-- I read a lot of your posts, and always appreciate your straightforward approach. Your history reminds me quite a bit of my husband--multiple AM "buddies," perceived lack of empathy, difficulty feeling and expressing emotions. I wanted to thank you for sharing your time here, because your progress gives me hope.

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