Anger takes too much energy to sustain for very long. And once it fades, it’s time to put the pieces of your relationship back together again.
If you sit with your anger for a few hours or days, it’ll lose it’s hold on you.
That sharp, insistent sense of having been disrespected or betrayed gradually fades. After a few days, you might even forget who did what to whom and what was so hurtful.
What Role Did You Play in the Dispute?
Though you may still sense that you were treated badly, you’ll be able to stop casting blame. You might even begin to wonder what role you played in the dispute. And that’s the clue that you’re ready to defrost and have a constructive conversation.
You started with anger. Then you got icy quiet. And now, you’re wondering went wrong and how you might repair the situation.
Sometimes a simple gesture can heal the rift. When your relationship is mature and you trust one another well enough to simply let go of what’s been hurtful, then a hug or a pat may be all that’s needed.
But if your relationship is new and you’re just building your trust, then you’ve got to talk.
But how do you talk without rekindling the anger?
Remember, the person you’ve been angry with didn’t want that anger any more than you did. Most people don’t want to be angry! They want to get along. They want to succeed. They want things to go well.
So instead of casting blame, get curious about what happened. What was going on that made it all boil over?
3 Questions to Shape Your Conversation
Here are three questions you can ask that will help unpack what when wrong without rekindling your anger.
1. What happened to make us get angry?
Find out what went wrong from the other person’s perspective. You may find that what you experienced when things fell apart is quite different from what your counterpart experienced.
2. What did I do that contributed to the problem?
Become curious about what you did that contributed to the problem. It’s easy to cast blame, but more constructive to accept your part in what happened.
3. What’s the best way for us to move forward?
If you are going to work together in the future, focus on what needs to be done. The clearer and more specific you can get, the better.
After a constructive conversation, you may find that your relationship emerges stronger than ever.
Your anger will will have triggered a much needed conversation.