Anger Articles

When You Fight Fairly, but Your Partner Doesn’t

Monday, March 16th, 2015

Why Fighting With Your Spouse Might Save Your MarriageSo you’ve scoured the Internet, read a bunch of self-help books, and even seen a therapist to help you learn how to communicate effectively with your partner. Eventually you come to the conclusion that no matter how fairly you fight with your partner, he or she just doesn’t fight fairly in return.

It’s hard to want to fight fairly with your partner when he or she responds with defensiveness, criticism, contempt or stonewalling. I’d like to start by saying that many people find it hard to communicate fairly with their partner if their partner is difficult to communicate with. Why bother fighting fairly when your partner isn’t?

Bipolar Girl in a Unipolar World

Friday, March 13th, 2015

blue womanThere are two types of bipolar disorder listed in the DSM-V. Bipolar I has one or more manic episodes or mixed episodes (both manic and depressive). Bipolar II has at least one hypomanic episode and major depressive episodes.

I have bipolar II. I have a specific cycle and triggers that can create a very precarious situation. It is almost impossible for me to tell whether the mania or the depression comes first because it’s so cyclical. It flows into one mood and then into another. I also have a rapid cycle so I can have mania and depressive cycles multiple times in one day.

The danger is in the depressive episodes for me. I get so consumed with a darkness that suffocates me. The relief came from either self-mutilation or prescription drug abuse. I needed to mentally check out because I couldn’t cope with the emptiness.

How to Co-Parent Successfully after Divorce

Friday, March 13th, 2015

self-compassionate-parentingThere can be few experiences more painful in life than divorce. Divorces involving children are particularly fraught, with the tradition dictating that the mother is granted custody while the father gets visiting rights. However, recent years have seen the rise of co-parenting — a far more balanced approach which emphasizes the role of both parents in the children’s upbringing.

The sudden breakdown of the family structure after a divorce can be traumatic for children, who commonly experience feelings of abandonment, confusion and loss. Sadly, parents who remain adversarial may compound this trauma.

A Lesson in Trained Self-Loathing

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

TrauerOne night many years ago, when I was 29, I sat beside my father in a car. He was criticizing a young friend of ours for having planned a very costly wedding.

In the process of planning my own wedding at that time, I eagerly told Dad how I’d organized a nice location, gourmet food, cute decorations, handmade invitations, mix-tapes, live cacti instead of flowers, vintage outfits for my fiancé and me — for one-tenth what our friend’s wedding would cost.

Nodding as traffic lights flashed past, he said: “Mom and I taught you well.”

Benefits of Venting Go Both Ways

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

How to Sit with Someone Else’s PainSometimes, “venting,” or airing our grievances, gets a bad rap. Negative connotations are associated with expressing unpleasant experiences or unhappy feelings. And while there may be a fine line between cathartic release and spewing cynicism and insensitivity, I tend to advocate that the act of sharing can be a healthy mechanism for both parties involved.

Benefits for the venter:


Clinical psychologist Leon F. Seltzer discusses catharsis in his 2014 article published in Psychology Today. Venting frustrations (anxiety, anger or sorrow) often provides cathartic release.

Beyond the Physical: 6 Signs of Silently Abusive Relationships

Saturday, March 7th, 2015


Would you even know if you were being abused?

It’s that little voice in the back of your head that whispers “This isn’t right,” and the feelings that tug at your heart, begging your brain to listen to that voice. It’s all those things that you shove down because you are so unsure of yourself, unsure of him.

You wonder: Is this abuse?

What My Dog Taught Me about Marital Therapy

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

joy-dogs-livesIn my outpatient practice, I often do marital therapy. Couples come in to work on improving, or perhaps saving their relationship. By the time they take this step, they have often experienced years of conflict or distance. Sometimes they are close to calling it quits and calling the divorce attorney.

My first task in marital therapy is an assessment of the situation. What are the issues? What are the patterns of communication? What are the trigger points of conflict? What are each participant’s personalities and motivations?

After this initial assessment, I will sometimes surprise the couple by telling them that they remind me a lot of my dog. This statement is met with some very strange looks, but at least I know that I have their attention. I go on to explain.

Loneliness within a Marriage

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

relationship-crisisMany of my clients discuss a feeling of loneliness within their marriages. Often their spouses look at them with confusion or contempt. They ask how it’s possible to feel alone when they are in the same house or even the same room much of the time. Mr. and Mrs. Just Not Feeling It may also be helpful in explaining how you feel.

When you feel lonely within your marriage, you don’t feel like you’re part of anything bigger than yourself. You feel alone, and there is no “we,” only you and your spouse, completely separate entities. You may or may not seem to be a happy couple to others, and you may or may not be able to keep a united front for the kids. Either way, when it is just you and your spouse talking to each other, you don’t feel close, connected, secure or safe.

Silencing the Internal Critic

Monday, February 16th, 2015

The Critical Thinking Coach

Self-nurturing means, above all, making a commitment to self-compassion. – Jennifer Louden

When does your internal critic show up? Is it when you spill your coffee? When you forget to buy the bread? When you speak too harshly to your children? Is it when you made the C when you were striving for the A, or is it when you didn’t get invited to the party?

There are many opportunities for the internal critic to sneak in and remind you of your faults, your failures and your frailties. For some, the internal critic appears with such regularity that it does its dirty work unnoticed. Anything we experience regularly tends to drop out of our awareness. We don’t usually notice our breathing, our eyes blinking or the sensation of the shoes on our feet because those things happen to us all the time.

When You and Your Partner Fight

Saturday, February 14th, 2015

Why Fighting With Your Spouse Might Save Your MarriageIt’s an inescapable truth that you and your partner will argue or fight. Often in therapy, I see that couples are unable to resolve a conflict, especially if it is regarding what renowned couples therapists Drs. John and Julie Gottman call “gridlock issues.”

When this happens, couples often argue, then one partner or both exhausts the argument until someone walks away from the fight. Other times, couples resolve the fight they are having, but not the underlying problem. This means the fight will happen again when one partner’s underlying problem resurfaces in a different argument.

The Cost of Being the Lead Dog

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

upset businessmanLewis Grizzard once said, “If you’re not the lead dog, the view never changes.” What an inspiring, motivating quote! Or is it?

The direction words such as these take us depends on our lived experiences and perception of self. When my grandfather first gave me this quote on a desk ornament, I was immediately validated and inspired to be great. The cost comes, however, when our vision becomes fixated on being the lead dog, and blinds the rest of our experience.

How to Defuse an Argument

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

holiday-controllers-critics-couple-arguingMost people become challenged and confronted on occasion by others who differ in their opinions and who desire and are determined to argue. This could be about almost anything and with almost anyone, including our most intimate partners, family members, social acquaintances or colleagues.

It is wise for both parties who enter into arguments to be able to defuse them and dissolve their anger toward each other in a relatively efficient and respectful manner. It is wise to cool down and become calmer so you can return to interacting civilly with the people you previously argued with.

Recent Comments
  • doris: Ho my goodness my eyes are now open wide to the relationship that i have been in for 8 years everything that i...
  • Learnthehardway: Terrible that people are like that. My ex husband was/is one combined with a nasty vindictive...
  • CA: I responded to some posts last year. My husband of 15 years left me because he was depressed and disconnected...
  • CA: Anne, I’m feeling for you. I hope you are hanging on and that a way out reveals itself.
  • chely: I agree with your comment. Since I have learned to not get sucked into it when he starts on one of his rants,...
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