We asked Conflict Coach, Melody Brooke how to best communicate strong feelings to your partner without starting a fight and getting your egos all worked up.
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Jennifer: Okay, so this is a big question because inevitably when I get mad at Dan, if I tell him how I feel, we start a fight. Melody Brooke: It's not inevitable. Dan: It feels that way. Jennifer: The question is how can I let him know that I am angry without our egos getting inflated and starting a fight and attacking each other? Melody Brooke: Well, the fight starts because somebody feels attacked. Dan: That would be me. fighting, you are are not paying attention. Jennifer: Sometimes me, but yeah. Melody Brooke: So if you are feeling angry, you got to couch it in a way that it doesn't attacks him and blame him for what you are feeling. So if you are feeling angry, you need to start with, when this happened, I felt this. Dan: As oppose to, I feel that you are being a real idiot today. Jennifer: Or call a jerk. Melody Brooke: How can you talk to me like that, or whatever it is that becomes a complete blame, it's all your fault. Jennifer: So it's not about him. Dan: It shouldn't be a jabbering attack, that's what people brought on here. Jennifer: It's about my feeling. Melody Brooke: It has to be, actually, I got to talk to you about the way I am feeling right now, because when this happened, this is how I felt. Dan: How can I get mad if she feels a certain way. Jennifer: I feel hurt. How can he get mad at me if I am not, I feel hurt? Dan: I don't want to hurt you. Jennifer: But if I am like, how dare you, why did you say that?. Melody Brooke: It automatically says, because you put all the blame on him. Dan: Yeah, and I don't want that. Melody Brooke: And when you attack a person with blame, they automatically go into that self protect place. They feel victimized, they feel hurt and they are just like, go with a --no, whether they have to just push away, they have to start a fight. So if you have that compassion for yourself and for them. Jennifer: Own up to your own feelings. Melody Brooke: Own up to your own feelings, and say, this is what I am feeling, and if you know, because anger is always a secondary emotion. So if you are feeling angry, odds are that, there will be something that will happen, that either hurt your feelings or scared you. So if you can own up to the fear or the hurt behind the anger then it makes them a lot more open to hearing what you have to say. Dan: So this anger and rage that some of you, that so many people feel so often that should be pretty much should be a warning if I get, oh, oh, what's the real thing? This anger that just drives itself and leaves all kinds of destructive stuffs. Melody Brooke: So first of all, you have to some what contain that immediate reaction. Jennifer: You know that emotional search that you feel. Melody Brooke: When you get aargh, okay. What is really going on there -- then you got to go, okay, breathe. Check out what's really underneath this, and then say, honey, I need to talk to you about something, because I am having some feelings. Jennifer: Does that work? Dan: This is not one of those relationship questions, is that I want to talk about the relationship. Melody Brooke: And then you say, when you said that, you know, you didn't like the way my hair looked, it really hurt my feelings. Dan: Oh, I am sorry! Melody Brooke: They are going to hear that, instead of, how dare you say that to me?, which just puts them in an automatic rage, what are you talking about? Jennifer: That was a really stupid thing to do. Melody Brooke: Right, which is just really abusive to say that actually, because it's not clear. Jennifer: Yeah. Dan: I don't want to say something hurtful. Melody Brooke: And really, if you are with somebody that loves you, they don't want to say something that's hurtful, they are not trying to hurt you. Dan: They don't mean to do bad. Jennifer: They don't mean to do bad, they are like little puppies. Melody Brooke: They just maybe begins thoughtless at that moment. You just need to remind them. Dan: We are all human, and we are all darlings. Melody Br