As we wrap up the section on Anger, we've got a few questions for you to reflect on to help you with the Anger that may be getting in the way of your healing or that may have contributed to the affair (or any difficulties in your relationship).
The first question is a brainstorming question. If you've never brainstormed before, it is a great process to help you think creatively and to think in terms of 'Yes, and...' rather than 'No, but...'. Which means, no 'buts' allowed. No counteracting, in other words invalidating, any idea with statements like, 'but that's not true!' or 'but you still have to work even if it stresses you out' or 'but we can't ship the kids to Grandma's every time you get angry'. Yes and means 'yes, and...if I have a stressful day I tend to be more susceptible to anger', or 'yes, and...when I'm hungry I can be a bear to deal with'. All ideas are welcome in brainstorming. As you brainstorm, it will be helpful for one of you to be the 'recorder', writing down the ideas you both come up with. Take as long as you need, make the list as long as you need. Then take that list to part B of this question to see what you can do as a team to diminish the effects of these outside influences you've determined get in the way of processing your anger.
A) Brainstorm to create a list of outside influences (stress, kids, work, etc.) that can contribute to your state of mind or mood and make you more susceptible to inappropriate expressions of anger.
B) What can be done to diminish the effects of these outside influences? Brainstorm these ideas too.
As you consider this next question, we have found it helpful for each spouse to spend some time reflecting on the question, writing down his/her responses to the question, then talk with one another. This will help you be focused and clear about how you would like to share your response with one another. For this question also, you'll need to refer back to posts 141: Couple Styles of Expressing Anger, 147: Individual Styles of Expressing Anger, 148: Indirect Approaches to Dealing with Anger, 149: Indirect Churchy Ways of Expressing Anger, and 150: Toxic Ways of Expressing Anger to refresh your memory on the styles of anger we have already described. Also, you may have experienced a combination of styles growing up and you may exhibit a combination of styles. Very few people exhibit only ONE of the Anger styles. Yes, and...it is important to validate one another as you process these questions. Yes, and...there are no right or wrong answers here.
Predominant Style of Expressing Anger
A) What was the predominant style of expressing anger in your home growing up?
B) Describe your predominant style of expressing anger. It may be a combination of the styles we've mentioned in the above posts.
C) What is your understanding of the impact of your ‘style’ on your spouse?