Thursday, February 25, 2010

Q. Is something wrong with me? My boyfriend says I'm always angry and yell at him constantly. Why do I do it? I don't mean to be angry: in fact, I don't actually think I am....

A. You ask me why you're angry and then say you don't think you are angry with him. Spot the contradiction? Anger is very tricky. It can be used to disguise painful emotions, such as hurt, or confusion or disappointment, and is often a smokescreen for a deeper issue we're scared to bring into the open. Do you, for instance, doubt his commitment? Do you want more than he's offering? Maybe you feel trapped? The only way to solve the problem of being angry - or even just sounding angry - is to identify the real trouble. The best way to do that is together. And that means talking, not yelling. Sometimes it helps to go to a quiet place, where raised voices are more out of place than at home. And try organising your inner feelings in the form of an honest letter to yourself before you reveal them to him.

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