Dear Dr. Romance:
 Thank you for the Fair Fight Guidelines. I found a lot of wisdom and thoughtfulness in  them.  I hope my husband will agree. That said, I don't know what you mean by "rage is phony; it's drama created by not taking care of yourself." If a person is belittled or treated poorly or ignored consistently, even after that person tries to remain calm and factual and collaborative, the frustration may escalate into rage. A therapist we saw briefly suggested that my husband didn't really hear/believe me until he pushed me to tears. So do you mean that if you find yourself in a reactive rage, that  somehow you have not taken care of yourself? Perhaps that is true.

If you have time to clarify the thought behind that sentiment, it  would  be so helpful

Dear Reader:

In the article, I'm talking about rage, not anger.  Rage is overblown anger, like a temper tantrum, and it's not a real response to a real situation.  Instead, it's a manipulation, trying to get a particular response (either 'give me what I want' or 'leave me alone') I think your husband would learn to believe you without tears, if you were  strong, consistent and direct enough in your response.  Your tears were an  expression of helplessness, which got his attention, but you'd get more  effective attention if you stood up for yourself.

"Anger: Cleansing Squall or Hurricane?" "Emotional Hygiene" and "Emotions as Weather" will help you understand healthy expressions of emotions, and "Asking for What you Want" will show you how to ask powerfully without drama. It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction can clear up confusion about how healthy relationships work.

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Author's Bio: 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.

Dr. Tessina, is CRO (Chief Romance Officer) for, a website designed to strengthen relationships and guide couples through the various stages of their relationship with personalized tips, courses, and online couples counseling. Online, she’s known as “Dr. Romance” Dr. Tessina appears frequently on radio, and such TV shows as “Oprah”, “Larry King Live” and ABC News.