Preparing for her younger sister’s visit put some pep into Shelly’s steps. She recalled Natalie’s last visit when they had fun at the beach, going to movies and eating out. The thought of having those precious moments again made Faith feel warm inside. She wanted to show Natalie the home she ...
Preparing for her younger sister’s visit put some pep into Shelly’s steps. She recalled Natalie’s last visit when they had fun at the beach, going to movies and eating out. The thought of having those precious moments again made Faith feel warm inside. She wanted to show Natalie the home she and Devon had made together. She wanted her sister to recognize her determination to make something of herself as she made her way through Acupuncture school. Shelly wanted to play the generous host. She also expected something in return.

Natalie left her dirty dishes on the table, threw her clothes on the floor, and went out without inviting her hosts. She never offered to take them out or pay for anything during family outings. Natalie treated Shelly’s place as a free hotel, with a maid thrown in!

Natalie took the hospitality for granted, and Shelly saw red. How could Natalie be so blind, insensitive and callous? Couldn’t she tell how much she was hurting Shelly? Didn’t Natalie know how much Shelly had put her life on hold to organize the visit? Wasn’t it obvious how much money she had to borrow from Devon, and all the activities with friends and colleagues she had turned down? Shelly couldn’t get over the fact that her well heeled sister would be so selfish, thoughtless and ungrateful. Her buttons were pushed a million times a day during that long weekend. But she never said a word.

After Natalie left, Shelly sniped at Devon just for breathing! All the things she had wanted to tell Natalie, she said to Devon. “ Wash the dishes before bed!” she commanded. “You can do your own laundry, I’m busy,” she pronounced as he got undressed for bed. “ I paid for the groceries this weekend, so you better pay for the rest of the week,” she vented at him. Her sister had abused her, so now she was going to abuse Devon.

Four steps to managing Shelly’s anger

1. Self-honesty
a. Be honest and clear with yourself about what you expect for your troubles. A conscious awareness of what your hidden agenda is, means that you communicate your needs effectively, get heard and receive appropriate attention.
b. This preventive first step reduces the triggers for anger, by putting you more in control.

2. Communicate Your Expectations
a. Once you know what you expect in return for your generosity, spell it out to the those who receive your largess.
b. Putting it out there means there are no misunderstandings. That is preventive step number two. You are reducing the risk of being disappointed, used and abused.
3. Don’t expect grown up behavior from someone you treat like a child
a. Allowing someone to get away with insensitive and abusive behavior means you give out a huge message that they are too infantile to be expected to be equal players in the game. You are giving them permission to act in a totally selfish way. To avoid getting angry when they do so means taking preventive step number three - speak up when they violate your personal boundaries, rules and space.
b. Don’t be a doormat! Waiting for someone to see and treat you like an equal human being, means you have to have the feet, voice and determination to be just that.

4. Express your feelings as they come up
a. As soon as you feel that gut wrenching anger rise, get in touch with it. Use it as a sign that you need to stick up for yourself and be an equal.
b. Speak your feelings as clearly as you can. It helps the other know what you are feeling and why, so they can adapt right away.
c. Avoid stuffing your anger because you think it will cause bad feeling. That just makes it worse, and increases the chances of you exploding later, sabotaging yourself- ending in embarrassment and humilation.
Wouldn’t you rather know how to please someone and do it right, rather than have long term resentment and explosive anger that ruins relationships for ever? So would the people around you!

Learn more about the secrets of managing anger at http://www.drjeanetteraymond.com

Tips on dealing with hot buttons can be found at http://howtodealwhenyourbuttonsgetpushed.blogspot.com

Tips on managing couples conflicts are at http://wwwcouplesspeakdecoded.blogspot.com

Copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Jeanette Raymond is a licensed psychologist and psychotherapist. She specializes in helping people manage their anger for more satisfying relationships. She shows you how you get trapped in a cycle of self-sabotage and teaches you to build your emotional muscles so you get the respect you deserve. Find out more at http://www.drjeanetteraymond.com