Show or Tell

26 Mar

I’ve come across a common theme when dealing with clients and their anger. And, it’s something we all should have learned as two year-olds.

I’ve learned that an outstanding majority of use “show” our anger instead of “telling” our anger. And, to be truthful, the distinction between the two often causes a lot of problems that end up showing up in my therapy room.untitled (35)

So, imagine you’re angry with someone. You have two options really: you can SAY how you feel or you can SHOW how you feel.

In many marriages, one person will behave in a way that lets the other person know he’s angry, but stops short of saying they’re angry. Maybe it’s the silent treatment. Maybe it’s coming home late for dinner. Or, maybe it’s not calling during the day. Whatever behavior you choose to let the other person know you’re angry-not a good choice. Think about a two year-old. Often, he will let you know he’s upset by having a tantrum, but he won’t often tell you how he feels!

What’s the better choice? Glad you asked! It’s the more difficult path, but saying that you’re angry and explaining why (along with letting the other person know how to do better the next time) is a winner every time. By communicating how you feel instead of showing it, you’re now behaving like a grown-up.

It’s definitely the harder choice–who wants to talk about how they feel when they can just be angry? But, it’s the path toward sustainable relationships. Next time you’re around a two year-old, you’ll believe me!


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