Relationship research has revealed that a high percentage of relationship issues are unsolvable. These are often called “Perpetual Issues”. Every relationship has these unresolvable issues – but the key difference between successful couples is how they handle these issues.
Learn a basic principle in how successful couples manage to deal with perpetual issues and how you can apply this in your life.
Learn 3 crucial steps to be able to live with a narcissist. If you are in a relationship with a narcissist and feel that it is worthwhile staying in the relationship, I provide 5 additional tips on how you can work around the type of narcissist you may be involved with.
Not all narcissists are equal and you can successfully remain in a relationship with them despite their flaws.
A guide for Orange County couples on the brink of divorce
Many couples come to me after they’ve tried traditional marriage counseling. They’re usually frustrated and depressed. One of the most common things they say is: “We tried marriage counseling and it didn’t work!”
If you feel this way, you’re not alone. But, as you’ll see, there’s hope at the end of the rainbow.
What’s wrong with marriage counseling?
I don’t think there’s anything particularly “wrong” with marriage counseling. (If I did, I wouldn’t still be offering it to Orange County couples on the brink of separation.)
The problem with traditional marriage counseling isn’t related to the therapy itself, or the way it’s delivered. The problem with marriage counseling involves whenit’s delivered.
All too often, however, both parties aren’t fully committed to their partner and the relationship.
In situations like the one described below, even the most skilled therapist and well-planned program doesn’t stand a chance!
Meet Michael and Suzanne
Michael and Suzanne came to a regular marriage counselor following discovery that Michael had been having an emotional affair at work. Suzanne wanted to work on the marriage but Michael said he was out of love and had absolutely no energy to work on it.
Michael was convinced that he and Suzanne were basically incompatible. Because of this, he said that no feelings were left for her. The relationship had been more about raising the children than paying attention to each other. He felt disconnection, emptiness, and loneliness. Suzanne, for her part, still loved Michael and desperately wanted to try to repair things before filing for divorce.
In this case, Suzanne was more motivated for marriage counseling because she had at least one very strong reason (among others) to want the marriage to work: she still loved Michael. But, why would he want marriage counseling to improve communication in a marriage that he thought ultimately was doomed because of core incompatibility? From his point of view, this was akin to going through the pain of cancer treatment when the outcome was bleak to begin with. He had to decide if it was worth it or not.
Michael and Suzanne were a mixed-agenda couple. They were not committed to divorce, but they weren’t equally committed to working on the marriage either. Many couples are in this category. They often seek marriage counseling with disappointing results.
Research shows that mixed-agenda couples represent a meaningful subset—up to 30%–of couples presenting for therapy. Mixed-agenda couples respond differently to therapeutic interventions than couples who both want to work on the relationship.
Yet, until now, there has been a lack of treatment protocols in standard marriage counseling to work with these couples. As a result, mixed-agenda couples remain at high risk for divorce.
Leaning-in versus Leaning-out
The partner who is highly motivated to work things out is described as “leaning in”. In our example, this would be Suzanne. She was willing to forgive Michael and examine her role in the demise of their marriage.
Michael, however, viewed her as over-controlling, needy, and critical. Suzanne made him feel like a scolded child in his home. This was theoretically fixable!As a leaning-in partner Suzanne was ready to start therapy to stabilize her rocky marriage.
Michael, was the “leaning-out” partner. Like many leaning-out partners, Michael was almost “out the door” emotionally, but was hanging in there basically for the children. On the brink, he wasn’t sure what to do. He was miserable and confused; he saw no hope or possibility for change on the part of Suzanne. He feared that his feelings for Suzanne were gone, especially when compared them to the swelling of feelings stirred up in him when interacting with his peer at work with whom he was having an emotional affair. Simply put, Michael was resistant to therapy.
Leaning Out partners need a reason to want to participate in traditional marriage counseling.But, often they have lost their emotional energy to engage in the process of marriage counseling. They no longer want their partner enough to personally go through the pain of counseling – even though they don’t want to lose their family.
With such low motivation, traditional marriage counseling is doomed to failure, frustrating both the clients and the therapist.
Each partner needs their own reason to participate
For any chance of success, mixed-agenda couples first need a process wherein each partner individually (instead of together which often occur in regular marriage counseling) can be helped to understand their different contributions to the marital dysfunction.
They also need to explore and see more possibilities of ways each might changeto give the marriage hope for survival. They need to try and change their attitudes and perspective of change itself….and the possibilities that might bring.
As a leaning-In partner, Suzanne’s motivation to participate in successful marriage counseling would obviously be to save her marriage which she still values. She still loves her husband and has a lot of hope that things can turn around.
Michael, on the other hand, as the leaning-out partner would need a lot of work to be convinced that there are reasons for him to put forth effort to save his marriage. This would be done individually and would involve helping him see the potential for change. He would be asked to consider his role or contribution to the emotional distancing that had developed between him and Suzanne over the years.
Michael would need to explore ways he could change those things and see that it may be possible to do so. He would also need to explore what he may have overlooked through the years in terms of ways that he and Suzanne might develop more common interests instead of just focusing on incompatibilities.
Discernment counseling before marriage counseling
Recently, after years of research, Dr. William Doherty, at the University of Minnesota, has developed a process called Discernment Counseling.
Discernment Counseling is a highly-focused, short-term (1 to 5 session) protocol that paves the way for successful marriage therapy.
Its goal is to help both partners decide with increased clarifyand confidencewhat direction they, as a couple, should take. It also increases each partner’s understandingof their own role or contribution to the state of their marriage.
Once these issues have been dealt with, it is easier for couples on the verge of breakup to decide which path they should take regarding the future of their marriage: intense marriage counseling is just one of the paths.
Three paths mixed-agenda couples can take
Discernment Counseling helps couples make better decisions in less time, with fewer angry sessions. There are three possible outcomes to Discernment Counseling:
Path 1 – Keep things as they are.Few couples who come to counseling take this path. Some, however, see it as a temporary solution until they are able to “get their ducks” in a row. They declare a truce until the kids graduate from high school, home price values increase, or a job promotion comes through, etc. Research shows that the average person filing for divorce waits 3 years after their decision before actually doing so.
Path 2 – Divorce or Separate: About 40 percent of couples who start discernment counseling ultimately choose this path. This path is not seen as a failure, as long as they both have increased clarity and confidence in their decision. They now have a better understanding as to what went wrong in terms of each partner’s contribution.
Path 3 – Commit to a period of time (usually 6 months) of intensive marital counseling and/or other work (like anger management training or parenting classes) with DIVORCE OFF THE TABLE. Going down this path, the couple could receive traditional marriage therapy. But now therapy would seem to have a much better chance of succeeding. Therapy can be done by the discernment counselor or by another marital therapist familiar with the process.
It has been two months since Janet and Mark have had sex. They’re hardly speaking to each other. If you asked Janet about this, she would say that their home has become a battle zone-they fight about every little thing. Janet goes out of her way to avoid Mark to protect herself from his wrath.
Mark tells a different story. His anger, he believes, is justified. He is fed up with Janet’s lack of interest in their sexual relationship. “She never initiates sex. She recoils when I try to kiss or hug her. I’m tired of being rejected.” To cope with his unhappiness, Mark spends longer hours at work and busies himself on his computer at night, deepening the chasm between them.
Both Mark and Janet think that the other one is to blame for the problems between them. They have hit an impasse. The result: A sex-starved marriage. And sex-starved marriages are surprisingly common. In fact, in about one in three marriages, one spouse has a considerably larger sexual appetite than the other. This in and of itself is not a problem-it’s how couples handle their difference that matters.
Here’s what you need to know to fix a sex-starved marriage and make you both happier…
Yearning for Contact
In a sex-starved marriage, one partner is longing for more touch-both sexual and nonsexual-and the other spouse isn’t interested and doesn’t understand why such a fuss is being made about sex.
The less interested spouse thinks, Is this just about having an orgasm? That’s not such a big deal. But the spouse yearning for more physical contact sees it differently. Being close physically is more than a physical release-it’s about feeling wanted and connected emotionally.
When a misunderstanding of this magnitude happens and the less interested spouse continues to avoid sex, marriages start to unravel. Couples stop spending time together. They quit putting effort into the relationship.
They become more like two distant roommates. Intimacy on all levels ends, which puts the marriage at risk for infidelity or divorce.
Typically, the spouse with the smaller sexual appetite controls the frequency of sex. If she/he (contrary to popular belief, men also can have low sexual desire) doesn’t want it, it generally doesn’t happen.
This is not due to a desire to control the relationship-it just seems unthinkable to be sexual if one is not in the mood. Furthermore, the lower-desire spouse has the expectation that the higher-desire spouse must accept the no-sex verdict and remain monogamous. The higher-desire spouse feels rejected, resentful and miserable.
How do two people with differing sexual appetites begin to bridge the desire gap? Regardless of where you stand on the sexual-desire spectrum, it’s important to keep in mind that loving marriages are built on mutual care-taking. Don’t wait for your spouse to change first. Be the catalyst for change in your marriage. Here’s how…
If You Are the Lower-Desire Spouse
Just do it-and you may be surprised.Over the years, countless clients in my counseling practice have said, “I wasn’t in the mood to have sex when my spouse approached me, but once we got going, it felt really good. I had an orgasm, and my spouse’s mood really improved afterward.”
Why would that be? For many people, the human sexual response cycle consists of four stages that occur in a certain order-desire (out of the blue, you have a sexy thought)…arousal (you and your partner touch, and your body becomes aroused)…orgasm…and resolution (your body returns to its normal resting state).
But for millions of people, stages one and two actually are reversed. In other words, desire doesn’t come until after arousal. These people must feel turned on physically before they realize that they actually desire sex. Therefore, being receptive to your partner’s advances even from a neutral starting place-when you do not feel desire-makes sense because chances are that sex will be enjoyable for both of you.
Give a “gift.”Let’s face it; there are times when people-even people with the typical desire/arousal pattern-simply don’t feel like having sex. It’s perfectly acceptable to decline your partner’s offer from time to time. But when “no” substantially outweighs “yes,” you are creating deep feelings of frustration and rejection-guaranteed.
What’s the solution to an “I’m not really in the mood for sex” moment? Give a gift-a sexual gift-or to be more blunt about it, pleasure your spouse to orgasm if that’s what he/she wants, even if you’re not in the mood for the same. This is an act of love and caring and completely appropriate within a marriage. .
If You Are the Higher-Desire Spouse
Speak from your heart.If you’re feeling frustrated that your spouse hasn’t understood your need to be close physically, chances are you’ve been irritable and angry. Anger is not an aphrodisiac-it pushes your spouse further away. Press your mental-reset button, and approach your spouse differently. Speak from your heart-express your vulnerability (yes, you are vulnerable, no matter how “tough” you are!) and your hurt.
Example: Instead of saying, “I’m angry that we haven’t had sex in so long,” it’s better to say, “When we don’t have sex for this long, I miss being close to you. I feel disconnected. It hurts my feelings that you don’t seem interested in me sexually.”
Rather than complain, ask for what you want.Complaining, even when it’s justified, leads to defensiveness. Instead, ask for what you want in a positive way.
Example: Instead of saying, “You never initiate sex,” say, “I’d really love it if once in a while, you threw your arms around me and said, ‘Do you want to make love?’ That would make me feel great.”
Figure out what turns your spouse on.If buying sex toys or downloading X-rated videos has failed to entice your spouse to nurture your sexual relationship, there’s probably a reason. Your spouse might need to feel courted by you first.
You might be married to someone who feels more connected to you when you have meaningful conversations…spend enjoyable, uninterrupted time together other than having sex…are more affirming and complimentary…or when you participate in family activities together. This is how your partner feels loved-and the truth is, there are many people who want sexual intimacy only when they feel loved first.
If you’re uncertain about your spouse’s way of feeling cherished by you, ask. Say, “What can I do to make you feel loved?” Believe it or not, meeting your partner’s needs, though different from your own, may be a turn-on for him/her.
Having been a therapist for over thirty years, I am always pleased to find new ways of helping couples. A few years ago, I discovered a treatment approach by Willard Harley that’s short term and practical. Combined with other techniques that I use, this approach has proven effective. Furthermore, it offers hope to relationships that seem hopeless. I’ve had several successful cases where one member had fallen out of love, ready to leave the relationship. If you’re interested, read on.
We really do keep score: the Love Bank
In relationships, we really do keep score. The way that we “keep score” is not necessarily a conscious one. Our mind automatically keeps an account of how well our partner is meeting our emotional needs. Our partner has a Love Bank of us too. The way it works is simple.
When we act in a way to please our spouse, we gain points in their Love Bank. When we act in a way to displease them, we lose points.
Most of us are not aware of our partners needs let alone our own. We frequently give to our mate what we need but often miss the mark in meeting their needs by not giving them what they want.
There are two ways to increase Love Bank scores:
Increase behaviors which meet our spouses important emotional needs.
Stop behaviors that make our partner unhappy.
The latter is called Love Busters.
When we have accumulated a plethora of points, we fall in love.
When there are less points coming in than are going out; when we are bankrupt or overdrawn, then we fall out of love.
?Love Busters are the things that we do to negatively affect our partner. We lose points in their Love Bank when we exhibit these behaviors. The most common Love Busters include the following:
Other “bad behaviour”
I have often found that stopping bad behavior (Love Busters) is often as important as starting good behavior (meeting our spouses Emotional Needs). ??
?We all have emotional needs. Furthermore, we have expectations from our partner to meet these needs. Men and Women generally have different emotional needs. Duh! The most common emotional needs for men are:
The most common emotional needs for women are:
Openness and Honesty
How We Fall In and Out of Love. When we meet someone who makes a favorable impression on us, they will earn points in our Love Bank. For example: Bob is attracted to Jan. She gets 200 points in his love bank just for being pretty. He asks her out. She says yes. She gains another 100 points. They have a good date. She gains another 100 points. After the date she kisses him. It is a very passionate kiss. She gains another 150 points. You get the idea.
Now, what goes up can also go down. Let’s assume that they have been dating for a month and Jan cancels a date with Bob at the last moment. She loses 50 points but already has a score of 1000 so the reserves cover the loss and the relationship is good. If she was to continue to meet Bob’s emotional needs in a meaningful way, then she will have earned a high Love Bank score with Bob and he will fall in love if the score is high enough.
Now, let’s assume that Jan and Bob keep doing a wonderful job in meeting each others needs. They have romantic candle light dinners, great sex and good conversations. Basically, they don’t want to be out of sight of each other. They are crazy about each other. Their Love Bank scores are high and they get married.
Now, let’s suppose that they have been married for several years and have three children. Bob has a new job that requires him to work late so he is not as physically and emotionally available. The children are demanding more of Jan’s attention. She is frequently too tired to have sex and is not as emotionally available to Bob’s needs. Over a period of time, the couple’s emotional needs may not be getting met.
Furthermore, there may be bad habits that may be stealing points from their Love Banks. If their scores drop too low score (in the red, over drawn) they will fall out of love. Bob may all of her emotional needs into her children. These patterns may lead to an affair or a divorce.
So, How Do We Get Back in Love??
First off, many romantics do not think that it is possible to recapture love. Love is like an illusive butterfly. Once it is gone, it is gone and you can’t get it back. Of course, I do not agree with them. If you think of the Love Bank Concept, Just as it is possible to fall out of love, it is possible to fall back in love. Falling in love is achieved by getting a high enough Love Bank Score so that your partner falls in love with you. Gaining points by meeting the partner’s emotional needs can do this. Stop losing points by changing the Love Buster behavior (angry outbursts, dishonesty, etc.)?
?Couple’s are made aware of their partners emotional needs. After learning about each other’s needs in detail, they discuss ways to meet these needs. With the help of the therapist, strategies are developed for each partner to meet the other’s needs. Progress is discussed weekly in treatment and revisions are made as needed. This approach used with communication skill building has proven effective.
The most valuable thing in a long-term stable relationship is having a partnership, and most new couples don’t realize that money is a major factor in marital happiness. Money is one of the biggest generators of problems, arguments, and resentment in long-term relationships. Couples argue about spending, saving budgeting, and disparity in earnings. When couples have difficulty with money, it can lead to financial infidelity: out-of-control spending, lying and hiding finances; which can destroy the relationship. Overcoming money problems together and working as a team will strengthen the bond between you, and help you create a healthy, lasting partnership.
Money doesn’t have to be a wedge between you and your partner. It can be a great tool for learning more about one another and using money matters as a discussion point can help your relationship grow and thrive. Money can create misery or happiness, depending on how you manage it. Making long-term plans, helping reach goals and improving your quality of life are just some of the things you will be able to accomplish if you work together.
How Men and Women’s Innate Differences Influence Finances
Women’s and men’s brains, and therefore language processing and reasoning, are organized differently. Cultural anthropologists theorize that it’s because of the different survival skills they needed to learn. Research shows that women tend to be good at multitasking, cooperation and relationship-building and less focused on reaching a specific goal. Men are more goal oriented, and less complex thinkers.
When it comes to money, these differences show themselves in financial behavior. When men get into financial trouble, it is often through gambling (cards, stock market, fantasy football) or spending on drugs, porn or male toys like automobiles. Women tend to overspend on fashion, household items or on the kids. Women’s drugs problems often begin with prescription medication. Both genders can get into trouble trying to help family members or children who are out of control. The following guidelines can help couples bridge their money gap.
Money talks need to be a part of scheduling weekly meetings – not just for money, but also for catching up with one another. Bills, social planning, long-term goals and working on your relationship are just some of the issues you’ll discuss. Just sitting down once a week to talk about what happened and bringing the checking account up to date can be a good management tool, a time to talk about long-term plans such as purchasing a house or paying off college debt. Use the time not only to take stock of your finances, but of your relationship, too. Ask each other what is going well and what needs improvement.
If you do it with the right attitude, this weekly meeting will be something that you look forward to, not an ordeal that you dread. As you talk about positive solutions and setting out long-term goals, many financial and other problems will be solved as they arise, and before they become difficult. If you endeavor to share the time and energy in a mutually beneficial way, it can become a social occasion. Make it a pleasant occasion go out to dinner together or wait until the children are asleep or have a late breakfast on a Saturday morning, and use the following guidelines to help you.
Author Bio:Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D.(www.tinatessina.com) is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 35 years’ experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 14 books in 17 languages.
Many couples in a troubled marriage or relationship don’t really want to get a divorce, and they don’t want to go through marriage counseling right now (or they tried it and it didn’t help), so what are they to do?
The answer is an option that many couples find appealing – something called a “Controlled Separation,”- a concept explained in a 20 year old book titled “Should I Stay or Should I go?”
Controlled separation is a path to take that allows you to time to breathe and give the relationship emotional space so that you can can better make a wise decision with more confidence about the future of your marriage.
In fact, research shows that in a Minnesota sampling of couples that applied for a process called “Discernment Counseling,” 12% of the couples chose this path versus getting a divorce or starting marriage counseling.
It is not a path that most couples take when their marriage is in trouble, but it is an option for certain couples – and may be the best option for you. But for it to work, the separation must have a structure to it. Its purpose is to constructively break the marital impasse and allow for a sane decision whether to stay or go.
What structure is needed, you may ask?
There are 12 items that must be negotiated either by the couple themselves or with the help of a discernment counselor. Many couples prefer an actual written agreement containing this structure, and laying out things like how long the separation will last, how money will be divided during the separation period, how to deal with your children, etc.
Mary and Bill were a nice couple empty nesters. Married 20 years, hey had built a nice life together. Their mortgage was low, their children were in college and doing well, most of the time they got along with each other fairly well. But one day Mary told Bill she thought maybe they should get a divorce. This rocked Bill’s world as he had no idea that she had still been planning this. Sure, she mentioned it several years ago, but then things had actually improved, so Bill figured the storm had passed.
For Bill, the marriage wasn’t perfect, but then he had lower expectations. Most of his unhappiness was in reaction to her unhappiness. He was happy to keep things as they were even though they had little in common anymore. Mary complained that she was emotionally lonely in the marriage, that Bill didn’t communicate with her, that he drank too much, and that he rarely paid attention to her anymore. She suspected he was having at least an emotional affair with a co-worker, though Bill denied this, pleading that they were just close friends.
Should this couple divorce? A look at some facts!
When a marriage is on the brink of divorce, commonly one person wants out more than the other. If couples divorce, seventy percent of the time it is the wife who initiates it. We call this a “mixed-agenda” couple because their interests are not aligned if one wants out more than the other. The “leaning-out” partner, like Mary, is convinced that there is little hope for the marriage, that they don’t want to live the rest of their lives in an unhappy and unfulfilling marriage. Who can blame her?
The “leaning-in” partner, on the other hand, like Bill sees things differently. Often they are desperate to save the marriage and are motivated to do almost anything. Yet, all the thing they are doing often makes things worse.
It is the leaning-out partner who calls most of the shots; in most states, a divorce cannot be prevented if one partner wants it.
To make a decision about divorce, both the leaning-out and leaning-in partners should consider the following statistics:
Many unhappy marriages recover. In one study, 94% of married individuals – both men and women- who said that their marriage at some point was in trouble also said that they were glad they were still together.
According to marital researcher Dr Bill Doherty, there is good evidence to suggest that with the proper help and willingness on the part of both spouses, many marriages that might otherwise end in divorce can become healthy, vibrant and supportive.
For marriages to become happy again, it requires that couples courageously confront their problems, learn specific relationship skills, and commit to staying together for at least a period of time.
Studies show that, for the most part, those who divorced and even those who divorced and remarried were not happier and better off psychologically than those who remained married.
Most marriages do not end because of high conflict. Most end because of loss of emotional connection with each other. That is, the majority end with a whimper, not a bang. They end like icebergs break up….a tiny fissure that keeps getting bigger and bigger until the two iceberg halves just drift apart one day. Many times, partners later regret divorcing from this type of marriage.?
Should you judge your marriage with a snapshot or a movie camera?
A marriage relationship has developmental stages, just as children go through various stages of growth. Much marital discontent can be seen as “growth pains” as the marriage goes from one stage to another. All kinds of things change as the marriage matures: individual needs, demands on your time, occupational stresses, financial status, parenting responsibilities, partner health status, balance between emotionally merging with your partner yet maintaining your autonomy as a person, degree of empathy you have for each other, life dreams and goals.
Happiness or satisfaction in a marriage waxes and wanes throughout the marriage. It goes in cycles. Just because you take a snapshot of it today and see unhappiness, it doesn’t mean things will necessarily stay that way. Yes, things could get worse; but they also could improve considerably.
Many elderly couples say that even though they had many crises, they are glad they stuck it out because in the “movie camera” view of their marriage, things weren’t that bad and many issues were fixable that seemed hopeless at the time.
Five things each couple should consider before pulling the plug
The decision to divorce or not is often in the hands of the “leaning-out” partner.
Each case is different, so it is wise to seek professional help in sorting through the many issues involved in your particular case. Here are some things to consider:
High conflict or not. Some marriages end with a bang. We call these high-conflict marriages. Statistics show that unlike other kinds of marriages, high-conflict couples are happier over time if they divorce. No one should remain in an abusive relationship; most healthy people consider continual emotional or physical abuse as non-negotiable deal-breakers as to the continuance of the relationship! And studies show that children generally are better off if high-conflict parents divorce than if they stay together and continue fighting.
Hard vs soft reasons for divorce. Hard reasons include chronic substance abuse, domestic violence, infidelity, child abuse, or chronic financial irresponsibility. Soft reasons, such as described by Bill and Mary above, include “falling out of love,” “having nothing in common,” and “spending too much time with same-sex friends.” Hard reasons usually justify a divorce; soft reasons can frequently be changed so that divorce can be prevented.
Potential for change. What is the potential for change in either you or your partner? Some people can and do change; others don’t and have no intention to. Many people fail at marriage not because they are intrinsically bad people or bad marriage partners; it is because they have never learned the skills needed for relationship success. If you or your partner are motivated to learn better skills, the marriage may have a chance. Even if there is infidelity, 50% of marriages now survive – some are even better than they were before the affair!
How do you see your life improving with the divorce? Even though the grass may look greener on the other side of the fence, remember that the roots of the grass may be covered with manure. Are you miserable because of your marriage or because of you as a person? Remember, no matter where you go, there you are with yourself. Divorce may or may not make you a happier person, it may or may not improve your life.
Level of commitment for each of you to work on the marriage. Commitment to making a troubled marriage work makes all the difference in the world. Commitment means being willing to do whatever it takes for a period of time (maybe six months) to turn things around. Even if you do it mostly for your children, the important thing is to do it. This might include things like anger management training, getting sober in a rehab program, or devoting more time to the family or relationship.
I just posted a new promotional video that I had created announcing my new location in Newport Beach California. In addition to providing marriage and couples therapy at this new location, I can also provide my services to people all over the world with Skype. It is my hope that I can help improve the lives of people all over by teaching them valuable techniques for anger and stress management.
If you would like to contact me, please feel free to call me at 714-745-1393.
“Dr. Fiore,” the voice on the phone pleaded, “I need anger management classes right away. I blew up at my girlfriend last night and she said it’s over until I get help”.
As Kevin recounted the first night of anger management class, he and his girlfriend had argued in the car over which route to take home from a party. Events progressed from mild irritation, to yelling and name calling.
Things escalated at home. He tried to escape, but she followed him from room to room, demanding resolution of the conflict. He became angry, defensive and intimidating. he had not yet learned anger management skills.
Frightened, she left. Later, she left an anguished message saying that she loved him, but couldn’t deal with his angry, hurtful outbursts.
Kevin said that he normally is a very nice and friendly person. But, on this occasion, his girlfriend had been drinking before the party. In his view, she was irrational, and non-stop in criticism. He tried oxiracetam to reason with her, but it just made things worse. Finally, as Kevin saw things, in desperation he lost it and became enraged.
How should Kevin have handled this situation? What could he have done differently? What anger management skills would have helped? What actions should you take in similar situations?