By Chandrama Anderson
E-mail Chandrama Anderson
About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ... (More)
About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in Silicon Valley for 15 years before becoming a therapist. My background in high-tech is helpful in understanding local couples' dynamics and the pressures of living here. I am a wife, mom, sister, friend, author, and lifelong advocate for causes I believe in (such as marriage equality). My parents are both deceased. My son graduated culinary school and is heading toward a degree in Sociology. I enjoy reading, hiking, water fitness, movies, 49ers and Stanford football, Giants baseball, and riding a tandem bike with my husband. I love the beach and mountains; nature is my place of restoration. In my work with couples, and in this blog, I combine knowledge from many fields to bring you my best ideas, tips, tools and skills, plus book and movie reviews, and musings to help you be your genuine self, find your own voice, and have a happy and healthy relationship. Don't be surprised to hear about brain research and business skills, self-soothing techniques from all walks of life, suggestions and experiments, and anything that lights my passion for couples. (Author and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Calif. Lic # MFC 45204.) (Hide)
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I am for anger. It's a useful feeling that lets us know a boundary has been crossed. Anger lets us know we need to do something about that.
It's what and how we do it, and in what volume and circumstance that we express our anger, that can make anger constructive or destructive.
Anger is like a road sign; e.g., Merge Ahead. That lets us know we need to respond to traffic around us. We don't stop our car there; it would cause an accident. Likewise, we don't want to stew in anger, it exhausts us.
We can tell our mate that we are angry, and why. We can ask what her intention was. We can give him the benefit of the doubt that while the impact on me was difficult, his intention was good (and hopefully it was).
At times, we say, "No," loudly to get our spouse's attention. When we don't feel heard, we often raise the volume. If that happens, the listener can say, "I'm right here, I'm listening."
If we try to shut down the important thing our beloved is trying to tell us, things will often escalate.
Anger is a great tool; makes me think of a hammer. Anger can't be the only tool in our toolbox. We need to develop more tools. Everything is not a nail, so we need more than a hammer.
As the Gottman research shows, as long as we have the 5:1 ratio of good interactions to poor ones, our marriage can last and be happy. But if too many interactions are angry or anger-driven, our marriage may be in trouble.
So use anger wisely. It will serve you well.