FREE Training: Breaking The Anger Cycle

personally

Have you ever felt hurt or upset when someone said something negative to you, or when things didn't go the way you wanted them to?

If so, you're not alone.

It's all too common to get caught up in the belief that other people's actions or words are a reflection of us, but the truth is, they're not.

It's a common trap, and one that can keep you stuck and feeling defensive, hurt, or angry.

In this article, you will learn how not to take things personally, so that you can stay calm in situations that would otherwise have you lose control.

It's all too common to get caught up in the belief that other people's actions or words are a reflection of us, but the truth is, they're not.

Introduction

angry couple

When it comes to controlling your anger and mastering your emotions, understanding how to stop taking things personally is an important skill

The truth is, most of us take things personally that aren't actually about us. We interpret other people's words and actions as if they are personal attacks or criticisms when, in reality, they aren't.

For example, if your partner says something you perceive as critical, it is easy to become angry or lash out. Or if someone is having a bad day and they take it out on you, it's easy to think they're doing it intentionally. As a result, you get angry and frustrated.

The truth is, most of us take things personally that aren't actually about us. We interpret other people's words and actions as if they are personal attacks or criticisms when, in reality, they aren't.

To help deal with these situations, I usually give my clients two pieces of advice. These are:

1. It's not about you, or

2. It is about you.

Let's look at each of these options in more detail.

1. It's Not About You

serious man

When someone does something you perceive as a criticism or attack, nine times out of 10, it's not about you at all. More often than not, it's just their thoughts or feelings coming through in a moment of tension, stress or frustration.

For example, imagine that you and your partner have had a long day. You are both tired. As you try to talk about something, your partner snaps at you. For example, your partner says something like, "You never listen to me" or "You're always so selfish".

When someone does something you perceive as a criticism or attack, nine times out of 10, it's not about you at all.

It is easy to take your partner's comments personally in this situation. In fact, many people I see think that their partner is specifically criticising or attacking them in these situations. As a result, they get angry and defend themselves.

They may say things like, "That's not true!", or "You don't know what you're talking about". As a result, an argument can quickly develop.

But were your partner's comment actually about you?

choice

In many cases, the answer is "No".

More often than not, your partner's comments are a sign of their stress, frustration and anger. They may feel overwhelmed or stressed out, and you were the closest person to them when they needed to vent.

So, how do you respond to this situation?

My advice to my clients is almost always the same. Instead of responding to your partner's frustration and anger with your own, try to understand more about what is going on for your partner.

Instead of responding to your partner's frustration and anger with your own, try to understand more about what is going on for your partner.

For example, you could say, "It sounds like you're feeling overwhelmed. Is there anything I can do to help?". Doing this shows your partner that you care about what is going on for them. This will likely help you stop an argument before it starts and diffuse the situation.

To summarising this point:

Often when someone says something you perceive as a criticism, especially your partner, it is probably not about you. It is about them. They are likely feeling overwhelmed, stressed out or simply having a bad day.

As a result, show them understanding instead of getting angry or defensive. Ask them what is going on for them or how they are feeling.

Often when someone says something you perceive as a criticism, especially your partner, it is probably not about you. It is about them. They are likely feeling overwhelmed, stressed out or simply having a bad day.

You will be surprised how often this helps to defuse a situation before it escalates.

2. It Is About You:

me

The second situation is the other person's comments are about you.

For example, your partner may say something like, "You never listen to me" or "You're always so selfish". This time, however, your partner means it.

So, how do you handle this situation?

The first step is to think about your partner's comments. Is there any truth in them?

If there is some truth to what your partner is saying, then it's essential to be honest with yourself and acknowledge it. This doesn't mean that you are admitting that you are wrong or at fault; rather it is simply acknowledging that no-one is perfect and that this may be an issue you could work.

If there is some truth to what your partner is saying, then it's essential to be honest with yourself and acknowledge it.

For example, if your partner says, "You never listen to me", and there is some truth to this, you could acknowledge this by saying, "You're right. I could work on my listening skills. Is there anything, in particular, you think I could do differently?"

Acknowledging your partner's comments shows them that you are open to feedback and can work on issues that need to change. This is a more productive way to approach the situation than getting angry or defensive.

Now, let's assume that you think there is no truth to your partner's words. What do you do then?

responsibility

A simple option is to ask for clarification. For example, if your partner says, "You never listen to me", and you think there is no truth to this, you could say, "I'm not sure I understand what you mean. Could you explain this more to me?".

By doing this, you will get more information about what your partner is saying, which will help you get to the root of the problem. Remember that we all have blind spots, so remain open to the possibility that there may be validity to what your partner is saying, even if you don't see it at first.

Summary

Let's summarise what you've learned so far.

Taking things personally may be your first instinct when you are criticised, however, it almost never helps the situation.

Instead of taking things personally, take a step back and think, "Is this about me?".

If the answer is "No", ask yourself what is going on for the other person. Showing understanding and compassion often helps to defuse the situation.

If the answer is "Yes", acknowledge any truth in your partner's words. Ask for clarification if you need help understanding. Remain open to the possibility that there may be validity to what your partner is saying, even if you don't see it at first.

Instead of taking things personally, take a step back and think, "Is this about me?".

Either way, do not take the other person's comments personally and do not get angry or defensive. This never helps resolve the issue.

Remember: For a free training on how to control your anger, click here.

And finally, remember: You can't control other people, but you can control yourself.

FREE Training

Breaking The Anger Cycle: 3 Game-Changing Secrets For Controlling Your Anger, Mastering Your Emotions And Creating Calmer, Happier And More Respectful Relationships

>