It can be difficult to express anger appropriately. Learning how to talk about your feelings instead of acting them out can be very helpful. The following examples and tips will be useful in learning to talk about your feelings.
You can stop escalation or disagreement by saying something like:
- “I need to take a break.”
- “Let’s stop this for now.”
- “I’m feeling overwhelmed so I need a break.”
- “I need a time out – we can talk later.”
- “Maybe we can agree to disagree on this.”
- “Give me a few minutes…I will be back.”
- “Can we start over again?”
- “I am not up for this conversation now.”
When you need to calm down, say:
- “I need a break from this discussion.”
- “I want to calm down now – can we finish this later?”
- “I am not in a good place right now; I need to stop for now.”
- “Can I take that back?”
- “This is not working for me.”
- “I need to be calmer before I can talk about this.”
- “Can we call a truce for now?”
3 tips to remember:
- Use ‘I’ messages – take responsibility for your feelings and behavior by saying “I feel/want/need/am ___________________ when _________________________ (describe the behavior or concern). “I feel irritated when I am rushed. I want/need more time to get ready for work without being rushed. Will you adjust your schedule so that you are out of the bathroom earlier and I have more time to get ready?”
- Avoid saying ‘you’ as it generally makes people defensive or sounds like blaming. In the example above, I intentionally did not say ‘I feel irritated when you rush me. I want you to stop rushing me while I am getting ready for work.” The response will be very different based on how you say things.
- Take a time out before you speak if you need to calm yourself. It is okay to say “I can’t talk about this now.” Or, “I need some time to think about this.” Just be sure that you express your thoughts/feelings later to avoid building up emotions that explode later.
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