How do we get angry and can we manage the situation differently?
In the previous article we have been talking about Racket anger and discussed what kind of feelings might be hidden behind it. Here I am going to talk about how do we get angry.
When we get angry, we might express our anger there and then, or we might choose to store it away for use later. In this case, in Transactional Analysis terminology, we are said to be saving a stamp.
For example: you come home late from work and find your partner already there. You ask him to help with dinner, but he is reluctant to do so as usually it is your task. You express your disappointment and maybe even have an argument, but at least your partner now knows where you stand and you feel that you have made your point. Or you can choose to say nothing, get on with making dinner and save a stamp for later.
At weekend, you ask your partner to take your daughter to her ballet lessons, because you are going to a work conference. He forgets and you come home to a disappointed child. You can choose to confront your partner and discuss the way you would like to share the childcare in the future. In that case you will explain your point of view and also allow your partner to do the same, coming to some sort of an agreement. Or you can choose to say nothing and just get on with your chores. You have saved another stamp.
A month later you are about to go to London for a night out with your friends. It was planned months ahead and your partner agreed to babysit. On Friday morning he announces that he has a work commitment and has to be in the office all day Saturday. If you have already saved several stamps, you are likely to explode and tell him to pack his bags, that you can’t live in this kind of relationship any longer and you have had enough.
Some people prefer to cash their stamps frequently, for a small argument, whilst other people prefer to save lots of stamps and finally cash them in for a really big prize – a hart attack or a violent fight.
Next time you are about to save a stamp, you might choose to stop and think. Resolving a small disagreement straightaway might prevent a massive problem arising at a later stage.