During emotional situations such as divorce, your partner may become so angry, irrational, and unreasonable that it takes a monumental effort to not get equally worked up. To keep them calm and help ensure that all important conversations are productive, consider using the strategies below.
1. Develop a strategy for effective communication
When your spouse becomes angry or irrational during a conversation, you may be tempted to respond in kind, despite your better judgment. While no one should have to listen to verbal abuse, unleashing your own anger and frustration will cause communications to deteriorate even further. As elementary as it may sound, adopt the strategy of speaking to your spouse the way you want to be spoken to. Over time, you can create the foundation for respectful and honest dialogue, which will accomplish more than lashing out and hostile language.
2. Maintain clear and firm boundaries
When your spouse is being especially difficult, it can be tempting to give in for the sake of peace, but over time, you don’t want to establish a pattern of giving in when it gets too difficult. The idea is to work through the difficulty and find a middle ground where both parties can compromise. Start setting limits for yourself (with the help of an experienced Connecticut divorce lawyer) and stick to them even if you initially encounter resistance.
3. Acknowledge your spouse’s feelings
Aggressive personalities are especially sensitive to being misunderstood or dismissed. If your spouse says something hostile, you may want to swallow the urge to say something similar. Instead, acknowledge their feelings by saying, “I understand why that would concern you.” Validating your spouse’s words will make them feel heard and lessen their need to argue the point.
4. Consider seeing a therapist
Managing your encounters with an aggressive and uncooperative person is emotionally exhausting. You may eventually reach a breaking point and start yelling back. Talking to someone can help, but never vent about your spouse to your children or mutual friends. A therapist will create a safe space for you to speak your mind and destress, so that you are better prepared to remain calm during future conflicts and diffuse the situation.
You’re only human, so it’s normal to feel exhausted and defensive when your spouse is perpetually difficult. Improving your coping and communication skills are effective ways to achieve the frame of mind needed to stay calm and deal constructively with an uncooperative person.
Going through a contentious divorce and even living under the same roof as an aggressive spouse can overwhelm and wear you down. At the McConnell Family Law Group, we can help you work through these issues and take control of your situation once more so that you can feel positive about the future. To speak to a team member about your needs and goals, click here.