Ask Dr. Conte: How Can I Lose My Anger Before I Lose My Fiancée?

How Can I Lose My Anger Before I Lose My Fiancée?

Dr. Conte,

How can I stop my anger toward people? I am engaged to my girlfriend and I do not want to lose her – can you please help me?

— Colin*

Hi Colin,

I can hear the desperation in your voice, even in only a one line question. And although anger is vague and your question is vague, the truth is that there is a very specific underlying reality that I think can help you: Your expectations. You see, even without knowing you or without having much information about your anger, I know that anger often stems from expecting things in life to go a certain way, when the reality is that they are going a different way. The more we demand things to be the way we want rather than the way they are, the angrier we get. 

Your question is fairly direct, and my answer is direct in return, but in order to implement the solution, you will have to work very hard at letting go of unrealistically demanding life to go the way you want it to go. The more rigid you are in life, the angrier you will be. The more flexible you can be in accepting life-as-it-is, the less angry you’ll be. The choice of how you are is up to you.

The best chance you have at not losing your girlfriend is to treat her with the utmost respect and love. I would not dream of yelling at my wife or ever insulting her or calling her a name; nor would she do that to me. A relationship is about love and respect, not forcing opinions or desires on others. The more you can accept your girlfriend for who she is, the more comfortable she will be in the relationship, and the safer she will likely feel. When people feel safe and loved in relationships, they tend to stay in them.

So tell me, Colin – for not having a whole lot of information to go on, how much does the advice I’m giving you resonate with you? 

And to the other readers out there: How does this feedback I’m giving Colin sit with you? 

Feel free to write in and let us know. 

Much peace! 

*Names have been changed for privacy.