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How to Deal With Anger and Being Treated Unfairly in Your Relationships

by Allen Thompson

Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear,
but around in awareness. - James Thurber


People get angry when they feel they have been treated UNFAIRLY.

If a person feels he has been treated unfairly he will get angry. If he feels he has been treated fairly, he won't. It's as simple as that.

The important thing here is not what happens to the person, but his "feeling" or "perception" that he has been treated a certain way. Whether he has, in fact, been treated unfairly or not is irrelevant. As long as he thinks he has been treated unfairly he'll get angry... regardless of the situation, the outcome, or what happens to him.

For example, imagine that you had just won $3 million dollars in the lottery. How do you think you'd feel? You're probably thinking euphoric, ecstatic, excited, and very, very happy.

But now imagine that the jackpot was actually $300 million dollars - the largest in history. You show up to collect your $300 million and instead receive a check for $3 million. It turns out that the lottery owners "accidentally" lost $297 million last weekend in Las Vegas. How would you feel?

Would you be euphoric, ecstatic, excited, and very, very happy? No, you'd be angry! VERY ANGRY! You'd want the $300 million dollars you were promised. You'd feel that you had been treated unfairly.

The outcome is the same in both examples - you get $3 million dollars. The only difference is your perception of how FAIRLY you were treated.

Likewise, I can make fun of your shirt, sleep with your girlfriend, drink all your beer, and kick your dog... but if you think you've been treated fairly, that you somehow deserve all this, then you won't get angry. You'll remain calm and stoic. You may not like it very much, but you won't get angry.

So Why Am I Bringing Up the Subject of Anger?

Because anger, and the management of that anger, plays a very important part in any male-female relationship.

If two people spend any significant amount of time together, eventually there's going to be some anger. A little bit every now and then. It's inevitable. How those two people deal with that anger will determine the course of the relationship.

Will they break up? Will they stay together? Will they repress their feelings and wind up resenting one another? Or will they deal effectively with the anger... and perhaps become even closer as a result?

Let's take a look at a few real-world examples of anger in action... and how to manage our thoughts and behaviors in order to convey that SoSuave image that we so desire.

Say, for example, your girlfriend is angry with you. Very angry! She's banging pots, slamming cabinets, and giving you the evil eye. If you were like most guys you'd be nervous, irritated, confused, and maybe a little upset yourself. And you'd, very likely, be completely clueless as to what could have set her off. ("Oh, she's upset again. She seems to get upset all the time lately, and for no reason. Must be that time of the month again.")

And, an important point, her anger would most likely fuel your own anger toward her. As you don't understand why she's so mad, you yourself come to feel that YOU are being treated unfairly.

But, of course, YOU are not like most guys. You're a frequent visitor of SoSuave. You understand that her anger is caused by her perception that she was somehow treated unfairly (by you, or maybe by someone else).

You Now Know Exactly How to Resolve the Situation

You can then work to figure out exactly why she feels she's been treated unfairly (if you're really really perceptive) or, more likely, you can simply sit her down (maybe later after she's put down all the pots) and attempt to get to the bottom of the situation.

Now I'm not a big fan of giving conventional advice, and I very rarely suggest using logic with women — not male logic anyhow. (Remember that women are emotional creatures.) And you should very rarely discuss the "relationship process" with women. For example, never talk about the psychological processes that underlie attraction — such as confidence, independence, mystery, body language, ambition, strength, etc.

But in this instance the old sit-down-and-discuss-the-situation is often your best solution.

However, you're not just going to talk about "feelings" and other girly stuff like that; you're going to educate her as to the psychological constructs which underlie the emotion of anger. You're going to explain the "perception of being treated unfairly" and how this produces anger. And you're going to assure her that treating her unfairly, and thus making her angry, was never your intent.

(Remember that intent is an important mediator of anger. It's very difficult to maintain anger at someone if treating you unfairly was not their intent.)

Likewise, when YOU are angry... either with her, or even someone else, your understanding of the cause of your own anger can help you to more effectively deal with the situation. (Remember, YOU, being a certified Don Juan, only get upset or angry when you WANT to... and you only want to when it serves a useful purpose.)

For example, if you feel that your lady has somehow treated you unfairly, you can calmly explain the cause of your anger to her. Explain exactly what it is that makes you feel you've been treated unfairly. She, at this point, will most likely apologize, claiming that was not her intent.

She may not even realize that she's doing things that make you angry. But once you point this out, it's her obligation to not do those things anymore (assuming you're not being unreasonable).

Now this may sound like pretty simple stuff, but very often we don't really understand the cause of our own anger.

All we know is that we're angry about what she did, and we're gonna let her know about it. But if you're able to get to the root of why you're angry, what exactly is making you feel like you're being treated unfairly, you can very often RATIONALLY AND CALMLY deal with the situation... rather than making things worse by yelling and screaming.

Do Not Confuse Real Anger With False Anger

Now, as a side note, don't make the mistake of confusing REAL ANGER (this article) with FALSE ANGER. False anger does not follow the same rules and does not stem from the same underlying causes.

For example, your lady might get angry and throw a little hissyfit in order to TEST you — to see how you respond. She wants to find out if you'll be a man and stand up for yourself, or if you'll be a little weenie and beg her for forgiveness? (Hint: you don't want to be a weenie.)

Or she might become angry simply to add a little drama and excitement to a relationship which has become boring and mundane. As a budding Don Juan, it's your job to maintain the relationship, to keep the excitement levels high. So if she's resorting to false anger and other drama-inducing behaviors, then you're most likely not doing your job very well. (Or, on the other hand, she could just be a nut!)

Again though, this is not real anger, and the experienced Don can usually identify these situations for what they really are, and respond appropriately.

Anyhow, back to the topic of real anger.

How an Understanding of Anger Can Impact Your Life

You might be pleasantly surprised at how an understanding of anger can positively impact your life by helping you to better understand your feelings in a variety of situations.

For example, I always get a good chuckle from many of the newbies who visit SoSuave.com and, especially, the Discussion Forum.

Many of these guys are angry. They're angry at women. They often feel that women are illogical, stupid, or just plain mean.

They don't understand women... AT ALL.

A newbie often tells a tale of how he did "everything right" with this woman — complimented her tirelessly, brought her flowers on every date, called her 3 times a day, did anything and everything she wanted, told her he loved her, wrote her poetry, and was, in general, just so so nice to her...

...and then she dumped him for some loser-unemployed-jerk who uses and abuses her.

Yes, the newbies are ANGRY!

They feel they've been treated unfairly. That they've done pretty much exactly what women have been saying that they've wanted for decades... and they've been given the shaft as a result.

Of course, when you do everything right with a woman, you expect to be treated very well by her in return. You expect her to like you, to be attracted to you, to want to be around you. And when that doesn't happen, you get angry... because you feel you're being treated unfairly.

But once the newbie has done a little reading — a few dozen articles, a few hundred tips — the anger begins to subside. He begins to understand women. He begins to understand the game, the rules, the principles.

He realizes that, NO, he was not doing everything right with the girl who just dumped him. In fact, he was doing most everything wrong... and that's why she lost interest... not because she's stupid, illogical, or an evil, conniving bitch.

And he begins to feel not angry with women, not anymore, but a little stupid, ashamed, and embarrassed about his past behaviors. And he can then, at that point, begins the process of becoming the suave, sophisticated Don Juan he always wanted to be.

Anger Is Not Always Destructive

Now let me point out here that anger is not always destructive. In fact, sometimes it can actually serve useful purposes.

Have you ever wondered why some women stay in relationships with abusive men... while other women leave, file charges, or cut peckers off and toss them out car windows? It has a lot to do with anger and the woman's perception that she is either being treated fairly or unfairly.

(Note: we're talking abusive relationships here, not just guys who are jerks. There's a difference.)

The women who stay in these relationships tend to have very low self-esteem. And thus, they don't see the abusive behavior as being unfair treatment. They, for some reason, feel as though they deserve the mental and/or physical abuse. And without that critical perception of unfairness, and without the anger that results, they don't have the necessary motivation to make a change.

On the other hand, women with high self-esteem will get angry when they are treated in an abusive fashion. They don't feel as though the behavior is warranted or fair. And they will take steps to change the situation.

One of the keys to getting a woman out of an abusive relationship is to make her angry, to make her feel as though she's being treated unfairly, and that she deserves better. Once she gets ANGRY, she will then be primed to take the appropriate steps to change her situation.

Can Anger Increase Attraction?

Now I'd be remiss if I didn't mention to you one other anger tidbit. Let me point out that in some rare instances a display of anger on your part can actually increase a woman's attraction toward you. It can make you look energetic, emotional, confident, forceful, and strong. It can make you look like a man who demands respect and who expects others to treat him well.

But the key here is having complete control over your anger response so as not to say or do something stupid that you'll wind up regretting later.

Don't let anger control you or interfere in your relationships. Take charge. Be a man. Control your anger. Control your emotions.

No man who understands the game will ever get dumped for being calm and rational, but plenty will get the boot, or give the boot, when they let anger or other emotional outbursts control their minds and their actions.

Allen Thompson
djnewslet@sosuave.com
Copyright © 1998

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