When you're smack in the middle of big life change - like divorce, having a baby, or changing jobs - you can get ANGRY when it all hits the fan and chaos sets in! The more FRUSTRATED you get, the angrier you become - until you end up looking like HER.
I remember years ago, when my kids were little, my grandmother landed in the hospital. The doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong with her. She cried to me that she wanted to go home, the tests were never-ending, and nobody was explaining what was happening.
I lost my mind. The poor doctors and nurses caught the fire-breathing anger I dumped on them like hot coals. All at 28 years old, with a baby on my hip. They didn't know what hit them - but guess what? I got my grandmother discharged.
For months afterward, my aunt and my grandmother were angry with me. What the hell? I popped my cork and got her what she wanted - to go home!
Problem was that I also alienated a lot of people. My grandmother still had to go to that doctor. She ended up in the hospital again, and might have had the same nurses. (I'll bet they whispered, "Oh, that poor woman - her granddaughter is crazy!") They felt my behavior was unacceptable - whether I got the job done, or not. There could be repercussions that might affect my grandmother later.
What could I have done differently, but still gotten the job done? What are some ways YOU can handle frustrating situations without leaving a bloody trail behind you?
Now, I'm not saying you shouldn't stand up for yourself - but I am saying that you get more flies with honey than vinegar. Here are a few ways you can do just that:
~Stay calm. Don't handle conflict when you're breathing fire. Walk away for a few minutes, calm yourself down (take my Emotional First Aid Class to learn how), and come back to the discussion when you can sound reasonable.
~Reflective listening. Here's what that sounds like: "It seems that you haven't been able to diagnose my grandmother." "I feel like you're not sure how to treat her." "I feel like you're doing a lot of testing for different things - are you unsure?"
~Set limits with an XYZ statement: When you do X, I feel Y, and I'd like Z. "While doing all these tests and keeping my grandmother here, it makes the family very frustrated, and my grandmother upset. We'd like to understand what's happening so she can go home."
~Involve the other parties in creating a solution. Be focused on the goal, not the emotion. "How can we address this issue so she can go home as soon as possible?"
~If you get resistance, use the Broken Record Technique: "I'm sorry you feel that way, but..." and repeat your XYZ statement.
~Add a consequence for non-compliance. "If we don't have some kind of diagnosis or treatment plan by the end of the week, we're going to take her home and get some other opinions."
~Pick your battles. Sometimes it's more productive to let stuff go.
These skills take practice to make them habit, so think of a conflict you've had recently. How could you have handled it differently?
If you'd like to learn a better way to pick your battles, take my class, "Secret Ways to Stop Stress in Its Tracks." Get yours here:
Susan Petang is a Certified Stress Management Coach, and author of two books. Her program, The Quiet Zone Method, is how she triumphed over anxiety and depression when nothing else worked. She specializes in helping women deal with overwhelming emotions during stressful life changes. If you're getting married or divorced; having a baby or have lost a loved one; or are changing jobs or moving, The Quiet Zone Method is how you'll get through tough days in one piece and start waking up happy in the morning again. To go from overwhelm to joy, visit: