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Preventing Unwarranted Conflict

Question:

I seem to start conflicts, arguments, in my romantic relationship out of nowhere and over nothing. My partner is caring and sweet and yet I sometimes go on the attack almost out of nowhere.  I don’t know how to stop this from happening.  I just go on the offensive and then feel awful about it later. I’m an extremely anxious person and worry about the state of my relationship.  I’m happy a lot of the time and want to do what I can to keep these random bursts of conflict from happening.  It’s almost as if I start to go on the attack and just can’t stop myself from doing it. Is there anything I can do to make this stop happening?

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Answer:

First, it’s important for you to understand why you are having these outbursts of anger. There are several possibilities. For instance:

1) If you feel insecure in an intimate relationship, anger may be a way for you to push your boyfriend away and sabotage the relationship. Yes, this can happen without you being aware of why it’s happening; 2) Anxiety and anger go together. Therefore, it may be that you experience a low level of depression. One of the symptoms of depression is often irritability and anger; 3) You report that these outbursts are random in nature. Perhaps they are related to PMS. Some women complain that, prior to the onset of their menstrual flow, they feel emotional. When the cycle begins, their feelings return to normal; 4) There are issues that you have with your boyfriend that you are avoiding having to discuss with him. Perhaps they have to do with sex, money, feelings of insecurity about other females he knows, helping with house work if you live together and any one of a number of possibilities.

Understanding why this is happening to you is only one step you need to take. Psychotherapy, a balanced diet and exercise, and meditation, are three things you can try in together or individually. Certainly, if nothing else helps, psychotherapy is a reasonable step for you. If the anger is connected to PMS then you can see your MD (GYN) and discuss the options that are available to reduce the increase in emotionality during that part of the month.

I want to emphasize the importance of discussing with your boyfriend those issues in the relationship that are causing you some problems. Regardless of how good he is, the fact is that no one is perfect and, as with all couples, there are bound to be things that annoy you. The purpose of having discussions with each other is so that the both of you can work on possible mutually agreeable solutions.

Intimate relationships are difficult and require lots of hard work.

Good luck to the both of you.

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