By Rori Raye
I know what I instinctively do when I get
I sit on it.
I want to think about it.
I want to think about what to do with it.
If the person who just said or did something
that got my anger started, especially if it’s my
husband or my daughter, I most especially stuff it down
until I can figure out what to say.
Often the moment gets lost entirely.
I find myself grumpy or tense ten minutes
later, ruminating on my anger like a cow chewing cud,
and my opportunity to express myself feels lost forever.
What I’m describing here, it seems,
is me beating myself up because I didn’t know what
to do with the anger I was feeling.
What’s sometimes worse is when my
husband is angry.
I can handle his anger if it’s towards
I get behind him, confirm his righteous
indignation, his enemy is my enemy.
I’m a great team player.
So where am I when he’s angry at me?
What team am I on?
The first split second I feel his coolness,
I’m on team Rori.
I get my back up, I protect my back, I face
I’m the star goalie, defender of Rori,
no angry words could possibly hurt me, I never, ever,
ever did anything wrong.
Or I did everything wrong. I bounce from
anger at him for being angry with me to anger at myself
for causing such unbearable conflict.
I blame myself for severing love, even for
this moment. It doesn’t occur to me until sometimes
hours later that acting as if I’m on team Our Relationship
would not only be better for the relationship, but for
All I need to do is share my anger.
We all know from reading every book on communication
ever written that we’re supposed to communicate
in "I feel" messages, not "You did"
messages. And yet -- How do you do that?
Most of us don’t even know what that
looks like, much less how to get the words out.
Not one woman (including me) that I’ve
met has even seen it in our lifetime, except maybe in
Not only do we not know what it feels like
to really talk in "I feel" messages, we hardly
ever even know what it is we even feel!
Those of you who have been to my workshops
know that a big part of my work is helping women access
their feelings and then express those feelings in words
a man can hear.
One of the emotions we women have the most
trouble with is anger, and anger is also the emotion we
often seem to have the most of!
We are all angry a good part of the time.
Perhaps it’s disappointment, or irritation,
or pure rage.
Some of us have gotten seriously sick trying
to hold in so much anger.
Some of us can only attract men who offend
us, who make us angry, because we are so angry.
Putting a smiley face on our anger just
makes it all worse, because on top of the authentic angry
inferno anyone who stands next to us can sense (no matter
how dense we think they are), we’re adding the disrespect
of trying to hide it from them.
We’re pretending it’s not even
there -- though it’s like a great big elephant sticking
out of our chests.
That angry elephant trumpets through our
words no matter how hard we try to disguise it.
When we pretend, we appear at best like
automatons, at worst like liars.
We can seem completely out of touch with
ourselves and at the same time complain about how men
can’t get in touch with their feelings!
So, what to do?
1. Agree that anger, even murderous rage,
is just a feeling.
It’s just energy.
And it’s most likely covering pain.
Because anger truly does feel better than
pain, it’s a very worthwhile and helpful emotion.
2. Admit to ourselves that what we’re
feeling is anger, and that it belongs to us, not to the
man across the dinner table.
Admit that it most likely has absolutely
nothing to do with that man across the table.
It may be anger from the last relationship,
the last two dozen relationships, or our relationships
with our parents.
And then admit that if it is about the man
across the table, and he's said or done something clearly
hurtful, you not only don’t have to tolerate it
-- you can handle the next step! Which is:
3. Share it. This is not about venting,
getting it out, or “communicating.”
It’s about sharing your feeling state
in order to both keep yourself healthy and deepen your
relationship with another human being. Say "I’m
If he asks you why –- say "I
feel really angry.
And now I’m feeling confused.
And now I feel a little silly even telling
Or "Ouch -- that really hurt -- it
(Notice I didn’t say "You made
me feel terrible" or "That makes me feel terrible",
I just said "I feel terrible.")
It may seem like a little thing, and yet
my work is based on the idea that these little things
add up to big things, and then pretty soon your life has
changed for the better and you’ve already lived
through all those big changes that right now seem so terrifying.
Learn how to go a few rounds with him, responding
in the moment -- even if it gets to you screaming "Now
I’m so angry I feel like hitting you! I don’t
want to be here anymore!" and leaving the space.
If you have to do this a lot, you may want
to look at why you’ve chosen to stick around with
this man at all -- which brings us right back to the question
of why we hide the stuff in the first place.
Is it because we’re afraid to look
at what’s really going on in the relationship, what’s
really going on in our hearts?
I know it seems too simplistic to just share
your feeling state.
We want to explain, to help him understand.
Actually, we just want to slap him around.
We want to punish him.
And that gets us, and the relationship,
So where does all this sharing of feelings
Every single woman I’ve taught to
do this (including myself) has told me that it shifts
It shifts the entire relationship.
Where there was once tension and a feeling
of detachment, there’s now a feeling of play and
Sharing our feeling state is an outrageous
act of bravery.
Any man in the room can see that.
And any man can feel the utter authenticity
and vulnerability of it.
Any man can feel how much you must trust
and respect him to be able to open up like that, without
Without so much as mentioning his name.
And any woman who does this, even a little,
experiences a freeing up inside.
All of a sudden all the pretense goes away,
and the fear of dropping the pretense goes away.
All of a sudden the need to defend, the
need to be guarded goes away, and the fear of dropping
our guard goes away.
There’s suddenly nothing between you
and your man.
He can feel it.
You can feel it.
Where it goes from there is out of your
And that, once you get used to it, is liberating.
It opens the door and parts the curtain
and gives you the chance to really let love walk in.
And then it does.
Let me show you all the ways in which you
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In her packed Los Angeles workshops, relationship
coach, author, speaker and seminar leader Rori Raye teaches
women the completely original, controversial, simple-to-do
techniques for communication, confidence, and connecting
with men that she used to turn her own now-glorious eighteen-year