Sunday, January 09, 2005


Advice for someone who is taking his frustrations out on people dear to him.

1. Talk to the people close to you who are feeling the brunt of this. Let them simply know that you are aware you are doing this and that you do not mean to hurt them. It is important they know you care, because people can get all sorts of ideas into their heads that you hate them or no longer care.

2. Let them know that you care enough about them to want to change. Let them also know that you understand how hard it is to change habits that are deeply ingrained. This shows how much you care and helps them not to expect that you will just become a different person overnight (people can easily expect things that are not reasonable).

3. Most important, solicit their help. It sounds like what you need is a reminder that you are doing it earlier. So, perhaps ask them to let you know when you start. It is VERY important for them to understand that you must choose how they do this. For instance, if they say, "See? You're doing it AGAIN!", that might not help; it might only make matters worse. But if you ask them to say "You asked me to remind you when this happens," that might help more. Or you might prefer something that sounds funny to help you break out of frustration, something like, "Your order of pickled noodle pudding is ready, sir."

(NOTE: This should not be confused with professional psychological counsel, just practical advice on how to manage interpersonal communications.)