- by Dr Gowher Yusuf
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- Feb 11 2017
Teens: How do you learn to control your anger? Activity 21
Source: The Anger workbook for Teens by (Raychelle Cassada Lohmann, MS)
I – messages express how you feel without making others feel that they are to blame. Learning to use I-messages instead of you-messages is a simple but important way to improve your communication skills.
You-messages focus on what other people have done in a way that makes them feel as though they are being attacked. These messages often include words that put people on the defensive, like “should”, “always”, “must”, “ought to”, and “never”. When you start finger pointing and making accusations, people are likely to stop listening to you. Instead, they focus on what they are going to say in response to your attack.
An I – message tells you what you feel, what the person has done to make you feel that way, and why you feel the way you do. By using I-messages instead of you-messages, you can decrease tension in a conflict. The other person is less apt to feel defensive, and it will be easier for the two of you to work out a solution to whatever situation has caused the anger.
Here are the 2 examples:
You are angry with a friend who usually eats lunch with you but has been sitting at a different table all week.
- You message: You always ignore me!
- I-message: I feel hurt when you don’t sit with me at lunch because it makes me think that you don’t want to be my friend.
You have been trying to tell your friend about a problem at home, but she keeps responding to each new text messages she gets.
- You message- you never listen to me!
- I-message: I feel angry when you keep texting while I am trying to talk to you because it makes me think that you don’t care about what I am saying.
Which message would you be more willing to listen to?
For one week, keep a tally of all of the times that you use you-messages. Notice whether they include the words “should”, “always”, “must”, “ought to”, or “never”. On the table below, make a check mark each time that you use a you-message that day. Next, in column 3 through 7, place a check mark for each defensive word that you use in your you-message.
| ||You-Messages||Should||Always||Must||Ought to||Never|
|Monday|| || || || || || |
|Tuesday|| || || || || || |
|Wednesday|| || || || || || |
|Thursday|| || || || || || |
|Friday|| || || || || || |
|Saturday|| || || || || || |
|Sunday|| || || || || || |
|Total|| || || || || || |
Add up the accusatory messages. Which of the statements did you use the most frequently?
Now that you are aware of using this language, how do you plan to change it?
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