Maybe it’s your super conservative grandmother who comes and visits your family every summer, and her old fashioned beliefs turn to insults that make you bite your tongue while you silently fume inside. Or maybe it’s your roommate who criticizes you for leaving a shirt on the ground when they barely even bring their own dirty dishes to the sink, let alone wash them. We all, at one point in our lives, have lived with someone who we sometimes can not stand.
You know who that person is for you; but no matter what, you’re stuck because of your living arrangement. It’s very rare that one can just pack up and leave in a night.
Living arrangements can be quite difficult. Chores, curfews, cooking, bathroom space, they all come with challenges. Challenges and disagreements that can lead to arguments, which can lead to anger. Anger itself, is a secondary emotion and is built on other feelings. Maybe the anger came from frustration, sadness, guilt or maybe a combination of more than one emotion, depending on the circumstance.
Everyone responds to anger differently. I tend to not rationalize my thoughts well when I am angry. I can also get quite self-destructive when my anger is built off of guilt and shame, so I take out the anger on myself. Guilt-anger can be quite unhealthy, and at times dangerous for me, so I’ve found it is best to escape from the situation as soon as possible.
The simplest and most effective solution I have found is something that is commonly believed to be only for young children: the concept of “time outs.”
Time-outs in this situation would mean leaving the heated argument or situation, for a set amount of time, for the purpose of cooling yourself down. The time length could vary from ten minutes to an hour. You can give yourself a time-out in several different ways:
- listening to music
- writing in a journal
- watching a funny movie
- going for a walk outside
- or maybe just taking a nap
The least effective way to solve any issue with someone is when you are all high strung and upset. Simply stating that you “want to take a time out” and will be back in half an hour or so should be enough of an explanation when you’re in a heated discussion or argument.
Getting along with others you cohabit with can be very challenging at times, but finding coping mechanisms can help tremendously.
So what are some of your emotional coping strategies you have found work well for you? Let me know in the comments below!