Relationship Insights from Donald Trump

Posted on 17-05-2016 , by: Dr. Tim. Hogan , in , 2 Comments

Now that Donald Trump is the Republican presumptive nominee for president I thought it would be good to notice what he teaches us all about healthy relationships.

No, seriously.

People like Donald Trump because he shows us that anger energizes us to speak the truth.

And speaking the truth to each other is the foundation of great and intimate relationships. And because anger energizes us to speak the truth, it helps to cultivate intimacy. In fact, learning how to skillfully use anger for intimacy is one of the most important relationship skills we can develop.

Here’s how to use anger positively:

First, embrace it: anger is a gift to our relationships. Anger is telling us that something is wrong, out of balance, unjust and needs your attention. Anger shows up to literally give us the energy to speak truth, and intimacy requires truth. Without a little anger now and then we will avoid tough conversations, which only weakens our connection. So don’t push it away.

Second, make sense of anger before speaking it. Do a little exploring. What is underneath the anger? What hurts? What seems unfair? What needs protection? Then, share the anger from there. For example, instead of saying “you piss me off when you talk to me like that!” try saying “it hurts when you talk to me like that so I get mad and shut down.”

Third, never yell, blame, threaten or vent your anger  Venting is bad for your emotional brain and amounts to rehearsing and strengthening your anger. (OK let’s be real: Donald Trump is not a good example of this one!)

Fourth, stay calm and vulnerable. When anger mixes with a harsh tone, we inevitably trigger the primitive center of the other person’s brain, shutting down the possibility of a healing conversation. Instead, calm down, using breathing exercises first if needed.

And what about Donald Trump? Regardless of whether you like him as a person or not (and most people don’t like him), let’s allow him to remind us this election season that anger is a valuable part of every intimate relationship.

The point? Your anger will deepen your connections when you practice embracing it, understanding it and expressing it with calm and vulnerability. Anger is your friend.

(How’s that for a positive spin on this election season?)

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2 Comments found

  1. Hi Tim,
    I think this is a difficult one for most of us because we have been taught that anger is NOT a good emotion. I can hear in my head “Calm down, settle down, let it go, what is YOUR problem???” The problem is that I AM pissed off! You propose a new way of thinking about anger, digging deeper into my emotions to see what lies at the heart of the anger and then use it in a different way. I know that what I have been doing has not worked, and just gets ME all worked up, so I’ll give your strategies a try and see what happens. You are a bold man to use Trump as an example – but somehow it works!

    • Thanks for commenting, Amy. Yes, we sure do get lots of messages that essentially tell us that anger is bad and scary. Things clearly change when we look for how anger can be a hidden gift to the relationship. And, yes, I certainly had mixed feelings about referencing Donald Trump! I’m just committed to finding positive ways to view the world.

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