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When Does Anger Become Abuse?

Dr. Chris and Alisa Grace pose for the cover of The Art of Relationships Podcast.

Is your anger abusive towards other people? At what point does it become a problem? In today's podcast, Dr. Chris and Alisa Grace teach us how to identify triggers and effectively manage anger in our relationships to avoid hurting others. 

Speaker 1: Welcome to another Art of Relationships podcast. We are grateful for listeners like you. Let's get right into it.

Chris Grace: Well, it's so good to be back with you on this podcast talking about all things relationships. Alisa, one of the cool things about relationships and marriages are that you get to run into so many fun people out there, and do so many cool events and just talk about marriage. When we do a podcast on this, we have so many resources and people we've connected with over the years, including the people at John Brown University, a guy name Gary Oliver who wrote some curriculum that we speak with, and then family life and some of their curriculum.

And so one of the things Alisa, I think that's been so fun is just getting to go out and meet people and enjoy that. It's fun to talk and connect with other people, and so we're glad that you join us on this podcast, because that's really what this is. It's just talking about relationships and marriages, and we love doing that. That's why we're doing this podcast.

Alisa Grace: We do. It's just resonates with our heart, it's our passion to help people really dig down deep to make their relationships satisfying, get them to the point where they not only bring God glory, but they also bring you great joy. So that's our passion. We're all about combining the latest in research, in relational marital research with the timeless truths of God's word, and combining them in a really practical way so people can apply it and see the benefit to their life, to their family, and to their community as well.

Chris Grace: And we get to have fun doing that. I think the best part about it is, Alisa, it's just cool to do it. Because marriage, you run into all kinds of stories and you hear these cool things about people. I remember hearing the story about that couple that they decided in their marriage, they were older but they wanted to go to the Holy Land. They finally went and they were there. Unfortunately for them, while they were there, the wife passed away in the Holy Land.

Alisa Grace: Oh gosh.

Chris Grace: I know. It was horrible. But the question now came to the man what to do of have taking his wife and burying her there, or flying her home. The guy said, "It's $500 to bury her here, but just so you know, it would be $5,000 to fly her home." You need to make that choice. So the man thought about it within just one or two seconds. He goes, "No, I'm going to fly her home. I don't care about the costs."

And the guy said, "But it's so inexpensive here. Why not just bury her hurt here in the Holy Land?" And he says, "Well, 2000 years ago in this area, there was a man who died in this very area, and he was buried. And three days later, he rose again." And the guy goes, "I don't want to take that chance." That's horrible.

Alisa Grace: He said, "Uh-uh (negative), I'm not doing it. Not doing it. Put her on the plane right now."

Chris Grace: Well, nobody wants to see that. I think the idea of marriage is you could make fun of them and you could poke at each other. If there was one thing that I appreciate, Lisa, about our marriage, is playfulness. We can laugh at jokes that make fun of things, but we're I think just having fun. I see couples all the time that mess around and have fun. I think playfulness is an endearing fun quality that I love in our marriage.

Other couples, they're maybe a little bit more serious, not so playful, but they just love doing the same thing, and they love hanging out and having fun together. Whatever it is, it's so cool.

Alisa Grace: I remember being on a trip, you, me and Tim [Yohaff]. We had traveled up to Northern California somewhere, and the three of us were speaking together. I think we were leading a marriage mentoring conference or something. But we flew up north and we all stayed at the hotel, and we were getting ready to leave. We were getting in the elevator and you and I were cracking up about something.

And Tim just looks at us and shakes his head. And he's like, "You guys are the goofiest couple I know." Just goofy.

Chris Grace: I do remember that. Thanks, Tim.

Alisa Grace: And of all people, Tim Yohaff telling us that.

Chris Grace: Telling us we're goofy. No, not really. He's a good guy wherever. Where is he, by the way? He's supposed to be hosting half of this half the time.

Alisa Grace: I don't know.

Chris Grace: I don't know. He just never shows up. Very unfortunate. But you know what's really fun about marriage is what we talk about in here a lot, Lisa, and that is even in relationships, dating, what's fun is the ability to get to know each other. So you're getting to know each other, you're constantly there, and people say, "We're just connected. We love doing this. I wanted so bad to be connected."

People who are wanting to date or wanting to get married say, "I just want that because I want to be known. I want to be heard. I want to be understood, and I want to invest in somebody else. I want to get to know them." And I think that's what we find universal wherever you go. We've traveled in a lot of different countries, and people are getting connected and married in these countries because of the same desire, a God given, built in need to be known, and heard, and understood.

So Lisa, one of the cool things about this podcast is we talk about how fun it is, and everywhere we go, people love talking about relationships and marriage and what they do. Well, one question comes up, and it came up for me dating. I'm dating somebody in college, and it was an issue that I still think about today. I remember this situation like it was yesterday, and I know couples everywhere deal with this one issue. Here's what happened.

We are in a dorm room talking and studying together. So me and this girl had been dating probably about maybe a month, and we're studying.

Alisa Grace: I hate her.

Chris Grace: I hate her already. You already hate her. And you probably have heard this story. But she's probably studying for a class, and I'm sitting there studying for my class, whatever. You know what that's like in college. I just took a, I remember had a lot of paper that I crumbled up, I was writing stuff, she was on the other side of the room, and I threw it at her.

Alisa Grace: Uh-oh.

Chris Grace: I know. I remember she seemed a little bit snotty, sharp, something and just said, "Stop it." You know how you get interrupted, you're doing something really important. I should have stopped, but I didn't. And so about five minutes later, I took another piece of paper, wound it up, and threw it at her. So she went, "Chris, stop it. I mean it." But there was an edge to her voice, and it was anger.

And I thought, "Oh, whoa." It was weird for me. I don't know why. I guess when you're first dating, you show your good side. People talk about your front porch.

Alisa Grace: The front porch.

Chris Grace: But nobody gets to see what's really going on back there, especially when you're first dating. Now, of course I made them the fatal mistake of wading up a third piece of paper and throwing at her.

Alisa Grace: You did not.

Chris Grace: I did. She just really went, "I'm studying here. I don't appreciate that. Stop doing that." And I just sat there like, "Okay. Here's my question." It freaked me out. I'll be honest with you, it freaked me out so much that I just didn't expect to see it. It told me so much about her. What it told me was there is no way I want to be with somebody who snaps that quickly and gets that angry in a situation like that.

There are other ways I thought of handling it. But I didn't know enough. I remember just feeling that. Lisa, let's talk about people in relationships when they start to turn toward the emotion of anger, is it bad? Is it wrong? Was it appropriate for her to show me, "Hey, come on, buddy. Here's a boundary and you're crossing that. Throwing a piece of paper at me while I'm trying to study is not appropriate."

Is it okay to show anger? And if somebody shows anger in a dating relationship, is that a bad sign? And then Lisa, what about in marriage? Because people show anger toward each other and can struggle with this. If there was one area that I want to work on in our marriage, it's feeling like you get so angry. You're so mean in our relationship and so ticked off at me all of the time.

Alisa Grace: Oh yeah.

Chris Grace: There you go. Not really. Actually, it's probably the other way around. I have to work on being short sometimes, or if I'm not feeling well I'm like...

Alisa Grace: You did good.

Chris Grace: Let's talk about anger in general. What do you think?

Alisa Grace: Well, it's interesting because I think it can be one of the most significant barriers to a really healthy relationship, is learning how to effectively manage anger in a relationship, because conflict is always going to happen in any relationship whether you're married, whether you're dating, whether you're roommates, parents and kids, or your coworkers.

There's always going to be conflict. And what we say is that it's not necessarily the amount of conflict that is detrimental to a relationship, but how you manage it.

Chris Grace: We talked about that a lot in here.

Alisa Grace: So it's interesting because when you talk to people and you ask them... They asked a group of students, when we say the word anger, what comes to mind? And 98% of those being studied responded, they gave it a negative connotation. They did not see anger in any way as positive, just 2%. 98% see anger as negative. So let's talk about that. Is anger always a bad thing? First, yes or no?

Chris Grace: Well, it's not always a bad thing. No, it's not. Anger can actually be very healthy if it's done the right way, just like conflict can be, in my opinion. But now, there are caveats. So let's set boundaries first as we talk about this. And the boundary that we are not talking about here is anger that turns into any sort of physical, emotional, or verbal abuse.

Anger that's uncontrolled anger, that the other person just is explosive and it turns into things like physical, like we said, emotional or verbal abuse, is never appropriate. It is never good, and should always require the use of somebody to come alongside and help the person if that's their area of struggle. If they're explosive and they abuse other people, spouses, children, whatever it is, this unmanaged episodes...

Sometimes you get angry and it's a bad season, and it happens every once in a while. Okay, great. Abuse, on the other hand, when there's emotional abuse going on, or physical abuse, there's a one and done in which you need to go get help. So we are not talking about anger that leads to abuse. We'll set that boundary first of all.

Alisa Grace: We're talking about common everyday anger.

Chris Grace: Anger that you've been created with. Even Jesus experienced and showed clear signs of anger. When Peter would say... I forget.

Alisa Grace: When cleansed the temple and he turned the money changer table.

Chris Grace: Right. He became angry with them and with Peter, he said, "Get behind me, Satan." Because Peter's view and understanding of what was necessary at that moment, or what he thought was right to do, Jesus said, "Peter, get behind me, Satan. Don't do this." Okay. So there's righteous anger, God has righteous anger, and I think humans can experience anger at injustice. I could be angry when somebody gets mistreated.

Alisa Grace: It should be. It's a God given emotion. A response.

Chris Grace: I think all of us can say, if we're mistreated ourselves or if we feel like people don't hear us or minimize something, or falsely accuse us of something, it makes us angry. Now, what do we do in situations like that, especially when it starts to show up in a marriage or in a relationship? Throwing a paper at a girl's one thing. But when we start to snap, how do we deal with this? What's the right way of dealing with anger?

Alisa Grace: Well, I think one of the first things that we have to consider is that anger can be such a problem because it is such a misunderstood emotion. And what I mean by that is that we often label our strong emotions we're feeling during conflict as anger, when it's actually something else.

Chris Grace: Give us an example. So all of a sudden somebody snaps in a marriage, they're angry at their spouse, it feels like, "Oh, he's angry." And we stop there because we say, "Well, that's what's really going on." But Lisa, I think what you just said, there's another emotion maybe going on. Give us an example.

Alisa Grace: Well, we talk about the difference between a primary emotion and a secondary emotion. Why don't you talk about that for just a moment from a psychological perspective?

Chris Grace: So an example.

Alisa Grace: One that instantly came to mind, it didn't have to do with marriage, but it actually had to do with parenting. Our son, Drew, was probably about three years old and we were at the mall there to see a big dinosaur exhibition there in the middle of the mall. It was here in Southern California, there were a ton of people around us. I had our daughter in the stroller, and then Drew, whose three, was right beside me hanging onto the stroller.

And I told him, "Drew, hang on to the stroller. You hang on, and don't let go. You stay right here with mommy. There's a lot of people, and I don't want you to get lost." I think you were with us as well, and so we went to the main attraction and so many people, crowds that were there. And so I was looking up at the dinosaur while I was talking to Drew saying, "Wow, look. He's got big claws and big teeth." We're having a bit conversation.

And I was like, "Wow, what do you think, Drew?" And I looked down to talk to him, and he wasn't there. He wasn't there. And so I just started looking around me and I'm like, "Okay, where is he? Where is he in this sea of people?" And I don't see him. So I hollered at you a feet over and I said, "Chris, do you see Drew?" And you are like, "No, I don't see him." And so we're looking. I ask my friend, "Lorraine, do you see Drew?"

And we cannot see him anywhere. And now I'm starting to panic. And I just feel that kick in my gut that, "Oh my gosh." I could just imagine some stranger has our little boy by the hand, and is leading him out one of the multiple doors in these crowds, and is kidnapping him and running away. We were in a panic looking for him. And we broke off from the group, ran down one of the hallways of the mall there, and up walking toward us, probably about 25, 30 yards away, is this college girl holding our little boy's hand walking towards us.

We ran up to him, and she said, "I saw him wandering down here all by himself, and so I thought I should help him." And I just scooped him up and I grabbed him and my arms. And I was like, "Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh, thank you. Thank you." And then I look at him, and I just grabbed him by the shoulders, and I spoke at him in anger.

And I was like, "Drew, you never walk away from mommy like that. Never walk away. You could have been kidnapped. Oh my God." And then I'd hug him and hug him and kiss him and cry. But why did I respond in anger? Was I really angry?

Chris Grace: The answer was first of all, anger is that energy. You are labeling that energy, that strong physiological response. That's what anger does. It gets you ready to prepare...

Alisa Grace: That fight or flight.

Chris Grace: To go fight, to go find, to go do whatever you can, and you are just full of adrenaline like I was. What it was though, we would say that anger was happening in response to another emotion. Probably at least that anger was mostly fear. You were responding to that like I was. I remember going the opposite way in the mall and carrying our daughter with me and making sure she was safe.

So you were responding like I was to fear most likely as a primary emotion. Sometimes it's frustration. Sometimes it's that what if for maybe even pain. Pain or hurt can oftentimes make you feel angry. So first of all, I think that's what was going on with us, and at that moment when you were getting angry with Drew, you were labeling this high, strong, physiological, powerful emotions flowing through you of hurt and fear and being just...

Alisa Grace: Scared. Petrified.

Chris Grace: Petrified. And so it comes out in some ways as anger. Now, if you just left it at that, you might question yourself, "Why am I so angry? Why such an angry person? How can I get angry at this little kid who really..." And that's why you hugged him and repaired. But asking the question, why anger was probably because there was a lot of fear there.

Alisa Grace: Absolutely.

Chris Grace: And I think, Lisa, that's why people don't understand about anger. First of all, it's actually not a bad emotion. God created us this way. We have anger, it helps us to see things, it's appropriate to get angry at injustices, it's appropriate to get angry, I think, maybe as even a warning that something bad's going to happen.

Alisa Grace: It's good information. It's good information that can serve as a warning that tells us that maybe we might be in danger or we're at risk. But then what that secondary emotion is what we experience from that primary emotion of fear, of danger, of being hurt, of being frustrated. And so it manifests as anger, but its actually something much deeper.

Chris Grace: Here's the question then that you asked, and I think a lot of married couples need to ask and it's this. Okay, if anger is normal, if everybody, at least at some point, experiences anger, what makes it wrong? What are the danger signs? What are the red flags I should be looking out for? What's the issue? So I would say least one of them is going to be things like it's very misunderstood.

People, like what you were just saying, its like, "Wait, I don't understand this. I thought it was anger, but I think is it fear? What was it?" The other one I think is it's learning what it means. Anger I think is like a fire, people say. It's okay at a fireplace, but when it gets out of control, it can burn and singe. Suppose I threw a piece of paper at somebody, let's just keep using that example.

It's not bad. It's just that it seemed to come out of that little fire pit area. She could have said, "Hey, I don't want to get angry with you because..." And just gently said, "Please don't do that because it's distracting and whatever."

Alisa Grace: And I feel really worried about the exam I have tomorrow. I'm worried that I'm not prepared because I'm not doing well in this class and I might flunk. And my parents will be disappointed in me, they'll be angry at me, and then I might have to take this class all over again.

Chris Grace: Wouldn't that have been an amazing way to deal with and control, and then let the other person know.

Alisa Grace: And what would've been your response had she been able to go deeper and share that deeper emotion? How would you have responded?

Chris Grace: I would've thought, "Whoa, that's really cool." You could go deep there.

Alisa Grace: I would imagine. Just knowing you, you would've been very compassionate and responded very empathetically instead of being, "Whoa. Geez. Okay."

Chris Grace: That would actually have been awesome.

Alisa Grace: You would've been so compassionate. You would've been really entered into that with her.

Chris Grace: And impressed. I would've thought to myself, "Man, that's somebody who seems to be self-aware and able to share." And most people, unfortunately, can't do that. They just respond with anger. So at least it could be very dangerous if not dealt with in the right way. So there's a cost. You lose relationships. So what are you thinking?

Alisa Grace: There's typically three very common ways that destructive anger manifests or what it might look like. And so three different ways that unhealthy anger actually reacts might be as an avoider or a stuffer. We get angry or we feel fearful, we feel frustrated or whatever, and we just stuff it. We don't talk about it, we turn that anger inward, we just avoid conflict at any cost, we blame ourselves, we try to overcompensate, over control the circumstances because we feel so angry or so fearful or upset.

Chris Grace: And then the other way was going back to my story, the way real quickly, there's this strong, quick reaction.

Alisa Grace: It's like a bulldozer. That might feel hostile, you express it with more hostility, a little bit more combative, maybe even with rage, would be characteristic of that kind of bulldozer reaction, maybe sarcasm. Blatant sarcasm, or very subtle sarcasm. Maybe they tease you very cruelly though. That would be another one. And then maybe a third very common reaction is, and probably this one would be me, would be passive aggressive.

So that idea of we put things off, it comes across as forgetfulness, chronic lateness. It looks like that subtle sarcasm maybe. Sometimes we send mixed messages where you might say, "Hey Lisa, is something wrong?" And I say, "No, I'm fine. I'm absolutely fine." But I just shut that cabinet door maybe a little harder, or I sit something down on the counter a little harder.

Because what I'm afraid to say with my words, yes, I'm hurt, yes, I'm angry, yes, I'm upset, I'm trying to communicate with my actions, but without saying it with my words, which isn't the healthiest response.

Chris Grace: There's way more than three we know about. Here's even another one just to say that there can be things like you have people who cry. It's kind of like the avoider, but their emotional response comes out in they just all of a sudden become afraid.

Alisa Grace: Overwhelmed.

Chris Grace: Overwhelmed. They cry. You see some kids, in the reaction to anger, who just simply withdraw. They just pull away because they're trying to protect themselves. You talked about that with the avoider. And so you have all of these different responses, and we could go on. There's hundreds of different ways. What's your response to anger? That is, what's your response when you feel ticked? Some people just verbally explode.

They want to say it, and hurt, and screaming. Others are physical. And you mentioned the others, people that avoid or people that are more passive aggressive. So a lot of these, I think, Lisa, what happens is you have to do it in a way that is not unhealthy. So what's healthy? Any other signs that would give you pause? So listeners out there are going, "Okay. So you're saying is anger is okay, but unless it's uncontrolled."

That's one sign. That's what we're saying. If a person reacts, somebody cuts you off, I don't think it's wrong to, "Hey, watch out." Or honk. There's different kinds of honking. You can honk just one time like, "Honk." But you could tell people that are very angry by the length of that honk. That's very different. So that's what we're talking about.

How long do you honk for? How long do you scream? Is it okay to go, "Hey, stop it," and yell to somebody, maybe even somebody you love, or is that verbal abuse? When does anger get out? And here I think are some things that we need to watch for. Here's the signs I would say. One, if it is happening on a frequent, regular basis that the other person or you are responding in anger regularly throughout the day.

So one is frequency. How often it's occurring. Second, is this occurring with just the one person in your life? You're only getting angry every time somebody cuts you off, but it's not happening in your work or it's not happening at home or with the kids. That's one thing. But if it's not just frequent but it's also happening with lots of different people and lots of different situations, then you're like, "Okay, there's something wrong about this, because my primary, natural kind of reaction in all these situations is anger." So that's two.

Three, is it something that other people are starting to notice, call you out on, or it's in fact impacting your relationships? So now, frequency, is it happening in a wide variety of situations? And then is it something that's now on the radar of all the people near you, or is it just maybe one person that you're struggling with? That could be very different than my neighbor says this, my spouse is saying this, my children are afraid of me, at work every time...

One that maybe you need to think through is, do you get angry at people more at events? You see these people watching TV and they get so into a sporting event, and somehow they throw the remote control at the TV. Is it only happening with, let's say, inanimate objects, or is it starting to bleed over into you do the same thing with another. I think finally, are you starting to recognize some of the ill physical effects of what's going on?

That is you are realizing that other people are treating you different, or they're afraid of you, or your heart rate is always going up, or you're feeling out of control. So those would be, to me, signs that you would say, "Man, this is happening multiple times a day, it's happening in many of my relationships. I get mad at things, and people, driving, it drives me crazy."

Alisa Grace: And it's driving people around me away.

Chris Grace: And people are noticing and calling me out on that. And then now, I'm starting to notice that physically I am struggling with certain things like tight muscles. My jaw is always clenched and I'm always frustrated. Nobody does anything right. Those are the healthy signs.

Alisa Grace: High levels of stress, high levels of cortisol, high blood pressure, it might manifest in a lot of different physical ailments in that way.

Chris Grace: Those are signs that things are not going well. Now, how do you get back into control? What do you do if this is you or your spouse, and you know that you're struggling? At least I think you've already brought up one solution, and that is go deeper than just stopping with the word anger, and start to look at whether or not, and what exactly is going on in your heart. Is it fear? Is it pain?

I know sometimes if I'm in pain, and I've gone through a journey of pain recently with cancer, you just don't feel good. I know at times I feel frustrated because I still have effects of neuropathy or whatever it is. Point back to that and say, "Okay, hold on here. Maybe I need to take care of that thing first."

Alisa Grace: I think that's great. I think you would label that as self-awareness. The first step is just being aware of it and being aware of your own tendencies for how you react when you get angry. So you might think through these three questions. What sets me up for experiencing anger? What are the circumstances that are happening? Am I tired? Am I stressed at work? Is it with the kids? Is it with everybody? Some of those questions that you were saying.

Second question would be to ask yourself, when am I the most vulnerable? What's going on around me? When am I the most vulnerable? And then what are some of my nonverbal warning signs?

Chris Grace: Good. That would be like what? All of a sudden you feel your pulse racing, or you start to flush. It's almost like you're aware like, "Uh-oh, I'm starting to..." Is that what you mean? That non-verbal. So Alisa, are you saying in those three, I love that by the way, would you write it down? Would you journal this as you pause and reflect and think through it and this is an issue?

Just sometimes writing it down like, "I was really frustrated every time I drive down the freeway and somebody cuts me off or I'm trying to pull over because I'm late." Well, all of a sudden, by the way, that could be really insightful because maybe the answer is leave 20 minutes earlier and you won't be so frustrated, and you can drive slower.

Alisa Grace: I love that. So I think part of that self-awareness is not only being aware of my tendencies of when I get angry, what makes me angry? What are the circumstances? But another part of that self-awareness is just being able to admit it. Admit it, and accept responsibility for it. You want to be able to just name that and call it out in yourself, and being aware that, "Wow, I think I have an issue with this because my wife brings it up, my husband brings it up, my friends bring it up.

There are people that don't hang out with me. I need to realize and take ownership and responsibility for that." And then just even determine at the outset, who or what am I going to allow to have control over me? It's that idea of I may not always be able to control when I experience anger, but I can learn to control how I express it.

Chris Grace: That's good. So what you're saying is that being angry, okay. Well, join the human world. Being frustrated in life and maybe driven by fear is important. So also then, that reaction, like you said, can be controlled and managed so that you're more proactive, you're more thoughtful about it so you admit it. You start to look at maybe some of the deeper things that are really going on...

Alisa Grace: In your own heart.

Chris Grace: In your own heart, and that'll help you to be reactive. So Alisa, let's go back to the one that's in your own heart. You would say sometimes you need to have God search you like Psalm 139 says. Search me, try me, know my anxious thoughts, see if there's hurtful ways in me. So as we sit down with that Psalm 139 and look at the whole passage if you want, or even particularly verses 23 and 24, what would you say would be really helpful for people who are trying to respond in a healthy way, they want to overcome some of this? Admit it, recognize it, know your triggers.

Alisa Grace: I think the second step after just coming to that self-awareness would be self management. How do you manage that when you start feeling that and recognizing what your triggers are, so to speak? Well, I think first of all, absolutely primary foundation is you have to start with God, what you were saying, and praying through Psalm 139. Lord, point out any way that is offensive in me. What's going on in my heart?

And then a really valuable scripture that I use for my own self-awareness and self-management is Romans 8:6. And it says this, if the flesh controls your mind, it leads to death. And think of this, what we're talking about, the context. Right now, it might be the death of your relationships around you. So if the flesh controls your mind, it's going to lead to death. But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, it leads to life and peace.

And that's what we all long for in our relationships. Life. That life give and take to our souls, and our deep, heartfelt relationships and peace. And so I think part of that self-management is going to involve not only inviting the Holy Spirit into it and asking him to take control of your heart, your mind, your emotions, but then another part of that is just to remind yourself of the positive things that healthy anger can provide.

Chris Grace: That's really good. It reminds me of one time I was driving down the 91 freeway and my son was up front, one of the kids was up front. And a person was trying to get on the freeway and I was trying to get off. We were going to something. And the person behind me felt like I moved too quickly and didn't let them in on the freeway.

Actually, I was in the right. They were trying to merge on. And so they got behind me, but they were very angry. It was a lady and she started flipping me off. I knew that she was going to pull right up next to the car as I was starting to get off the freeway, and she did, and she just showed me the finger. Now, that self-management, this wasn't necessarily thought through, but I knew I was right.

I wasn't the frustrated one, and instead, Lisa, I did something because I knew... It must have been our son. He was going to look and ask me, and he did, what happened? What's going on? Why is that lady doing... But I looked over at her Alisa, and I remember thinking, "I can't respond. I have to manage it." But the only thing that I could think of doing was sticking my tongue out at her.

Alisa Grace: Oh my gosh. What did she do?

Chris Grace: She was so angry. It's like it poured gasoline on the fire because she's like, you could just see that little bubble head. "You stuck your tongue out at me?" She was so mad. Anyway, Drew was like, "Dad, why is that lady so angry?" And I was thinking, "Boy, I don't know, son. But I think I'm going to start doing this from now on." Somebody flips you off or all angry, maybe we just need to stick our tongue out. That's one response.

But that self-management, Lisa, it's just identifying what's going on, but then being able to manage it like, "Okay, I have a problem in the car. Here's what I need to do. I need to leave earlier. Every time I get in the car and I'm late for a meeting, I drive fast, people around me drive slow, and it makes me angry, and they cut me off." Versus you take a little bit extra time. Every time you're late to some appointment or meeting, I get frustrated.

So what do I do? Well, let's just leave a little earlier. That's self management, learning to control and manage this. And then, sometimes learning how to let things go. How do we learn to let go that which is important, and that which isn't? And that could be hard.

Alisa Grace: Well, that might be a great topic for our next podcast, and do that in part two.

Chris Grace: Yeah. How do we let go of our feelings? If we are learning to manage the difficult ones, how do we separate out the things that are just really, to be honest, it's not that important and I want to let it go, and you find something that helps you get there.

Alisa Grace: So why don't we do another podcast on this topic, because we could really go a full hour on this?

Chris Grace: All right. Let's do it.

Alisa Grace: And talk about what are some practical steps we can do to manage anger and conflict in our relationships?

Chris Grace: All right. Let's do it. Sounds good.

Alisa Grace: Okay. Thanks, Chris.

Chris Grace: Well, check us out to y'all at There's other podcasts besides this one. There's blogs, there's interviews with some cool people out there.

Alisa Grace: So many resources and free.

Chris Grace: And so many other resources, and free. Many of them. So check us out and we'll talk to you later.

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