Never Go To Bed Angry Rule Could Cure Your Insomnia
Over many years as a couples therapist I have observed that when a couple is angry at each other, one partner often deals with it by avoidance and falls dead asleep while the other can’t fall asleep and glares at their partner sometimes feeling the urge to smack ’em. And all this despite the fact that most people have been told never go to bed angry by their wise parents or grandparents.
How can you prevent this from happening to you if this is becoming a frequent occurrence?
Often before you get to feeling angry, you start out feeling frustrated. Frustration is a rather unstable emotion and often slides into one direction or another. Either you begin to feel like a victim or feel self-righteous, both of which can lead to your becoming angry. Once that happens you’re in a reactive mindset and it’s unlikely that a conversation at that point will go anywhere but downhill.
Use This Technique And Never Go to Bed Angry Again
So next time that happens to you, while you are in the frustration phase, do the following to make sure you never go to bed angry ever again:
To counteract feeling like a victim, pause and think of three things you are deeply grateful to your partner about, You’ll find that you can’t be grateful and feel like a victim at the same time. For me, that would be my wife attending to the thankless details of our home that would drive me nuts, being there for my kids and me and grounding me when my mildly ADHD/bipolar traits start me rushing down the runway.
To counteract feeling self-righteous and as if the other person is utterly clueless, pause and think of three things that make you a piece of work to live with. You’ll find that you can’t feel earnest humility and be self-righteous at the same time. For me, that would mean my wife tolerating my mildly ADHD/bipolar traits, my disorganization and the Don Quixote in me.
Addendum: After I discovered these breakthroughs a couple years ago, I shared them with my wife. She paused for a moment and said: “I’ve been using that approach with you for years.”
If you are unable or unwilling to apply this approach, the problem may not be with the approach, but with you being unforgiving. However, that’s a topic for another blog.