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Why Anger Is the New Sex

Switch off the Housewives they're making you crazy. Joanne Chen on how to keep your temper in an angry age.

AND IF YOU DO GET ANGRY ...

Women are conditioned not to express anger: We say we're "annoyed" or "depressed," says Molitor, who's seen a recent rise in female clients grappling with the emotion. If that's you, run through the following checklist:

  • Assess the anger. Do you feel unappreciated, disrespected, or wronged? Ask yourself if the reaction is justified - is it possible that the guy who cut in line just didn't see you? If the answer is no, then ...
  • Calmly express dissatisfaction. Start with how you feel. For example, to a chronically tardy friend, try "Your lateness makes me feel as if you don't respect me," not "You suck because you're always late."
  • Show empathy. If a cashier is rude, try saying, "I'm sorry I'm so slow. You must be having a bad day." The goal is to address the problem without assigning blame.
  • Listen. If you propose an idea and a colleague puts it down, approach her afterward. Say, "I noticed you had a strong reaction to my comment. That gave me a strong reaction. I want to do a good job. Can we discuss this?" Hear her out.
  • Strive for compromise. By finding common ground, you'll feel virtuous, not bitter, while also sticking up for yourself. Opening the lines of communication makes everyone feel better about things.
  • Exit laughing. If all else fails, try laughter - the more heated the situation, the likelier it is there's something ridiculous to laugh about. It's just a matter of finding it.

Originally published September 21, 2010

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