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Learn what your anger is telling you and how it can help—not hurt—your marriage

I asked Kristen what she was feeling after she and her partner, Mick, had described an event that took place over the weekend where Mick had been giving another woman some extra attention. “I am literally just angry. Furious. I’m so mad. I just want to rage.”


I pressed them a bit further: “What did it look like over the weekend, Kristen? How did you respond?”

“When we got home I let him know I was angry. How does he think it’s okay to do that? If he’s willing to flirt with someone right in front of me what the hell is he doing when I’m not around? Maybe he should just be with her if she's that much more charming.”

“But what did your anger look like?”

“I was yelling at him and wanted to make sure that he would never do something like that to me again.”

“And what were you doing, Mick?”

“Well at first I was trying to calm her down. It really wasn’t a big deal. It’s good for my work if people like me. I’m just a crowd pleaser, you know? But when we got home I knew Kristen was mad. She just kept going and going and finally, I just wanted to get away from it all. It’s really crazy when she screams and rages the way that she does. I go into the bedroom and she follows me. I try to lock myself in the bathroom and she just keeps banging on the door saying the nastiest things to me. So I finally just leave the apartment to get some air.”

I see versions of this from time to time in my office. Many of us struggle with knowing what to do with our anger. We either see red and then release it without any pause, or we shame ourselves out of expressing it at all.

Men and women alike struggle with anger. Men often view their anger as the only emotion safe to express without being labeled as less of a man or weaker than others, while women combat being labeled as “crazy” or “unladylike” at the first sight of anger surfacing.

So what are we to do?

First, we have to accept that anger is healthy and normal. Anger is information. It lets us know that something isn’t right and it often tries to step in to protect us from whatever it is that feels off. Anger is healthy. Aggression, vindictiveness, manipulation and abuse are not. They’re never acceptable…not ever.

I believe anger requires both pause and release.

We ought to understand what our anger is telling us. Before we are angry we are ALWAYS something else. Think of anger as a secondary emotion. Before we feel angry we might feel abandoned, embarrassed or betrayed, but because we tend to go from zero to 100 so quickly it’s hard for us to actually connect to our pain.

Practicing the PAUSE gives us the space between stimulus and response to connect to the hurt and to work on expressing it without going on the attack.

If Kristen would have paused and connected to her hurt she may have been able to explain to Mick that his behavior left her feeling embarrassed and dishonored. She may have even been able to connect it to never feeing good enough (in comparison) to her wound around growing up and always competing (and coming in second) to her younger sister. And if Mick had practiced the pause, he may have been able to connect to her hurt instead of minimizing and shrinking it.

Without the pause, Kristen, like so many of us, goes on the attack and only points out what her partner has done wrong. Her anger takes over to try to set the boundaries and demand that Mick NEVER do anything like that to her again. Although her anger is trying to keep her safe, her anger turns nasty and combative which never makes the conflict become connective. Kristen must learn how to translate her anger and express it to her partner effectively.

Kristen does need to pause, but she also needs to release. And the truth is, the release isn't always packaged up nicely in a calm and rational bow. Sometimes anger needs to be…well, angry. Sometimes we need to move our anger out physically as well. Pausing and translating our anger isn’t always enough and when we only encourage people to pause and slow down, we send the message that the physical release isn’t important.

It is…and it’s not crazy.

I often tell clients to take a boxing class, walk by the ocean and scream into the waves, go to a wrecking club and pay to break things. Or blast music in their home and sing as loudly as possible. We must take care of ourselves physically as we do emotionally.

So make sure to listen to your body and give it the release it’s looking for, while also holding yourself accountable to understand, translate and express your anger effectively.

I would encourage you to start to change the narrative around conflict. It’s hard because conflict and anger are generally something we code as bad, negative and scary, but when you can start to consider conflict as a gateway to very deep connection, closeness and intimacy, you give your relationship an opportunity for new depths.

Honing these skills is not only important for the relationship, but just in case you need a little more motivation, teaching your children that conflict can be safe, healing and informative is a beautiful message for them to receive. Gift them the resources to take on difficult situations, to address conflicts in their lives that need to be addressed, and to know how to confidently and effectively communicate their boundaries.

This work is endless, but it’s beautiful.

Originally posted on Mindful Marriage & Family Therapy.

This 'mama' necklace is a bestseller for a powerful reason

There's a lot going on in the world right now, but one thing that's certain? You're still mama.

There's a lot going on in the world right now, but one thing that's certain? You're still mama. No matter what is going on at work, what decision you make about heading back to school, or how you're caring for your family right now, we know you're the best mama for your family.

So in case you need a little reminder of just how incredible you are, we love this sweet necklace from Tiny Tags. And other mamas do, too, because it's been one of our top sellers for weeks.

Whether you're coveting it for yourself or want to gift it to your favorite mama, it's one of those gifts that'll keep on giving years later. It's dainty enough to easily layer with just about anything you have in your jewelry collection, but is just as beautiful as a standalone piece to wear daily. And in these tough seasons, it's honestly a gentle, much-needed reminder that you were made for this. You can do hard things. You are doing the best you can even when it feels like you can't make one more decision.

Tiny Tags script 'mama' necklace

tiny tags mama necklace

The charm is 1/2" long and the chain is 16", falling just above most mama's collarbones. All Tiny Tags personalized jewelry is laser engraved by highly skilled artisans to make the most elegant pieces.

$105

And, don't worry, it's totally low-maintenance. Simply polish with a polishing cloth every now and then for extra shine. Now to decide: gold or silver?

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12 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

Without camps and back-to-school plans still TBD, the cries of "I'm bored!" seem to be ringing louder than ever this summer. And if you're anything like me, by August, I'm fresh out of boxes to check on my "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys.

With that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite wooden toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$189

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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It's a moment that changes a family, a mother and the world. The moment a new baby enters the world everything changes. The occasion is momentous, and more and more often photographers are embedded in mothers' birth teams, ready to preserve a family's history as it happens.

And in the age of the internet, these photos don't always stay with the family. Photographers and parents are choosing to share incredible birth images that are changing the way others see birth.

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