If I can just say that, and keep my mouth shut regarding how wrong she was, she’ll become less angry. This is true nearly all of the time, as long as nothing is added (more on that shortly).That’s tough to do when it’s me that she’s upset with. So much so, that you know who trains in the art of validation on a regular basis? Law Enforcement routinely trains officers in the art of validation, because it is the most effective way to calm someone down.When you are both calmly discussing something, the word “but” is fine…..simply the word that marks the shift between validation and your own 2 cents.If you are in a fight….the word “but”, and everything after it.Now, they don’t call it that…..there are far more masculine terms used for this concept (my favorite is “verbal Judo”).The principle is the same….you can find some aspect of someone’s anger / frustration / rage that you can verbally identify with, the other person tends to calm down, become less defensive, and trust that you are trying to help.If my wife is trying to get a hold of me when I am in a meeting, and I don’t respond to any of her calls or texts, she may become really frustrated, not realizing that I am unavailable.
If you haven’t had a tremendous amount of conflict in recent months, it’s fairly easy to work on.I find something slightly amusing about hostage negotiators and couples in marital therapy being trained in the same techniques, but it works.