Raging Conversations - What They Are
and How to Stop Them

by Catherine Pratt

Do you ever find yourself imagining having an angry exchange with someone or do you re-play a negative event over and over in your mind?
I call these “raging conversations” because we tend to make ourselves angrier and angrier the more we think about them. We also seem to get caught up in thinking about it more and more, unable to think about anything else. We get caught in a “loop” or a “rut” constantly thinking about it. When we get into these conversations, we’re also out of synch with the world. We’re sending out negative energy or vibes if you will. This is what people pick up on and they’re going to be reacting to your body language. People are instantly on the defensive before you’ve even said one word. It makes life harder for no reason. Life is much easier if we can be in the “flow” when everything just seems to run smoothly along and our way. We just need to figure out how to get into the “flow” more often and part of this is stopping these raging conversations.

Raging conversations can be a good way to just vent. We all like to do it at one time or another. The problem is when we just can’t let it go. Also, raging conversations are draining. Ever notice on days that you have a raging conversation that it is just not a good day. Everything seems to go wrong and you just feel horrible. This in itself is a good reason to be aware of them and put a stop to them. Another reason to gain control over them is that by having these raging conversations you are setting up interactions with other people to go badly when they could just as easily go well.

Raging conversations can also be especially destructive if the rage concerns a conversation that hasn’t even happened yet. This could be a conversation with a co-worker, a friend, a loved one. You imagine what you will say and then what they will say and you find yourself getting madder and madder. The problem with doing this is you’re imagining something that may not even happen. Also, when you do come face to face with the person, your body expression will be one of tenseness as you’ve already imagined how the conversation will go. Your muscles will be clenched as you’re expecting the situation to go badly, and you probably won’t be smiling. The other person is going to pick up on this (consciously or unconsciously) and will instantly be on the defensive and probably won’t be willing to work with you. The situation is already not looking good.

Replaying a conversation over and over is a waste of energy. It’s over. You can’t change what happened yet we insist on replaying the event over and over. Also, we get so caught up in this we aren’t paying attention to the real world around us. We tend to stub our toe or cut ourselves when peeling the potatoes because we’re not paying attention to our surroundings. We are more caught up in our rage and are probably being more aggressive with our actions (those potatoes would be getting their skins ripped off as you replay that conversation). Also, you are now more in tune to see “negative” situations. For example, you’re replaying an event in your head that you had with the checkout person at the grocery store. You’re just getting madder and madder and thinking of all the things you should have said. Suddenly, a car in front of you cuts you off. Normally, you would probably be annoyed but now when it happens, you’re absolutely furious. You react far more than you would normally. Could be dangerous in this situation. You also start to think that the entire world is out to get you or that everything sucks right now. Ever notice that things come in three’s? This is part of it. You have something negative happen, so you expect more negative things to happen. As the saying goes, “What you see depends on what you’re looking for”. If you’re thinking negative thoughts, you'll only see negative events.

Whenever you find yourself in one of these rages, you need to consciously be aware that you need to get onto a different thought track. You could try telling yourself “enough” or “stop it”. Then think about something you have pleasant thoughts about: your loved one, your dog, a nice vacation. Anything to get you off the negative track. Your mind will probably try to get you back on the negative thought pattern but just keep stopping the thought and think of something else. This gets easier with practice. Make sure your new thought is something pleasant. Don’t start thinking about some other negative event. We need to get back into a positive frame of mind. You can also check out some other tips on how to get out of the negative conversation rut.

I can hear you saying, “Yeah, but you didn’t hear what so and so said to me”. It doesn’t matter. It’s a waste of your time and your energy to be re-playing it over and over. It gives the other person more power over you as well. They’ve probably long forgotten about it yet you continue to hang onto it like a puppy to a bone. You’re hurting yourself and you’re making things more difficult than they need to be. Whatever it was, is it really worth making your current life worse? Move on. Besides, it just feels better being in a good mood rather than a bad mood and we are the only ones who have control of our moods. No one else has that power. Take control of your thoughts and stop the conversation.

"Forgive all who have offended you,
not for them, but for yourself."
Harriet Nelson

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