6 Phases to Restoring Balance in a Relationship

In this excerpt from Never Get Angry AgainDavid Lieberman, Ph.D. reveals the six phases to bringing peace to your relationships and yourself. For starters? Humility and respect. 

David J. Lieberman, Ph.D.
5-minute read

Phase 4: Be Willing to Accept—and Even Offer—Consequences

It’s one thing to talk the talk, but things can fall apart if he thinks that we’re trying to escape unscathed. Let the other person know that you’re willing to face and accept all consequences of your actions. Putting ourselves in the hands of someone we have harmed and being answerable for our conduct and the aftermath will help to mitigate that person’s feelings of vulnerability and insecurity. Our initial act, which requires forgiveness, pulled the emotional rug right out from under him. Our behavior violated trust, which is the cornerstone of a relationship. By putting this person in charge of your fate and the entirety of the relationship, you help to reestablish a sense of security and give back, in a way, the power that you took.

Putting ourselves in the hands of someone we have harmed will help to mitigate that person’s feelings of vulnerability.

We can start by saying something like, “I know what I did was wrong. You have every right to be angry with me. I’m willing to accept the full repercussions of my actions.” We must begin to cede control with our words, or he may further castigate us as his way of setting things straight.

Phase 5: Make Things Right

If we profited in some way, then we must give back what doesn’t rightfully belong to us, in order to set things straight—whether it be money or other items. If we don’t have what we wrongfully took but we can replace it, we must make every effort to do so as soon as possible—and when feasible, we have to let the person know our plan and our progress. And remember: It’s essential to continue on this path even if he still isn’t talking to us.

Regardless of our relationship with the person, by doing what is right, despite not getting what we want (the relationship), we can prove that we are the kind of person he wants back in his life. It is important to stress here that whether or not there is something tangible to return, we are obligated to work on the character flaw or emotional issue that led to our hurtful actions. Only in this way can we authentically declare what we are now—or are working hard toward becoming: a different person who is no longer capable of such abhorrent conduct.

Phase 6: A Painless Game Plan

Let the person know that he has full power over how things proceed, that he is in control every step of the way. You suggest a game plan that moves slowly but surely toward reestablishing the relationship while ensuring that at any time, he can opt to continue, stop, or change course.

Copyright © 2018 by David Lieberman Ph.D. in Never Get Angry Again and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Press.

Never Get Angry Again: The Foolproof Way to Stay Calm and in Control in Any Conversation or Situation by David Lieberman, Ph.D, is now available wherever books and audiobooks are sold.