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Calm Down!

A woman says:

My boyfriend has ADD and is extremely sensitive. How can I stop him from blowing up each time I offer the slightest criticism?

Michele Novotni answers:

Do certain situations always trigger his anger? If so, see if there's anything you can do differently.

If getting out of the house on time is a major source of conflict, for example, try giving him a 15-minute warning. And think carefully about the language you use when talking to him. Don't use blaming statements, such as "You are ___ " or "You did ___." Use "I" statements, like "I feel___."

Find a non-threatening time to talk with him about his anger. If he doesn't take medication (part of managing anger is improving impulse control), suggest that he give it a try. Ask what support you can provide, and come up with strategies together. If you feel you need help, consult a therapist.

Michele Novotni, Ph.D., is a psychologist and coach in private practice in Wayne, Pennsylvania.

This article is published by permission from ADDitude Magazine 2004. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited. Subscribe to ADDitude online or via toll-free phone 888-762-8475.

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