You know that feeling-the one that comes up when you and your partner are having a disagreement, and they just cant see your point. You feel like they aren’t even listening, because really, how can they be so stuck in their point of view?? You feel your body tense, you feel hot, and then all hell breaks loose…
While your anger might not happen in that exact progression it’s normal to experience anger towards your partner from time to time. If you’re going through a rough patch, an infidelity, or something that’s threatening the status of your relationship, anger might be more of a common theme in your home for the time being.
Anger can be described as a secondary emotion, meaning that there’s often hurt, sadness, or another emotion underneath anger. It’s not about the anger itself, but it’s about what you do with your anger that can lead to problems.
So what do you do when you start to feel like that teakettle about to blow its lid? Hopefully your anger doesn’t turn to rage, and cause even more issues. Here are some ways to deal with anger that will keep you from gong over the edge:
· Take a time-out. This is one of the most powerful techniques for dealing with anger. Take yourself out of the situation by letting your partner know that you are feeling too upset to have a productive conversation and that you’d like to resume when you are feeling less emotional. Then take a walk, listen to music, meditate, hit the gym, or start cleaning – all of which are excellent ways to alleviate aggression.
If you are going to take a time-out it’s important to convey to your partner that the issue you or they are needing to discuss is important, and give a time frame for when you can resume your discussion. Take enough time to cool off but don’t let so much time go by that the issues is dropped completely.
· If you find yourself getting angry with your partner more often than you’d like, relaxation techniques work wonders, and I recommend that people meditate for 10 minutes per day. Put on some headphones, close your eyes, sit upright, and focus on your breathing. I really like Pandora’s Calm Meditation Radio station and listen to it whenever I need to take a few relaxed breaths.
· Think about how harmful thought patterns might be affecting the way you interact with your partner. Are you holding onto harmful thoughts and exaggerations that are keeping you stuck in your anger? If so, work to replace those with truths and more positive thoughts.
· Problem-solve and understand where your anger is coming from. If you’re unhappy with aspects of your life, and generally grumpy or hostile due to those circumstances, fixing them directly is going to have the greatest impact on your overall happiness and lessen the chances of you getting into spats with your partner over mundane issues.
· Identify underlying resentment and discuss the real issues rather than creating arguments over things that don’t really matter, and aren’t necessarily the true issue.
· One of the most important things that I teach my clients is that we can’t control others, or their responses; the only thing that we can control is ourselves. When you take control over the way you respond and make a point to change, you’ll be happier.
If you feel as though you are getting angrier than you’d like and find it’s impacting your relationship, I’d love to hear from you. You can call me at (909) 226-6124, I’d be happy to talk with you about ways you can resolve your anger and make lasting improvements in your relationship.
I was recently interviewed on the KCAA morning show about anger and the media. While this is a bit of a shift in topic, the principles can be applied to your relationship, and the media may also be playing a role in causing some anger for you. You can check out that interview here.