Anger is an emotion that plays an important role in letting us know when there is a problem or something has been done that has upset us. As with all emotions, anger is powerful and, when acted on immediately or not controlled, can lead to outbursts. Anger in relationships can be even more complicated and so we explore more about anger in the context of relationships and what you can do to help manage anger.
In a relationship, this can have adverse effects in the long run and can potentially destroy your relationship. This is why it’s necessary to learn how to identify what is making you feel angry and also how to manage your anger so that you can then sit down with your partner and sort through the issues you have in a healthy and constructive way.
What Can Trigger Anger In Relationships?
Anger is a normal emotion that we all experience from time to time. Sometimes, our partners do something that upsets us. Other times, they don’t consciously do anything, but their behaviours cause frustration. It’s important to realise which of your partner’s behaviours is triggering your anger so that you can sit down and deal with it together.
Some common triggers and behaviours that lead to anger in relationships include a partner who:
- Doesn’t prioritise the relationship
- Is inconsiderate
- Is always late
- Is financially irresponsible
- Can’t be serious
- Holds onto grudges and past mistakes
- Puts their career first
- Doesn’t share responsibilities
- Lacks the same values as you
Can Anger Destroy A Relationship?
As we’ve said before, it’s normal to experience anger. However, the issue comes with how that anger is expressed. Constantly attacking your partner when angry will likely lead to them feeling emotionally or physically unsafe, reluctant to be vulnerable, and less trusting. If you cannot learn to control your anger, it can lead to the destruction of your relationships.
Tips for Managing Anger in Relationships
Anger can be a powerful emotion which is why it’s important to learn how to manage it in a healthy way. Whether you are married, cohabiting or living separately, all couples struggle and go through difficult times. Sometimes these struggles can feel overwhelming. If you are in a long term partnership, “marriage counselling” or “relationship therapy” gives you the time and space to reflect on maladaptive patterns of behaviour that may have developed, that can impact on a couple’s ability to resolve issues and manage conflict. Each partner will have space to have their story heard and understood to support the couple in creating a new understanding of their relationship, which in turn will give rise to new possibilities.
Try to be aware of rising anger and Keep Calm
It can be difficult to ‘catch’ emotions sometimes, but try to keep calm if you start to notice you are getting irritated about a situation, try to relax yourself through breathing or counting down from ten.
Think before you speak
When you’re angry, one of the worst things you can do is speak before you think. When our words are fuelled by emotions, we often say hurtful things that we do not necessarily mean.
Learning to take a minute or two, as well as a few deep breaths, can do wonders as it will help you to clear your head and give you a minute to consider what you actually want to communicate to your partner.
Journal on the anger issues
Some people find the process of writing their feelings down to be therapeutic and a great way to release their anger. Journaling will also force you to take time before you react, preventing impulsive outbursts.
Sometimes, the best thing you can do for your anger is to take a step back and exercise. Doing this will help you get rid of pent-up energy and frustrations while releasing endorphins. Taking the time away from the situation that made you angry will also give you the space you need to think more clearly about how you’re feeling.
Mindfulness is an important skill not only for managing anger, but in other spheres of our lives too. By practising mindfulness, such as through meditation, you will be able to gain a new perspective of the situation. This can help you put aside your emotions and look at things more objectively, which will prevent the anger from controlling you.
Seek Couples Counselling to work through anger issues
Having a place and time to talk through some of the issues with the guidance of a couples counsellor can give a new insight into the root cause of anger in the relationship, it can diffuse some of this through understanding and can form an even stronger bond through the process.