Tips for Managing Anger in Your Relationship

I’ve been talking about anger with a lot of clients lately and I got to thinking, there should be a blog post about this!  This post is for you if you experience anger on a very regular basis and aren’t sure what to do with it, if it’s negatively impacting your relationship – whether directed at your partner or directed at you by your partner.  

Whether we realize it or not, anger is NEVER the only emotion we experience at any given point in time.  It tends to take over – which I’m sure you’ve seen time and time again in arguments – because it is a. the easiest thing to show, b. the ‘loudest’, c. the least vulnerable.  These reasons and more make anger an easy emotion to unleash. Anger is tricky like that though – because it’s SO readily available, and easy to show, and such a “go-to” emotion, but at the very same time it can create so many more problems than you had to begin with.

You are 100% entitled to feel anger!  It’s how you manage it, come down from it, and communicate despite it that makes the most difference in a relationship.  Here are 3 steps to dealing with anger more productively, so you can avoid more damage and repair things before they get out of hand!

  1. COOL DOWN.  When you notice that anger is bubbling up inside you, communicate with your partner that you need to take a time out.  My clients and I chuckle over this – “time-out” is sort of a kindergarten word. But the truth is, adults need them all the time.  The reaction going on in your brain and body when you’re that heated is not going to allow you to think straight or talk well. So, before you do anything, you have to come down from it.  Go on a walk, go in a different room, take deep breaths, get some distance from the situation however you need to. Every human being has the right to do this.
  2. Identify the other emotions you are feeling.  It’s usually not productive for healing to go on and on about how mad, irritated, angry, or “in the red” you are.  What can really help with closeness and repair is exploring what else is under that. Are you sad, lonely, afraid? These will speak volumes to your partner and increase your chances of them understanding you.
  3. Learn how to communicate those other emotions.  When you’re cooled down, and you’ve realized what else is going on that triggered you, tell your partner about your experience.  Your feelings are valid; but we do such a disservice in our relationship when we don’t express the ones that make us vulnerable. Isn’t it easier to listen and understand if he/she is explaining how afraid they were that you might leave them, vs. screaming at you?

Go ahead, give it a try :).  If your relationship could benefit from practicing tools like this, set up an appointment with Revive today!  We’re happy to help you create a plan that can set your relationship on a better path.