Learning how to manage anger in a relationship can be challenging, but the rewards are well worth it. Learn where anger comes from and what you and your partner can do in response to the other’s anger.
Many of us get mad when our feelings get hurt. This is a very common human feature. A lot of us are wired to express our pain by getting upset, and that’s what we do.
But when we are in a relationship, the anger and the upset can be a problem for our mate. They might take it personally or they might try and fix us, but whatever they try to do to help us usually doesn’t work.
How to Manage Anger in a Relationship Begins with Taking Responsibility for Your Feelings
In fact, nothing they can do will fix our mad. Our mad really belongs to the ones having the upset. Only it takes a lot of understanding of self to work out how to manage anger and really grow out of the habit of being hurt and then throwing up our anger at someone else.
I know it took me decades to first understand myself and how I was wired and then to learn different ways of handling my upset. Now instead of getting mad I will try and understand what part of me got hurt.
And then I will work on helping myself heal. That’s right, I don’t depend on my partner to do something to help me feel better, because that system of handing over your balance to another person just does not work.
Managing Anger Requires Examining the Underlying Hurt
So, while you are working on helping yourself heal, I have some ideas for your mate to help you as well. If you, like me are partnered with someone who does not show anger then these actions could really help you.
If you are the mate of someone who is angry the first thing I want to tell you—and this will be hard for you to understand—is that the person who is angry with you is feeling something in addition to their anger.
Anger is a secondary emotion. The first feeling they probably feel is a disconnection to you, or a rejection by you, or a disappointment from you. These are the true feelings of the event, but those feelings are so tough to feel, getting angry eases the feeling.
If I get angry, then I am angry. I am no longer feeling those other difficult feelings and at least I am letting you know I am upset. Of course, there is no way you can help me with my feelings because I am only showing you the anger, not the true difficulty.
To Manage Anger, Find and Address Your Loved One’s Underlying Suffering
And that is what I want to leave you with if you are the mate. Learn your partner’s difficulty. Do they feel dismissed, rejected, ignored, disconnected, unloved? And if you have the wherewithal to help them with these difficult feelings you might be able to understand that beneath the anger THEY ARE REALLY SUFFERING.
And if you love your mate, I know you do not want to see them suffer. So, try not to take the anger personally, tell yourself this is very old wiring. Then tell yourself I love my partner and they are hurting.
I love my partner and they are hurting. And I know you know what to do when your partner is hurting, because that skill of showing compassion and empathy comes naturally.
Learn How to Manage Anger in a Relationship, Beginning with Improving Your Communication!
Read a Book About Relationships
Learn ways in which you can change your communication to help keep peace and manage anger in your relationship, by reading Linda’s book Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It might just help you communicate more softly, feel more heard, more loved, more secure, helping curb the hurts that lead to anger in your relationship. Give it a read.
Get Couples Counseling
Come in for couples counseling. Couples counseling can help you and your loved one get the most out of your relationship. It'll equip you with coping strategies and tools for communication that can help you argue less and love more.