Feeling angry is normal since anyone can feel like snapping from time to time. It’s normal to have anger in relationships since we may feel at a loss or defensive when someone has an angry outburst towards us. It’s advisable to resolve anger issues because otherwise, it can lead to the most common relationship problems.
However, you may find that you cannot always control your temper, especially when involving someone close to you. After all, anger is one letter away from danger. An uncontrolled temper may be detrimental to yourself or your loved ones.
Moreover, it’s essential to remember that anger and abuse are distinct, and the latter is never ok. Learning to manage it may save your bond with someone you genuinely care about.
How anger can ruin relationships
It is true that if we express our grievances, we have the potential to work it out and come to a compromise with our partner via a fruitful discussion. Building understanding between us helps us feel accomplished and one step closer to a stronger relationship.
However, it’s more important to note that anger can be damaging if not managed well. This is because if we do not control our temper, it may lead to the following consequences:
1. Aggression towards each other
When conflict occurs, or our partner hurts us, we may feel compelled to dish it out to them.
One of the ways our anger can show itself without our knowledge is through aggression. There are four different types of aggression.
Verbal: Involves intimidation, possibly by yelling, screaming, swearing, name-calling, and making threats.
Physical: Involves physically hurting (e.g. stabbing, punching, kicking) or damaging property.
Relational: A more indirect aggression, this involves a form of bullying where harm is caused by damaging or sabotaging our partner’s relationships with family and friends or social status within a group.
Passive: This aggression is more subtle, often expressed through behaviours like guilt-tripping or using a bitter tone to respond to our partner’s requests.
Any of the above will likely increase tension between partners and lead to a hostile environment. Moreover, it can also damage our relationships.
2. Long-term resentment
We may repress our feelings when we wish to maintain peace in a relationship or prevent further agitating our partners. Moreover, lacking communication may result in unfulfilled needs or expectations.
While we can control intense emotions, it’s only temporary. Trying to hold your build-up resentment back is like trying to contain boiling water in a pot, which can eventually spill out. Sometimes, a tiny thing can be the last straw, threatening the relationship’s longevity.
Dealing with anger
It’s easy to lose our composure or do something that may hurt our partner when we act on our emotions. However, it’s similar to squeezing toothpaste- by the time you calm down and regret your actions, it’s too late to take them back. That is why it’s essential to manage our anger before we try to compromise with our partners.
If you are unsure how to manage your anger or realise that your current methods are not working, here are some strategies to control your temper.
1. Acknowledge it
Remember that anger is a normal emotion that comes from time to time when interacting with others, especially if the other party is getting on your nerves.
Even if that party is your partner, know that your feelings a valid and you do not need to run away from them.
2. Give yourself space to process your anger
Whenever we are furious, especially at someone else, it may be detrimental to communicate it immediately. We could be blinded with anger, which may lead to snap judgements, such as, “You don’t understand how I feel” or “You always dismiss my feelings”, even if it has never happened before.
Most of the time, situations are more complex and grey than black and white. We will need time to calm down and recognise alternative scenarios and solutions. When composing yourself, remember to take care of yourself by allowing time away from your partner.
Some techniques you can try include:
Breathing techniques: Take deep breaths and focus on each of them. Allow yourself to exhale longer than you inhale.
Exercising: This can range from a brisk walk to more intense activities like cardio exercises.
Express anger safely: This can include tearing paper, yelling into a pillow, squeezing a stress ball, or hitting a punching bag.
Distractions: You can engage in a hobby to take your mind off, such as playing games, reading, drawing, or browsing social media.
Regardless of your outlet, solitude can help you process your emotions and brainstorm how to communicate your feelings to your partner in the best way. Since anger is usually secondary, you may want to reflect on whether there are other underlying emotions (e.g. fear or sadness).
Look at the situation with the idea of working on the relationship since this may prevent you from obsessing over your partner’s faults.
3. Know your triggers
Analyse the situations that have provoked your anger. When identifying them, look for what factors they have in common so that you can avoid them. For instance, you may consistently argue with your partner about disregarding your instructions to clean up after themselves.
Rather than lose your temper immediately, you may want to show why cleaning up is essential. This allows your partner to understand your viewpoint and gradually make adjustments.
Reminder: your partner’s perspective matters
Your partner’s perspective on the situation is also essential. It’s natural to defend yourself when a confrontation occurs. However, do remember that it’s both of you versus the problem. You are not each other’s opponent. By reminding yourself of this, this can help you to stay calm and not to take their words personally.
Allow your partner to share their thoughts and feelings since they need your empathy as much as you need theirs. Take turns to speak your point of view and discuss how both of you can handle future situations to avoid similar arguments. If one party is wrong, a sincere apology should be given. Otherwise, apologise to each other.
Not acknowledging your feelings and trying to suppress them to make your partner happy will not help in the long run. If you struggle to control your anger, you may want to consider talking to a therapist, going through couples’ therapy, or joining a group therapy session in Singapore.
In any case, with professional help, there is a mediator to view the situation objectively and assist in planning your next move towards working on the relationship. In most cases, they can suggest a compromise that will satisfy both parties.
Should you need a listening ear or someone to act as a mediator, our therapists at A Space Between are here to lend a compassionate hand. Our uniquely-designed therapy rooms help stimulate calm in our patients, so that they are more open to verbalising and bringing up their issues.
For more details, visit our website at https://www.aspacebetween.com.sg/.
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