Feeling love and emotional harmony with your partner is a pleasant experience. Feeling angry is not!
However, anger is a natural part of life and, therefore, inevitable, especially when two people share life closely. One of the biggest challenges an individual faces in any relationship is dealing with one’s anger towards their partner and their partner’s anger towards them.
The definition and intensity of anger varies from person to person. It’s an emotion that is largely misunderstood. Anger is not a bad emotion at all, but one should always know where it comes from and why.
Primarily, anger has two origins – hurt and unmet expectations. In every situation, the core issue revolves around either of the two, producing anger in turn.
Hurt, for one, can stem from a lot of instances, such as a partner not giving you time, someone not listening to you or contradicting unnecessarily, ignoring or betraying. Disrespect, threat, abuse, violence and mistreatment are a few other factors that can lead to hurt and result in us feeling angry. Hence, anger is a secondary emotion and reaction to the negative emotions that we feel.
Anger towards your partner
It’s very important to understand that it’s normal to be angry but one should be aware of what’s causing this distress rather than making sure the other person also feels equally horrible. Then ideally you are not proposing the change that you really want them to make. It might make things even, but it doesn’t solve a concern.
In situations when you are angry on your partner, ask yourself the following questions:
- What is it that is hurting me?
- Why am I feeling angry and is there any other emotion attached to it?
- Is it my partner’s fault entirely or do I have a role to play in it?
These questions will help you develop a filter which is required to address your anger. There are often many triggering emotions and situations that might not feel relevant but still end up making us angry.
Certain tips to handle your anger are:
– Identify how you feel and convey it properly.
– Process your hurt and convey your message and expectations.
– Take pauses or breaks if you think you are going in the wrong direction. Tell your partner that you will talk to them in 10-15 minutes.
– Use “I” statements rather than “You”, such as “I feel hurt and disappointed” rather than “You disappoint me every time”. This reflects your emotions and avoids a blame game. It will help them understand where to work, as no one likes being called wrong every time.
– Practice active listening. Sometimes we tend to do selective listening. And due to misunderstandings, we fight and misinterpret their actual sense. Listening actively helps you understand your partner’s perspective and gives you more clarity.
Partner is angry towards you:
Many-a-times, we say that we are unable to sort things in our relationship because the partner has anger issues. It is important to understand here that anger can be both situational as well as hereditary. The temperament of your partner can be a learned concept and behaviour that takes time to shape. One must note that anger may or may not be a part of one’s personality but it, most certainly, impacts the functioning in a relationship. It’s a two-way thing: you also are accountable to how you make your partner feel and take the ownership of it.
Here’s what you can do when your partner is angry at you:
- Practice active listening as shared above.
- Try compartmentalization in the relationship. Separating your life into independent sectors may pave the way to protect many elements of it. For example, when you choose to not discuss personal life at work, you block off or compartmentalize that element of your life at work. This allows you to carry on without facing the anxieties or challenges while you’re in that setting or mindset.
- Try to address their hurt and expectations, and then put forth your point so that they have the capacity to absorb it without blaming you for defending yourself.
- Establish boundaries and assert the right to feel respected. An example of assertion could be, “I feel uncomfortable when you talk to me in that tone. I would appreciate it if you could express your anger or hurt in a non-demeaning manner”.
- Try to empathise and give your best to acknowledge their emotions. Then work together on finding middle grounds – brainstorm ideas that solve problems for the two of you and make sure both of you get a fair chance to express individual viewpoints.
- Instead of lashing out at your partner, channel your frustration into exercises or funnel the feelings through music, art or sports.
If your relationship is in trouble then a professional counselor can help you in learning how to build a strong relationship. Reach BetterLYF for relationship counselling.
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