many couples, anger only arises when there's an argument. If you
need to deal with that sort of situation, take a look at the article
on Ways to make peace.
people come from family backgrounds where anger was openly and
regularly shown and have learned to express anger whenever life
might feel they're going through a particularly stressful time
and anger may be a temporary response to external difficulties.
In these circumstances, a partner's anger might be generalised
and not aimed at anyone in particular.
your partner's anger always seems to be directed at you and you
dont know why, then some possibilities are suggested in
Letting go of resentments.
If there's violence
Violence or threats of violence are never all right in a relationship.
If arguments are always aggressive, or you avoid conflict because
you're scared of things getting out of control, then you should
seek help at once.
Living with anger
Whatever the reason for it, living with your partner's anger
can be confusing, frustrating, upsetting and exhausting.
anger in a relationship is shown in two main ways:
* Your partner seems to be permanently annoyed and simmers quietly
* Your partner erupts and explodes with anger at the slightest
However your partner expresses their anger, the following
tips will help you to minimise its destructive effect on you and
Tips for simmering anger
The sooner you can notice that something is wrong and start a
conversation the better. Leaving someone who is obviously annoyed
to chew it over alone is likely to make things worse.
Encourage honest talking and even criticism.
Keep calm. Anger fuels anger, so if you want your partner
to calm down then you need to stay calm yourself.
your partner's feelings. Openly saying "I can see youre
angry" and, if appropriate, "I understand what you're
angry about" will prevent your partner from believing they
have to prove how they feel.
youre listening. People often continue to be angry because
they dont think they're being listened to or taken seriously.
Prevent this by giving eye contact, nodding and repeating significant
words and summarising what's been said. (More tips at Ways to
your feelings and fears. If you're feeling angry too, then say
so. If you're feeling nervous or upset by their anger, then share
that also. (More tips at Ways to make peace and Productive arguing.)
conciliatory. Say something to show your partner you want to make
peace. For example you could apologise if appropriate or acknowledge
your part in the problem. Or you could show regret that something
has happened, even if it was out of your control, or offer a compromise.
Tips for angry outbursts
Remember your partner is not being rational. When anger boils
over there's no point trying to use reason. Your goal must be
to keep your cool and calm down the situation - not resolve the
issue. When the anger has passed you can arrange a time to sit
down together and talk. As well as addressing the particular issue,
make sure you tell your partner how you felt about their outburst
and say this is something you want to avoid in the future.
the 'broken record' technique. Often an angry person will
jump from one point or criticism to another without taking time
to listen to what you're saying. This technique can help you keep
your focus and stay calm. Simply repeat, calmly but assertively,
the point you're trying to make. You can do this at the same time
as all the tips above. For example, you can say, "I can see
you're angry, but I still have to go out at 7.30," or "I'm
sorry my arrangement is inconvenient, but I still have to go out
fogging. This technique can be very helpful to fend off unreasonable
criticism by taking the wind out of your partner's sails. Rather
than arguing with your partner and possibly escalating the anger,
you choose to agree to some extent. For example, a comment such
as "You're always going out, you never think about me,"
could be met with "Perhaps I've been going out more than
usual recently." Or "You're always so selfish - what
if I'd wanted to go out tonight, you treat me like a babysitter,"
could be met with "Sometimes I do expect you to look after
the children a lot."
negative assertion. When the criticism is genuine, it can
be natural to argue back or try to excuse or justify ourselves.
Negative assertion simply means calmly and seriously agreeing
with what's been said. This technique can stop an angry outburst
in its tracks. For example, "You're so inconsiderate, you
should have told me earlier that you were going out"; "Yes
that was inconsiderate of me."
after yourself. Last and by no means least, when your partner
is angry, you need to take care of your own self-esteem. Living
with someone who's angry, shouts at you or calls you names can
wear down anyone's confidence. Look for tips on techniques to
boost your confidence and cope with stress.
A long-term plan
The best way to manage anger is to avoid it in the first place.
If there are irritations between you then work on your communication
skills and deal with them before one of you blows.