Anger is a feeling that we all experience now and then. It is not a bad emotion, it just signals that there’s a roadblock that needs to be dealt with. It makes us aware of a problem. When we share our daily life with a person, our personalities, habits, values and interests may not always be in perfect sync.
Spending so much time closely together makes us not only aware of our partner’s strengths, but also their shortcomings. That opens the door to criticism, blame, and getting short-tempered in situations that cause discomfort. Unless partners make a continuous effort to deal with anger and frustration as it occurs, your relationship will ultimately suffer.
Some couples tend to get very caught up in their anger, making it a challenge to get to the bottom of the issue and find ways to repair communication. In most cases, though, anger itself is not the problem. It is merely the way we deal with it. Keep in mind that every moment we develop anger in a partnership it is also a chance for yourself and your partner to grow together – if done right.
We’ve compiled a few tips about how to deal with your own anger and your partner’s in a relationship:
What is the Source?
Take time for yourself to get to the bottom of what you are angry about. Is it really because she’s invited family over tonight? Or is it actually because you feel like your needs are not being considered enough when it comes to decision making?
What Other Feelings are Involved?
Figure out which other feelings may be involved in this situation. Anger often only masks our vulnerability. Many people have grown up being taught that vulnerability is considered a weakness and therefore automatically default to pushing through problems. Based on this we consider anger a feeling which often covers deeper underlying emotions and issues we carry around. Those emotions could be sadness, fear, or happiness. That means, for instance, while reacting in anger it’s actually rooted in sadness because of hurt or rejection you’re experiencing.
What is Your Role as a Partner?
As a partner in this situation your role is to be supportive. Listen actively, ask clarifying questions in a non-judgmental manner and respect if your significant other asks for a break or some space to gather their emotions and thoughts. This, of course, does not include situations that escalate to violence or abuse.
What Influences Instinctive Reactions?
Keep in mind that your spouse’s feelings are based on his or her life, childhood, family history, and the personal experiences they’ve have. Not all of these might make sense to you because you’ve build your set of reactions and emotions on very different life experiences. That’s okay. It still allows you to be empathetic and embrace the things you learn about your partner through this process.
Making “stepping into your partner’s shoes” a regular part of your relationship will help both of you to not only on solve arguments more smoothly, but ultimately to feel more connected. Many couples build stronger connections with the help of couples therapy. You will become aware of your own emotional responses and better learn why your partner responses the way they do. The goal is to improve communication, create secure bonds, and reinforce the best parts of your partnership.