Anger In Relationships: Eight Signs Anger Is Causing Relationship Problems

Updated April 5, 2024by Regain Editorial Team

Anger is a common problem in relationships, but sometimes partners may not understand how it affects one another or contributes to other concerns surrounding their relationship. The type of behavior displayed when someone is angry can say a lot about how that person handles their emotions. How anger affects a relationship can be based on the frequency of outbursts and their intensity. Uncontrolled anger can interfere with daily living and relationship growth. Understanding how anger affects relationships can help partners clarify how to express and manage their emotions with one another effectively.

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You struggling to control your anger in your relationship?

Eight signs of anger problems in a relationship

It is common for partners to deal with mishaps that lead to emotional distress. A partner may get frustrated when they feel attacked or ignored. Sometimes anxiety is a contributing factor when one hasn't learned how to express their emotions in a way that doesn't hurt or offend others. To gain perspective of how anger issues affect relationships, here are some signs to consider when assessing whether anger is a problem for one or both partners.

They lack awareness of their emotions

Partners need to be able to identify and manage their emotions so that they can resolve conflict and other issues together. When someone lacks awareness of their emotions, they often lose control of their feelings, making it more difficult to empathize with their partner. Learning to be aware of one’s feelings can improve one’s ability to control them.  Partners can also come to understand how their actions influence the emotions of others. Further, being aware of one’s emotions can help a person find newer, healthier ways to process them. 

They don’t practice assertive communication

Assertiveness and aggression are two different things. Aggression is more likely when a partner is passive in their communication, making one come off as weak. Someone who is angry may struggle with assertiveness and instead come off as aggressive. They may have feelings that should be expressed, but don't bother to talk about them. Instead of seeking a solution to a problem, they may make their partner out to be the enemy or think their feelings matter most. Every person has a different communication style that allows them to understand different perspectives and positions. Learning how to communicate assertively lets each partner remain true to themselves while still expressing their needs. It is possible to stand up for oneself and control one’s emotions without attacking someone else unnecessarily.

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They rely on unconstructive self-talk

A partner may have a distorted view of different situations when anger is present. When their perspective is unclear or incorrect, it can lead to irrational thoughts that influence how they respond to or during an emotional outburst. There are many ways people fall prey to such negative thoughts, such as seeing themselves as total failure, self-defeat, dwelling on negative details, maintaining negative beliefs despite positive experiences, jumping to conclusions, and over-exaggeration, to name a few. Such thinking can make it a challenge to be rational when dealing with anger.

They belittle their partner with minimizing behaviors

Anger and aggression may show through behaviors that make a partner feel hurt or less than. Such behaviors may include name-calling, yelling, and physical contact through hitting. Sometimes the person expressing their temper may blame their partner for their actions, but they lack understanding of why their feelings affect them as they do. Reducing such behaviors requires taking responsibility for their behavior, including when it's abusive. In domestic violence situations, such behavior often occurs more frequently.

They make their partner walk on eggshell

If your partner has anger issues, you might feel like you're walking on eggshells. You may be aware of the specific actions that could lead to a temper tantrum and avoid certain situations to prevent your partner’s anger. You may disagree with your partner but avoid letting them know you don't agree just to keep the peace. Additionally, you might feel scared to speak up because you believe they will only become upset. Avoiding such actions can often be a short-term fix to something that may cause serious signs of relationship strain or problems in the long term.

Their partners give in to avoid outbursts, not out of love

A person with anger issues may get what they want because others give in to avoid dealing with their temper. Such behavior is likely when dealing with people outside of your relationships, such as family and friends. You may not be the only one to recognize anger issues in your partner. Or you may identify personal anger concerns based on how people respond to the emotions you express.

They have difficulty enjoying activities or carrying out tasks

Anger issues may show up during activities or tasks that have become less enjoyable or more difficult to complete. Stress and tension could be contributing factors. When a partner is upset about something that hasn't been resolved, a snowball effect may make regular activities challenging to complete without getting into an argument.

Their aggression occurs in multiple forms

Unresolved anger may become aggressive, leading to emotional or physical harm. It may include intimidation, making threats, name-calling, bullying, punching a wall, throwing an object, or harming another person. Passive-aggressive behavior is also possible, such as giving your partner the silent treatment, slamming a door to show your anger, or trying to gain sympathy when not warranted.

Unaddressed anger may lead to dangerous scenarios or become a destructive force in a relationship. When emotions are not expressed and validated, anger can become a severe issue. Problems may not get the attention or solutions they deserve, and unhealthy behaviors may result when relational issues go unresolved. 

Anger management tips for relationships

It can be important for each partner to take responsibility for their actions. Sometimes a partner may resist anger by ignoring it, only to let out their emotions in greater intensity later on. Understanding why you get angry and learning how to express yourself in a healthy way can help keep the relationship strong and supportive. Here are tips to consider when assessing ways in which you or your partner can manage their anger:

  • Obtain a clear understanding of one's feelings and thoughts before responding. Sometimes anger occurs when a person feels attacked by their partner without understanding why they reacted with intense emotion.

  • Assess how anger occurs in the relationship and determine red flags, signaling a lack of anger control. There are emotional and physical states you can learn to recognize, such as emotionality, feeling overwhelmed, anxiety, rage, and irritability. Physical symptoms such as headaches increased blood pressure, chest tightening, tingling, and heart palpations may also signal the presence of anger.

  • Consider ways to work on your anger. When you feel upset, think about why. Learn to take responsibility for your emotions by owning your anger. You’ll find that it is often more about you than your partner. You may object to your partner's actions, but how you respond is connected to your emotions. You can learn to be in control of your emotions by learning to accept them. 

  • Be supportive of helping your partner with their anger. They can do as described in the previous point or try other methods of anger management. Try to be objective to your partner's thoughts and perceptions and considerate of their feelings.

  • It can also be helpful to speak with a couples counselor or therapist about your concerns with anger. Working with a relationship specialist may allow you and your partner to experience emotional growth that encourages a healthier relationship.

It is natural to feel angry within reason, but it can also be important to learn how to control and express your anger. A healthy relationship exercises coping skills that keep anger from becoming destructive. There are ways to learn how to express, hear, and respond to anger to understand the cause and work toward reestablishing an emotional bond and trust that both partners deserve.

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You struggling to control your anger in your relationship?

Online counseling with Regain

Unaddressed, frequent anger can lead to resentment and continual conflict in a relationship, among other things. By working with a licensed expert, you can learn how to get your angry feelings under control. Regain offers online counseling for couples and individuals who may be impacted by anger and other issues. Talking about what makes you angry can be difficult, but the interface of online therapy may give you the security you need to be transparent. You can connect through video calls, phone calls, or in-app messaging depending on what you’re comfortable with. 

The efficacy of online counseling 

Researchers have found that online treatment for anger works. In a study conducted by the Centre for Psychiatry Research at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, researchers found that “four weeks of therapy delivered over the internet can help people with anger and aggression.” These results were published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology and are promising for individuals who would like to learn how to manage their angry feelings. 

Takeaway

Anger is a natural human emotion, but it can cause problems in a relationship when it is constant or threatening. Recognizing that you have anger issues can be one of the first steps in changing how you react and communicate. Anger management can be learned through online therapy sessions, whether individually or as a couple. Gaining more control over your anger can help you experience greater quality of life and a healthier relationship with your significant other.

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