Anger In Relationships: 8 Signs Anger Is Causing Relationship Problems And How To Manage
Updated June 13, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Dawn Brown
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 says a lot about how a person handles their emotions. How anger affects a relationship is based on the frequency of outbursts and the intensity. Uncontrolled anger interferes with daily living and relationship growth. Understanding how anger affects relations between partners helps clarify how to express and manage your emotions effectively.
Why Anger In A Relationship Is Complicated
Dealing with anger in a relationship has challenges because it can change the dynamics of a situation quickly. When a partner experiences an emotional outburst, they are likely reacting to their partner's actions. An individual may have anger issues but not realize they are making the relationship difficult. Sometimes anger occurs when there is a lack of communication or understanding between both partners. Often, someone gets blamed for the anger that arises when, in reality, both partners play a role related to the cause.
While anger is an emotion people experience within reason, some studies suggest it may occur in cycles in a relationship when certain aspects are not acknowledged or resolved. Aspects relate to behaviors and actions expressed during an argument or disagreement that could be labeled as being disrespectful, demanding, or other forms of destructive behavior. Certain behaviors may trigger a negative response adding fuel to one's anger. Anger issues may continue because the focus on the issue isn't where it should be or has yet to be confronted. Talking with a couple's counselor about anger issues may help focus on the cause of anger and how couples can work productively together to manage it.
8 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 signs to consider you may not know about.
- Lacking Awareness Of One's Emotions. Partners should be able to identify and manage their emotions that lead to resolving a problem. When you lack awareness of your emotions, you lose control of your feelings, making it more difficult to empathize with your partner. Learn to associate your feelings with emotions to encourage healthy ways to process them. Learning to be aware of your feelings improves your skill and ability to regulate emotions and how your actions influence the emotions of others.
- Lack Of 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. An angry person may have a habitual way of expressing it. A partner may consider their feelings first before their partner's. They may have feelings that should be expressed, but they don't bother to talk about them. They may think their feelings matter more than yours. Their feelings likely start an argument instead of seeking a solution to the problem. Each partner may have a different communication style that adds to understanding each other's position. Learning how to communicate assertively lets each partner explore how to share what they feel to meet their needs. It includes standing up for yourself and controlling your emotions without attacking your partner unnecessarily.
- Use Of Unconstructive Self-Talk. A partner may have a distorted view of the situation when anger is present. When your perspective is unclear, it leads to irrational thoughts that influence how you respond to or during an emotional outburst. There are many ways people fall prey to such negative thoughts, such as seeing themselves as a 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 makes it challenging to be rational when dealing with anger.
- Belittling A 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. Reducing such behaviors requires taking responsibility for their behavior, including when it's abusive. In domestic violence situations, such behavior occurs more frequently.
- Avoiding Certain Situations To Prevent Your Partner's Anger. If your partner has anger issues, you feel like you're walking on eggshells. You know specific actions lead to a temper tantrum, or your partner will go off yelling or screaming. You may disagree with your partner but avoid letting them know you don't agree to keep the peace. You may feel scared to speak up because they will get upset. Avoiding such actions is a short-term fix to something that may cause serious relationship problems in the long term.
- You 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 emotions you express.
- 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.
- 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. Passive-aggressive behavior is also possible such as giving your partner the silent treatment, slamming a door to show your anger, or try to gain sympathy.
Unaddressed anger may lead to a dangerous scenario or become a destructive force in a relationship. When emotions are not expressed and validated, anger becomes a severe issue, problems that need solutions won't get the attention they deserve - unhealthy behaviors such as hateful attitudes and forms of abuse result when relational issues go unresolved.
Anger Management Tips For Relationships
Each partner has to own up to their actions. Sometimes a partner may resist anger by ignoring them, only to make things worse without realizing it. Each person has to understand when they get angry; there are ways to express it while still communicating their thoughts. Doing this helps control anger while distinguishing the differences of an expression of anger vs. a symptom of anger.
A partner may have feelings hidden underneath their anger; they may not understand or recognize them because of their outburst or aggression. Each partner should learn how to articulate emotions that trigger their anger. Each partner should also understand if their feelings get dismissed, it may lead to emotional outbursts. Here are tips to consider when assessing ways to manage your anger for your relationship.
- 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 to recognize. Emotionally, feeling overwhelmed, anxiety, rage, and irritability may occur. Physical symptoms such as headaches increased blood pressure, chest tightening, tingling, and heart palpations may signal the presence of anger.
- Consider ways to work on your anger. When you feel upset, think about why. Be responsible for your emotions by owning your anger. It may be about you more than your partner. You may object to your partner's actions, but how you respond is connected to your emotions. Be in control of your emotions by learning to accept them. Think about other emotions involved and whether they signal vulnerability.
- Be supportive of helping your partner with their anger. They can do as described in the previous point, with both learning practical communication skills and being active listeners. Be objective to your partner's thoughts and perceptions and be considerate of their feelings.
- Talk about your concerns about anger in your relationship with a couple's counselor or therapist. Working with a relationship specialist allows for emotional growth while gaining essential tools to manage your emotions to encourage a healthier relationship.
It is natural to feel angry with reason, but it is important to learn how to accept it when it occurs in the relationship. 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 both partners deserve.
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