Is anger present in your marriage?
Anger, marriage and relationships.
Everybody experiences anger occasionally. It’s an emotion we’ve been blessed with, it’s a natural response in certain situations. You can get angry when someone takes your parking space, or if someone is extremely rude. When the emotionr begins to dominate your relationship, look out! Unresolved issues can lead to destructive and limiting patterns.
Anger has many faces. It’s not a black and white emotion, and can be expressed in various ways. The areas of anger which are particularly important to identify are:
If you’re hostile, you will likely show visible signs of frustration, bitterness and annoyance. You may use a raised voice to convey your inner anger and be focussed on dealing with an issue quickly and impatiently.
If you’re passive aggressive, it means you don’t display obvious anger, but might express this in a less direct way. Withholding sex or affection as a result of anger is a common form of passive aggression. Behaviours such as these are known to hurt your partner. If you also fail to follow through on commitments, leaving your partner unable to rely on you fully, this too can be a symptom of a passive aggressive personality.
Anger can also be disguised as sarcasm and a dry sense of humour. If you’re sarcastic when angry, you may exploit comedy to devalue your partner. This can include subtle ridicule in public or revealing sensitive information about them to others. Whether this is deliberate or not, it can be immensely humiliating for your partner.
Cold anger is similar to passive aggression, but involves totally withdrawing in times of anger. You might stonewall your partner and totally refuse to acknowledge or discuss the emotional aspects of a problem. While this may not come across as anger, it very much is.
Aggression tends to be direct, loud, fierce and full-on. If you’re aggressive, you’re more likely to be confrontational and intense in arguments. Name-calling, contemptuous language and even violence can become common. This type of anger is intimidating for the recipient, and in some cases, can cause injury and long-lasting damage.
If you recognise that anger is a barrier in your marriage, then relationship coaching/education can help. We transform this anger into something called ‘assertive problem solving’. Assertiveness is a non-threatening, clear, information-rich statement which communicates your position on an issue. Practising assertiveness in a therapeutic environment can involve role-play to break the destructive patterns.
Coming together to manage the problem.
By looking at a problem together and brainstorming solutions in an assertive way, you can select a path that resolves the problem successfully. This takes time and practice, but could be the key to a far healthier relationship in the long run. If you’d like to talk more about your (or your spouses) anger, please contact me now, the sooner the better!