Every year, countless relationships end because of anger.
Whether it's a slow build-up of resentment that eventually leads to an explosive blow-up, or a one-time argument that gets out of control, anger is a destructive force that can destroy even the most robust relationships.
If you're struggling to control your anger in your relationship, you are not alone. Many people struggle with this issue.
The good news is that you can learn to control your anger and create a calmer, happier and more loving relationship.
In this article, I will share my top four tips that you can use to control your anger in your relationship.
Tip 1: Understand Your Anger Triggers
The first step to controlling your anger is to understand what triggers your anger.
We all have different things that trigger our anger. For some people, it might be feeling like they're not being heard or respected. For others, it might be feeling like their partner is not doing their share of the work.
It's essential to take some time to reflect on what makes you angry.
Once you understand your anger triggers, you can start to take steps to avoid them or deal with them more constructively. In "How To Recognise Your Anger Triggers", I shared four tips to recognize these triggers. These tips are:
- Check in with yourself regularly
- Identify your main anger triggers.
- Be aware of your thoughts
- Seek professional help if necessary
If you need a recap on identifying your anger triggers, read this article again and implement these tips.
Tip 2: Communicate openly and honestly
Communicating openly and honestly is key to dealing with issues in your relationship before they escalate into arguments.
As simple as this sounds, many couples do not make time to communicate openly and honestly together. This can be due to several reasons, such as not wanting to rock the boat, not wanting to hurt your partner's feelings, or simply not knowing how to communicate effectively.
If this is you, set aside time with your partner weekly to practice communicating openly and honestly. My favourite way to do this is holding what I call a weekly "State of the Relationship" meeting.
A "State of the Relationship" meeting allows you and your partner to talk openly and honestly about:
- how you feel about your relationship
- what is working well, and
- what issues need to be addressed.
A key aspect of "State of the Relationship" meetings is ensuring that you both feel safe to share your thoughts and feelings without judgement or criticism. You can achieve this by agreeing to some simple ground rules beforehand, such as staying calm, no name-calling, no interrupting, and no put-downs.
If you think having a "State of the Relationship" meeting with your partner could be challenging, one option is to practice these conversations with a third person present.
This could be a trusted friend, family member, therapist, or coach.
The important thing is that the third person understands that their role is to hold space for you and your partner, to make sure that you both stay calm, and to help you practice effective communication.
Tip 3: Learn How to Manage Stress
Stress is a major trigger for anger. Research has shown that people with high stress levels double the risk of getting into an argument with their partner.
If you have high stress levels due to work, family, or personal issues, it's important to take steps to manage them. This will not only help you to avoid arguments with your partner, but it will also improve your overall health and well-being.
Some simple strategies for managing your stress levels include:
- Regular exercise, such as going for a walk or a run
- Deep breathing exercises, including taking slow and deep breaths
- Spending time in nature, such as going to a beach or a walk in the park
- Staying connected to your friends and family
- Practising mindfulness exercises or meditation.
While worries and stresses can seem overwhelming, it is also essential to acknowledge that they are often just thoughts and not reality. I have met many people, for instance, who, even in the most difficult of circumstances, know that over time, things will change.
Recognizing that difficult times are usually temporary can help give you the strength to deal with whatever challenges you are facing. It may not be easy, but with practice, it is possible to do!
Tip 4: you and your partner are on the same team
When you are in a relationship, it's important to remember that you and your partner are on the same team. This means that when you are facing challenges, it's essential to work together to find solutions rather than working against each other.
This tip especially applies during arguments.
After being an anger management and relationship counsellor for over 30 years, I have often witnessed how quickly arguments can escalate when couples view each other as the enemy.
The next time you argue with your partner, remember that you and your partner will have valid perspectives on the issue.
Instead of arguing for your perspective and trying to discount your partner's, try to understand why your partner thinks or feels the way they do. The more you do this, the more likely your partner will also try to understand why you think and feel the way you do.
Seeking to understand each other, instead of trying to "win" the argument, almost always leads to a more productive conversation. It also takes the focus off of who is right or wrong and allows you to work together to find a solution that works for both of you.
There you have it. Four tips to help you control your anger in a relationship. To remind you, these tips are:
- Understand Your Anger Triggers
- Communicate openly and honestly with your partner
- Learn how to manage stress
- Remember that you and your partner are on the same team.
Practising these tips will not only help you to avoid arguments with your partner, but it will also improve the overall quality of your relationship.
Finally, how can you get help if you are experiencing anger issues?
Fortunately, I have a simple, short and FREE training on this very topic.
To access this FREE training, click here.
This training will teach you exactly how to control your anger, master your emotions and create a calmer, happier and more respectful relationship, often in 21 days (or less), and without having to attend humiliating anger management programs or exhausting therapy sessions that often just do not work.
Thanks for reading this blog!
Remember: You can't control other people, but you can control yourself.