It’s almost needless to say that being faced with something as extreme as an affair makes you feel angry. When you are faced with the reality that the person you love and trust most in the world has betrayed you, angry feelings are one of the natural reactions.
But no matter what the reason, no matter how justified you think your anger is, behaving angrily almost always makes your problems worse. There is a big difference between having feelings of anger and acting angry.
In this blog, you’ll learn why acting angry is not productive in a marriage and 3 tips for how to manage angry feelings. Please read more…
How Anger Begins in Your Marriage
There are plenty of opportunities to feel angry when you’re married. You and your spouse came into the marriage with different backgrounds and unique personal agendas, and it’s highly likely that these differences will at some point cause friction between you.
And when these conflicts occur, angry feelings often result. Maybe you feel thwarted in getting your unique needs met, as does your spouse. Anger is a perfectly natural emotion. It’s something all of us deal with from time to time.
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But, how many times have you experienced the following:
- Boiled over in rage over something your spouse said or did?
- Reacted angrily at how irresponsible your partner has behaved?
- Seethed because you’ve been confronted with the evidence of your spouse’s affair?
Understanding your anger and expressing the hurt feelings that typically underlie your anger offer you an opportunity to deepen your intimate connection with your spouse.
But acting angry almost never works. It usually drives a wedge between the two of you, and in some cases it causes even more problems.
There is No Justification for Acting Angry
Often, people will say something like: “He/she made me SO angry! I couldn’t help myself – it’s his/her fault!”
No matter how much anger you are feeling at that moment, no matter how frustrated you are, no matter how betrayed you feel… no one makes you act out your anger in an aggressive manner. You make the choice to do that yourself. If this weren’t true, anytime someone tried to make you angry they would succeed – you would have no choice or free will in the matter.
And that’s not the case, is it?
This means there is a very clear line between feeling angry and acting angry. You have a right to your feelings no matter what they are. You have a right to feel those angry feelings.
But acting angry will usually make your situation worse. When you act angry, there is a point at which you choose to let yourself go over the line; you choose to do something you probably know inside is inappropriate. And no doubt, you feel bad about the fact that you acted angry, losing control of your emotions like that.
Most people never come away from an angry confrontation feeling good, as if their display of anger somehow moved them ahead in their relationship. In fact, most people would report hating to lose their cool.
Next, we’ll look at 3 tips to keep you from losing your cool – at least on the outside.
Feel Angry, But Keep Your Cool
Again, having conflict with your spouse is bound to occur. But it doesn’t mean you have to lose your cool when it does. The following 3 tips are to help guide you in managing those feelings of anger:
Tip 1: Identify your Anger Tipping Point
Part of learning how to overcome anger has to do with identifying the point at which you make a decision to act angry, and consciously choosing to respond in a more appropriate way instead. You could define this as your personal Anger Tipping Point.
It’s a rare person that doesn’t have one. If you’re having trouble identifying yours, think about a time when someone – such as your spouse – “pushed your buttons.” All of us can relate to having our buttons pushed, and knowing that at some point, that person gets the rise out of us they were seeking.
Now, translate that over to the actions, behaviors or talk of your spouse that you allow to push you past your Anger Tipping Point.
Tip 2: Change Your Approach to Your Spouse
Obviously there are situations where modulating your anger is more difficult. Nonetheless, there are ways to change your behavior. It takes making a change to your communication with your spouse.
Trust that are dealing with your best friend. When approached this way, it becomes much easier for both of you to reveal feelings and communicate more effectively. You would allow a lot more leeway to one of your friends than you probably ever have to your spouse, so change your approach to how you see and treat them.
Tip 3: Talk Out Your Angry Feelings
Talk about your hurt feelings instead. Anger is usually not as difficult to manage as your hurt feelings. Talk about your feelings to reduce the hold they have on you.
You’re angry: what is it you’re feeling, exactly? Explain it to your spouse. “I am angry because the way you talked to me just now makes me feel that you don’t value me.”
My best to you as you manage anger when talking with your spouse.
Do you or your spouse struggle with anger problems?
What is your typical approach when you’re angry: seethe inside, shout it out, or talk it out?
What is your Anger Tipping Point?
Please share your ideas and personal experiences on this topic with other members of the community.
Wishing you hope and healing for your marriage,