Anger is a poison in our relationship when it is misunderstood and unleashed. It gets in the way of understanding, connectedness, intimacy, love, and satisfaction in our relationship. Anger in its explosive or simmering manifestation, is a sign that something is wrong when it is prevalent. This indicates that there is pain and dysfunction in the relationship and that something needs to change.
I do not consider Anger a real emotion. I look at Anger as more of a temporary (or more permanent for some) state of being. The angry state is a reaction that covers more sensitive feelings. It is a protection for our vulnerability. When we feel angry, we actually have other more vulnerability inducing feelings underneath such as feeling hurt, insignificant, dismissed, lonely, hopeless, invisible, smothered and abandoned.
To deal with the anger in our relationship, we first need to start noticing the anger coming on before we act angry – whether it is withdrawing or yelling and throwing stuff around. Some tale signs that we are about to act angry are getting a knot in the stomach, sweating, feeling our heart beat faster, and getting flushed. Start paying attention to how the anger feels in your body.
Once you are aware that you are feeling angry and are about to start acting out your anger, you can take a second to identify what are the sensitive feelings underneath the anger. It is a bit difficult for some to identify their more vulnerability inducing feelings. If you need assistance with this, I have a huge list of emotions on the site, that you may use to assist you.
Choose the sensitive feelings that are related to your anger, don’t get stuck at the superficial level and identifying other reactionary feelings (i.e., frustration, exasperation, rage, etc.). If you allow yourself to go deeper, you will be surprised to discover more tender feelings.
Now that you know what you are really feeling, you need to identify what triggered those feelings. This is where your partner plays their role. Partners are a good source of triggers. They just have it in them to get under our skin.
In our interactions with our partner, we perceive the situation, we interpret such situation and we think on it. This is what creates the anger and the other deeper feelings. The reason for this is that thoughts create emotions. Think about this. How you think about something creates how you feel about it.
When you perceive your partner as selfish, self-involved, non-caring, or like they don’t care or are taking advantage of you or your situation, you are going to feel angry and upon further exploration you’ll realize that you are actually feeling unimportant, abandoned, abused, stepped on, etc.
Being able to recognize how you are thinking about something and identify the related sensitive feelings is huge. This gives you good positioning for healing and creating changes in your relationship. One way to accomplish this is that in knowing how you are looking at something you can choose to look at it from a different perspective, which leads to feeling differently. Another way is that by having identified sensitive feelings you can interpret your needs and work on getting them met. Wow!!
This handy-dandy concept works wonders when addressing anger management, AND other issues, in relationships as both partners can benefit from better understanding their feelings and triggers. This creates a fertile ground for making changes and getting needs met.
Say goodbye to the anger and start having your needs met and enjoying the relationship you crave!!
Happy Anger Managing!!!