It's completely normal to have arguments and disagreements in a relationship. However, expressing your anger the wrong way can instantly push your partner away. Over time, it can result in a loss of intimacy and trust in a relationship. In contrast, expressing anger in a positive and safe way can help you feel more connected to your partner. Sharing your feelings with your partner will help build a stronger bond and solidify your relationship.
The problem is that calming down in an argument isn’t always easy. It can be hard to resist the urge to get the last word in when you are angry. However, handling anger in this way doesn’t do anything constructive. Here are some positive ways that you can express your anger without getting more riled up or pushing your partner away.
#1 Start The Discussion Off With "I"
The phrase “You always do….” or “You make me feel…” will almost always cause an argument to get even more heated. Starting off a conversation with the word “you” comes across as being accusatory. When you say “You make me feel,” you are probably going to end with “bad” “angry” “sad” or even something worse. These types of statements sound a lot like an attack, which will elicit a counterattack. So, try to start off heated conversations with the word “I.” For example, you could say “I feel angry when you do not ask me what I want to eat for supper.” “I would appreciate it if you would ask me what I want to eat before picking up carryout.”
#2 Actively Listen
When you are angry with your partner, you might immediately reject what they are saying as being wrong. You might start thinking about what you will say to counter them. However, you are not really listening to your partner if comebacks are running through your mind while they are talking. Resist the urge to cut your partner off while they are speaking. Give them your undivided attention and acknowledge what they are saying. Try not to form judgments while your partner is speaking; you might not agree with everything but seek to understand where they are coming from. Simply listen until they are completely finished talking. After you have heard what your partner had to say, reflect back to them what you heard. Then, you can respond to your partner. Just remember to be respectful and start the discussion with “I.”
#3 Walk Away
Some people think that it is rude to walk away during an argument. However, walking away before things get too heated can actually save your relationship. If your dispute has escalated to the point that angry insults are being thrown around, then it is much better to walk away. Staying and arguing will only be unproductive at that point. Also, calling your partner names or hurling angry insults is the beginning of death for a relationship.
Don't wait until the middle of a heated argument to merely walk away though. Before an argument, agree with your partner that it is okay for either of you to walk away from a heated conflict when feeling extremely overwhelmed or angry. Then, agree to come back and discuss the topic at a later time. Whatever led to the argument must eventually be resolved. So, don't just walk away and forget about it. Just take a short walk or distract yourself by cooking or doing some light housework until you are feeling calmer.
If you are located in the Roseville, Sacramento or the surrounding area, contact us today to see how marriage counseling in Roseville CA can help you and your partner build a stronger relationship.
Lori Hunter, LMFT specializes in working with families, co-parenting and those high conflict couples struggling with relationships. She helps couples build intimacy, teaching effective emotional processing techniques that directly improve thoughts and behaviors.