What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of anger? Fight, Conflict, Resentment, Pain and many other negative thoughts Right? Whatever it is, in this article you’ll learn how to control your anger.
First of all anger is a completely normal human emotion. It can be caused by other people, such as your spouse; events like traffic jams or delayed flights;
Or it can be the result of internal thoughts such as brooding over personal problems or remembering events that caused intense anger.
Regardless of how it’s triggered, when anger gets out of control and turns destructive, it can lead to problems in all areas of your life, especially in your marriage.
And that’s the reason you need to learn how to control your anger.
You see people tend to deal with their anger in different ways. The main ways are to express it or to repress it.
Expressing your anger can be extremely destructive or very healthy, depending on how you do it.
Destructive expressions of anger occur when you express it overtly to hurt your partner either physically, emotionally or psychologically.
Behaviors associated with it include rage, screaming, hitting or kicking, harassment, threats and even murder.
This type of expression of anger is dangerous and abusive. If you’re doing this, you need to seek help immediately.
If your partner is abusive you should remove yourself, and your children if you have them, from the home for your own protection.
The healthiest way to express your anger is to do it in an assertive, non-aggressive, way.
To do this properly, you have to manage your reactions and learn how to show what you’re feeling and needing without hurting others.
Being assertive doesn't mean being pushy or demanding; it means being respectful but clear about your opinions and your needs.
Suppressing anger by thinking about something more positive and then waiting to deal the issue in a constructive way at a more appropriate time is very healthy.
The key is to be aware that your anger does need to be expressed at some time.
If you don’t express your anger, you can turn it inward, towards yourself, and end up with physical symptoms such as high blood pressure or depression.
Unexpressed anger can also affect your outward behavior, causing you to become bitter, cynical, critical and / or hostile.
You may begin to act passive aggressively.
Anger is normal and there will always be triggers that make you feel angry.
However, as we’ve discussed before, angry outbursts will continue to erode your relationship and undermine the positive progress you are trying to achieve.
If you tend to have angry outbursts, you need to do everything in your power to decrease their frequency and eventually to eliminate them altogether.
One of the advantages we have as human beings is the ability to make choices.
You can choose right now to manage your tendency towards angry outbursts for building strong marriage.
And, when your partner does or says something that makes you angry, you can make a choice to suppress your explosive reaction.
Here are few techniques to help you manage your anger to avoid, and hopefully eliminate, outbursts.
I call these ten things the Dispute Defusing System, because by using some or all of them when a conflict is first escalating, you can almost always prevent things from getting out of hand and damaging your marriage.
The Dispute Defusing System
Here are the 10 things you can do to manage anger and prevent disagreements from escalating into serious (and harmful) arguments.
#1. Think before you speak.
Use that second between stimulus and response to decide how you will respond.
Instead of reacting take a few seconds, or even minutes, to think about what your partner really means and how you want to respond.
If you stay cool and rational, you can manage to have a reasonable conversation that doesn’t spin out of control and become a shouting match.
#2. Take a time out.
Taking a time out has become a bit of a cliché now that we use it so commonly with kids.
But it isn’t just a way to discipline naughty kids, it really works to help you calm down.
If your partner does something to trigger intense anger on your part, don’t engage at all – just leave.
Say something like “I can’t deal with this right now” or even “I need to take a time out before I can discuss this” and get away from them before you do something you’ll regret.
Ideally, you will have been able to tell your partner in advance that you will be using this technique.
#3. Respond when you are calm.
After you’ve taken the time out and you’re calmer, respond to the issue that made you angry.
Choose a time when both of you are relaxed and express your thoughts and feelings in a clear and assertive but non-confrontational way.
#4. Avoid triggers.
If there’s some re-occurring thing that makes you angry, try to avoid it.
For example, if it annoys you that your husband leaves the toilet seat up and generally makes a mess in the bathroom, make an agreement with him that you will use one bathroom exclusively, and he can use – and clean – the other one.
If the trigger is something that you can’t avoid, try taking a calming moment before it occurs so that you approach it from a calmer viewpoint.
Perhaps the trigger is something you can change.
For example, if you always have your arguments in the evenings after the kids are in bed, make a pact not to have serious discussions in the evening when you’re both tired.
#5. Change the way you think.
Try to change your thought patterns into something more positive. When anger flares, we tend to go straight to the worst case scenario in our heads.
Instead of reacting in an overly dramatic way, try to have a more rational reaction.
For example, if your partner breaks one of your favorite plates, don’t scream “you idiot, now the set is ruined!”.
Instead, tell yourself that it’s disappointing that the plate is broken and resolve to do an internet search for a replacement one.
It’s much easier to react calmly if you apply the “nobody died” filter. Besides, blaming your husband isn’t going to fix your plate!
#6. Check your facts.
Misunderstandings cause unnecessary anger and arguments. Rather than leaping to conclusions about what she’s doing or saying, ask for clarification.
Instead of assuming your partner is being critical or is out to get you, make sure you really understand what is going on. Good communication can go a long way to extinguishing anger.
#7. Use humor.
Try not to take things, and yourself, so seriously. If you look, you can often find something humorous to help you lighten up.
For example, if your partner has a tendency to call you names, try to visualize the name he’s used, and better yet, picture him that way.
It’s hard to get really mad at being called a pinhead when you’re picturing him with a head that’s very pointy at the top.
A caution about using humor, however – don’t use “laughing it off” to suppress anger – you still need to express it in some way.
Also, please don’t confuse humor with sarcasm, which can be very destructive.
#8. Use logic.
Anger can make you irrational, and acting irrationally can make you angrier. For example, using words like “always” and “never” is rarely accurate, and it ramps up your anger as well as your partner’s reaction.
The next time you catch yourself saying “you never help me with the kids” or “you always forget to lock the door” try to apply a little logic and ask yourself if what you’re saying is actually true or realistic.
If not, crank it back and tone it down a little.
#9. Exercise and use relaxation techniques.
Exercise can be used to safely express anger and ease stress. Progressive relaxation can decrease stress and make you stronger and calmer so that you can control your anger better.
#10. Seek help.
The suggestions I’ve made here are for controlling “normal” anger. If you can’t control your angry outbursts or if you hurt others, it’s imperative that you seek help.
There are many anger management groups and programs, and there will be one in your area.
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