Anger is a part of the normal human emotional spectrum. Unless you have reached a state of nirvana, you will experience anger from time to time. That is perfectly normal and in that way, I will not be unique to you. But there can be too much of it. It may get in the way of having a conversation, discussion or even a healthy argument.
It the anger is yours then through counselling or through other techniques, you can get to know it and learn to manage it. But what if your partner is very angry? What then? Well, there are simple techniques to follow and some are listed here. It is by no means an exhaustive list but certainly one that can be helpful in calming things down.
- Address it. You should address the anger. Leaving it to fester only intensifies it and multiplies it. Addressing it at the early and at first sign is always better. When it may be starting to build up. If you think of the expression anger like a wave, then you either deal with it when you see the wave coming in or wait till has gone out. Trying to address it in the middle of an argument may not work.
- Keep calm. Sounds simple but it isn’t! Anger will lead to more anger if you don’t. Yours and theirs. Not responding to someone’s anger or silence can sometimes have the opposite to the intended effect – and might add fuel to a fire rather than dousing it. So the strategy to calm things may include acknowledging their feelings and asking to have the conversation without anger as the dominant emotion.
- Hear them. Understand them. This does not mean that you have to agree with them. We all are guilty of assuming we know what the other person is saying and what they mean. We might even cut them off mid-sentence by telling them “I know what you are trying to say”. Making someone feel heard and understood is severely underrated. And we do this by listening and reflecting on what they are saying rather than assuming.
- Acknowledge how they feel. Really important this one. If you can’t acknowledge their feelings – be it sadness, frustration, or something else – you may push them away from you. Emotional connections are at the heart of intimate relationships. And acknowledging feelings is about strengthening emotional connections.
- Share your own feelings. Very similar to point 4 – in reverse! But you can’t share what you don’t feel. So, tune in and ask yourself what you feel. Give it colour, texture, words. And then tell the other person how you feel.
- Walk away. This can be literal as in physically walk away or simply stop the argument until things have calmed down. But not without making it clear to your partner that you do not want to engage in anger. If you do it without telling them, it can have the opposite effect to the intended one again. It might fuel rejection feelings rather than a desire on your part to not engage in angry exchanges.
- Pick the moment. Picking when you discuss things is really moment. If anger is around then it is never a discussion, it is always an argument. And things are better discussed than argued about. So, in the heat of the moment is not a good time. It is ok to walk away from an angry moment and come back when things are calmer to the same discussion.
And if it is all too much to bear then come have a few sessions with me to figure things out. In my counselling practice in London Waterloo and Hampton, I help my clients manage their anger and learn to work with their partners anger.