Archive for August, 2019

Brian Murray, LMHC, NCC

Big problems arise in marriage or relationships when miscommunication leads to anger, defensiveness and arguing. It can be frustrating being in a relationship when this pattern continues to happen or increases in frequency and intensity. Often couples struggle for answers and they don’t know what to do or where to turn for answers. 

Anger is a powerful emotion and when used appropriately can actually be beneficial. In a constructive manner, anger can motivate an individual or couple to recognize a problem that needs to change. Adversely, destructive anger leads to a break down in the relationship such as stonewalling, isolation and avoidance, or worse when it becomes abusive. 

Unfortunately, most people do not have the ability to stop themselves and think for a minute when experiencing anger. The anger hijacks the brain and gets in control of the communication process. An angry spouse can be difficult to handle and process as the anger often evokes anger in the other person. Tension escalates leading to argument.  So what can be done about it? 

Here is a list to consider if you find yourself or your partner experiencing anger. 

  • View anger realistically. Anger is only a feeling experienced by the other person. It cannot jump out of the other person and into you.
  • Define your boundary. Do not let the anger signal you to do something. People without boundaries respond automatically to the anger of others.
  • If the anger intensifies after you have set a boundary, remind yourself that the other person is angry at you for setting boundaries and their anger is something they will have to work out. 

A few key things to keep in mind. A boundary is not a hard line that you draw with another person and dare them to cross it. A boundary is a limit you set with yourself on how far you are willing to engage with another person’s behavior. 

If another person begins to make you angry, chances are you did not set your boundary when you reached your limit. Know your limits, and know when you need to break contact or move away from the other person before getting caught up in their emotions. 

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