You are so angry at him, you can’t think straight.
You don’t even want him around. If he says one more thing, you might just blow your top.
So you take a breather and consider what you’re going to do next.
- Are you going to give him what he so richly deserves?
- Are you going to let it go?
- Are you going to try to talk about it, knowing it could blow up into an even bigger fight than before?
Before we look at the answer, I want to introduce you to some people.
Meet Arianna and Caitlyn, two women incredibly frustrated with the men in their lives…
Arianna: “Getting Angry is Part of Life.”
Arianna’s parents were always fighting.
They yelled at each other. Sometimes, they threw things.
But Arianna knew they’d make up. Neither of them could stay mad at each other for long.
When she started dating, she didn’t think twice about raising her voice when she was frustrated. You shouldn’t have to hide your emotions around people you were intimate with.
But then she started seeing someone who didn’t appreciate getting yelled at. To her surprise, he felt hurt. He thought they should break it off.
“But that just shows how much I love you,” Arianna protested. “No one else drives me crazy like you do.”
Caitlyn: “It’s Better to Be Loving Than to Be Right.”
Caitlyn never wanted to be angry at her husband.
She hated feeling angry. It made her feel lonely. Their house was small enough, but it felt even smaller when they weren’t speaking to each other.
The worst thing was, her husband just waited her out. He never apologized or made amends. He just let her have her mood. He counted on the fact that she couldn’t hold grudges.
She felt better when the burn of anger passed and she could hold a civil conversation with him again. She knew anger was useless. It didn’t help anything. He wasn’t going to change, and there was nothing she could do about it.
Two Sides of the Same Coin
Arianna and Caitlyn have a lot more in common than you might think.
Neither of them know how to release their anger in healthy ways.
Acting out your anger is no better or worse than holding in your anger. Both rage and repression are two sides of the same coin.
“What many people think of as signs of anger are actually manifestations of anxiety,” says psychotherapist and anger expert Allen Kalpin.
When you feel your muscles tense, your breathing become shallow, and your voice go up in pitch, you might think you’re angry … but it’s much more likely that you’re anxious.
Anxiety goes hand-in-hand with anger in intimate relationships.
It’s frightening to get mad at someone you love. When you’re angry, you want to push him away. At the same time, you know that pushing him away could have devastating consequences, because he might leave you.
So you’re in a double bind.
Express your anger and risk abandonment…
Or repress your anger and end up resentful.
Add on top of that the fear that anger is aggressive—and therefore not very “feminine” or “spiritual”—and it’s no wonder getting angry at her husband made Caitlyn so stressed.
Stand Up for Yourself
Anger can be seen as a build-up of explosive negative energy directed at the man you love…
Or it can be seen as a call to action.
Healthy anger empowers. It doesn’t make us feel anxious. It gives us courage.
Therapist Joann Peterson explains: “Anger is the energy Mother Nature gives us as little kids to stand forward on our own behalf and say, ‘I matter.’”
There’s nothing wrong or bad about feeling angry. When we have a healthy relationship with anger, it fuels our ability to stand up for ourselves. It’s only when we have an unhealthy relationship with anger that we feel anxious.
So if you’re feeling angry at your man, don’t stuff down your anger or act it out. Instead, ask it what it wants.
What is your anger drawing your attention to? Is this really about him, or could it be about something else? Where aren’t you standing up for yourself? What isn’t working?
Once you know why you’re really angry and what it’s calling you to change, you can have a calm discussion with your guy where you let him know how you feel.
How do you deal with anger in your relationships? Do you stuff it in like Caitlyn or express it loudly like Arianna? What helps you use your anger in a healthy way? Share your tips in the comments!