I dated a great guy once who would get angry and shut down when he was hungry. At first, I would get angry, too, and we would argue.
But after he told me the real reason he was angry, I was able to support him better because I didn’t take his anger personally.
When I noticed his anger, I would just ask him, “You seem frustrated. Is it because you’re hungry, or is it something else?”
And many times, he actually was just hungry.
Of course, in the end, he’s the only one who could take responsibility for his anger and choose how he responded to it. But I could support him better by understanding the deeper reason for it.
Just like this situation, the emotional triggers that start arguments might not have anything to do with that moment.
Looking honestly at what causes your anger will allow you to respond more clearly to the situation.
You can ask yourself, “Why am I getting mad? Is this really about (current situation), or is it about something else?”
You can also include your partner, or the people closest to you, in helping you explore the cause of your anger.
When you share with them that you want to do better in managing your frustrations, they will know how they can to support you.
You can say, “Sometimes when I react to you with anger, it doesn’t always have to do with you and what’s happening in that moment. Can we try an experiment? When you see that I’m getting frustrated, and I start to shut down, will you say to me, nicely, “It seems like you might be shutting down. Is the reason because of what’s happening right now, or is it something else?”
Getting to the deeper issue of your anger can help diffuse the tension and also prevent the same situation from happening over and over again.
Or if it does happen again, you can both resolve it faster because you’re open to finding solutions together.
It can feel safe and comfortable to take out your frustrations on the people close to you, but without sharing the reasons for the anger, that can do more harm than good.
When you’re clear about your feelings and intentions, and can communicate them clearly, you have a much better chance of getting what you want than if you let your anger take control every time.
If you’re struggling to get clarity on where the anger is coming from, let’s talk.
In a free clarity session, I’ll help you discover how you’re truly feeling, beneath the anger, and give you strategies to express your feelings with more ease and clarity so that you strengthen your relationships with the important people in your life.