Therapists know that living with someone who has an anger control problem is both dangerous to your relationship, personal development, and family, but it also has a direct effect on both your emotional and physical health! If you find yourself in a relationship with an openly angry, or passive-aggressive, mate it is important to understand several factors.
Issues of Living With Angry People
If you live with an angry person, you can be assured that you will not receive much praise or appreciate for anything that you do. You can count on getting many complaints for little problems along with continual criticism and many “angry temper tantrums” when things do not go their way.
When one lives with an angry person, spouse or friend, there is always the hope that things will get better “the next time.” There is a hope that if one is nice enough, causes no problems, and avoids upsets, that the person will change. The problem is that angry people blame others and say “you made me mad.” The more the other person rages the more you deny your own anger–partly out of fear and as a matter of survival.
The angry person may have self-esteem problems that date back to their “early training in childhood.” However, the answer to their self-esteem problems isn’t to crush and destroy you and your identity as a separate human being. There is no question that the angry person thinks that if they can make the other person feel awful then they will feel better, less vulnerable, and be assured that no one will hurt or leave them.
Anger is usually made worse with the use of drugs or alcohol and it does not help if you try to partake in the same behaviors in order to “make them feel better.”
It is important to remember that you are not responsible for these immature behaviors. Your mate was probably like this long before you ever met. If they were not angry at you, it would be someone else. The anger problem belongs to them. They are the only ones who can do anything about it!
Anger is like a drug that makes the angry one “feel good” because of the “rush of relief” and the “security of seeing how others conform.” This reassures them that they have control. It also insures that they “will do it again” in order to achieve the “high rush of internal chemicals caused by the anger outbursts.”
What You Should Do
First, don’t expect them to tell you what to do. You have to figure it out for yourself. It is going to take courage, and time, to make these changes in your life. As you change, you can expect more upset and “noise” with the hope that you will be “scared back into the old submissive behaviors” that they are most comfortable with.
Remember that the best way of helping them is to not beg or asked them to change. You have to do change for yourself regardless of what they have to say. Know that it is fine for you to have our own friends, interests, opinions, and career. You were not put on this planet to take care of angry people. Start to treat yourself with respect and expect that from others.
Expect to be told that you are selfish. Your automatic behaviors are such as to make you feel very guilty for not being “nice” to your angry mate. Don’t give up though. “Good Love means saying no” when it is appropriate. If you don’t do this you will be miserable the rest of your life. Know that you are not the cause of the other persons anger and as a result you are not responsible for changing it. They have to control and change their own lives.
Focus your energies on yourself, not on the angry person. Take time for yourself instead of focusing on others (detach). Remember that being around criticism all the time is unhealthy. Talk to others who respect and like you. This will help you stay sane.
Examine whether your thoughts and feelings are always around the angry person. This may be a sign that you are “co-dependent” and being too helpful by “enabling” their immature behaviors. Examine your own feelings, what you have stuffed away, what you are afraid of, and your own vulnerabilities and needs that have kept you in this dependent destructive relationship for too long. What do you need to work on and change to become more healthy in the world?
Insist on change from your mate. It is your privilege to tell a mate that you will not live this way anymore. It is not healthy for you and it clearly is bad for the children. You don’t have to live the rest of your life denying your needs, feelings, existence, feeling afraid, anxious, and worried.
Don’t threaten to leave unless you mean to do it right away. It is better to say that you won’t hang around forever unless he/she does something to change. Don’t accept vague promises from your mate about changing. If they agree to go to counseling, know that this is only a beginning (and tell them so). There has to be a commitment to use counseling to make “real and long-lasting changes” or it is still a “game.”
Don’t accept apologies that you have heard before. They never last and the “cycle of violence” predicts that things will be nice and calm after a blow-up only for a certain period of time until the tensions build again!
Eighteen, know that some angry people can and will change if you make the changes you need for yourself. However, only stay if you see real progress that he/she is making on a consistent basis.
Let your spouse know that they must take responsibility for their own anger. It is not your fault when they lose control and explode, or withdraw in silence to punish you by “pouting.” Yes, anger can also be passive, indirect, and how itself by “non-involvement in the relationship.This, too, is meant to control and to get you upset so you explode and then are blamed for the problems.
You also must grow and change, let go of your own fears and dependencies, and allow yourself to feel like a mature adult in the world who can survive alone on your own. You might not want to do it but you have to know you can survive alone if that is necessary. If you still have fears about it then you need to find ways to “grow and mature” if you are ever to be happy and bring about changes in your relationships and life.
Change is a process that happens over time. You did not get into this situation over night. You can spend a lot of time asking yourself “why has this happened with it was so nice before.” All of that is a waste of time. The answers are not always clear.
What is clear is that you deserve respect and consideration. You have your own life, views, desires, opinions, and choices that you need to exercise in life if you are to be happy. Partners, and friends, do not control each other. They learn to become friends that respect each other. Each has to let go of blame and start to examine themselves in order to make changes that can last!