Do you find yourself constantly angry with your partner? Does your partner accuse you of always being mad about something or other and taking out your feelings on them? If you’re angry a lot of the time, chances are you’re dealing with childhood trauma. Unresolved childhood trauma rears its ugly head well into adulthood and causes you to lash out and lose patience easily, with those closest to you bearing the brunt of your anger. If you’re ready to stop being mad at your partner all the time, here are some helpful tips.
Anger Is A Defense Mechanism
Anger is usually a defense mechanism that protects you from deeper emotions like sadness, rejection and loss. It’s a smoke screen that provides an outlet for difficult feelings which have yet to be resolved. In western culture, anger stops feelings of sadness, especially for boys and men. They are told to “man up”, don’t show emotions, don’t cry. When you grow up repressing feelings of sadness or disappointment, they don’t just go away. Instead, they manifest as anger later in life.
Your Partner Is (Probably) Not The Problem
The source of your anger is probably rooted in events which predate your current relationship. In fact, common wisdom dictates that 90% of your conflicts arise from your background, childhood, culture, and religion. Only 10% can be attributed to current dynamics between you and your partner. As such, your partner is likely not the source of your anger, and shouldn’t be the target of your outbursts. So stop being mad at your partner all the time and find respectful, constructive means of communication. Your feelings are the result of your thinking. Once you change what you’re thinking, you’ll be better able to control what you’re feeling.
Write A Letter
The anger you’re harboring can be geared at yourself, your partner, your parents, the world, and so on. A worthwhile exercise is to write down what they did or didn’t do that made you mad. Address this letter to whomever you’re upset with. How did this make you feel? What would you have preferred they did instead? Dump all your emotions in the letter. Don’t hold back – you won’t send this letter. It’s just a tool to vent and understand your feelings.
Then write a letter of response. This second letter should be written to you as a reply from the “recipient” of the first letter. If you wrote the original letter to your father about your feelings of abandonment, the response letter will be from your father to you, with an explanation of why he wasn’t around much while you were growing up, from his point of view. This could be because his work required frequent travel, he and your mother were going through a rough patch, he was dealing with addiction, etc.
This response can either be an acknowledgment or a dismissive. It can either give you a deeper understanding of your family circumstances, or it’ll be dismissive. If the latter, you will need to accept that you cannot get what you want or need from this person and the best course of action is to just let it go. Both outcomes are ok and equally valuable steps toward closure.
Put It Behind You
When you’re done writing your letters, create a ceremony and burn the letters. Building a ceremony around this action will help you put these feelings behind you and move on. Think of it as a type of cleansing or clearing out bad energy. You will still have memories and ruminations – your feelings may still creep back into your conscience. But by using the letter writing and burning tool, you signal your willingness to move forward without holding on to all the anger and resentment about the past.
Talk It Through With Your Partner
Your affair shifted your focus away from home and toward some external target. To help you and your partner both heal and rebuild after an affair, you’ll need to bring the attention back into your home and your partnership. Bring some fun back into your marriage by setting up regular date nights and making time for shared activities you both enjoy. Something as simple as putting on some good music and having an impromptu dance party in your living room will do the trick.
If you travel a lot for work, bring your partner with you if possible. Find ways to maintain communication while you’re apart – send each other funny thoughts or interesting photos throughout the day. Abstain from overindulging in drinking while you’re away and instead make plans to go out and party with your spouse when you’re back home.
If infidelity has rocked your marriage and you could use professional support to help you recover faster, Marriage Quest counselors are here for you. Whether you’re struggling with the aftermath of a physical or emotional affair, we are here to help you save and rebuild your marriage.
Stop Being Mad At Your Partner And Focus On Appreciation
Instead of ruminating on how you’ve been wronged, who has hurt you, and why life is unfair, make space for gratitude. Appreciation of what you have and acknowledgement of what’s going well is a powerful healing tool (and a potent antidote to anger). Learning to recognize the good is good for body and soul, and for your relationship. There’s a lot of wisdom in the saying “stop and smell the roses”. Even on particularly difficult days, take a moment to recognize the good in your life, no matter how small. When you do this enough, you’ll likely feel less anger.
If you’ve had enough anger and resentment in your marriage, and want to stop being mad at your partner all the time, you can take steps to reclaim your relationship starting today. Turn a new page by addressing the root causes of your anger and learning effective communication tools and strategies. Marriage Quest counselors can support you on the journey back to a healthy, respectful, and peaceful relationship.