Lack of Anger Management Destroys Marriages 5 Ways
At times, every marriage or significant relationship has times in which anger management would be helpful. Its pretty hard to live with someone and not get angry with them at some point. Interestingly, research has shown that its not the number of fights that couples have which predict if their relationship will last. It’s the attitude that people have towards their partner on an ongoing basis that tells how likely they are to stay together.
Relationship researchers have found several types of anger management personality styles to be particularly destructive to a relationship.
1. Belligerent anger management reactions are challenging or angry in nature. You get the sense that the spouse is looking for a fight and would argue with whatever the other says, regardless of what they say.
WIFE: Here’s an interesting article…
HUSBAND: Can’t you see I’m trying to read?
HUSBAND: Do you want to watch TV tonight?
WIFE: So that’s all you think I’m good for, right? Sitting in front of the tube watching mindless TV shows all the time?
HUSBAND: Of course not. What would you like to do? Maybe you’d rather go see a play instead.
WIFE: Oh, like that’s supposed to make me feel better? (Mocking) “Maybe you’d rather go see a play instead.”
2. Contradictory anger management reactions are when a spouse seems intent on starting a debate or argument..
WIFE: Would you like a tangerine?
HUSBAND: That’s not a tangerine. It’s a Satsuma orange.
3. Domineering anger management reactions involve attempts to control the other. The goal is to get the partner to withdraw or submit. S/he may take on a paternal tone.
HUSBAND: Do you know where I’d love to go someday? India!
WIFE: Don’t be ridiculous! You’d hate it there, with all its poverty and overcrowding. Scandinavia- now there’s a place you’d really love!
WIFE: My car’s in the shop. Can you give me a lift?
HUSBAND: I suppose. But only if you’re ready at five P.M. sharp.
4. Critical anger control management are broad attacks on the partner’s character. They’re different from a complaint, which focuses on a particular event or specific behavior. People speak in global terms when being critical, using phrases like “you always…” and “you never…” Critical anger responses are often loaded with blame or betrayal:
HUSBAND: I’m feeling really tired. I need some time alone this afternoon.
WIFE: That figures. You’re always so lazy and self-centered. All you do is think about yourself.
WIFE: Have you got a minute? I’ve got some questions about how to do this.
HUSBAND: Okay, but make it quick. I can’t afford to hold your hand all the time.
5. Defensive anger management reactions are when one spouse gives up any responsibility for matters at hand. If one spouse is upset about something, the defensive anger responder may act like an innocent victim of misplaced blame.
HUSBAND: What a day I had! I’m exhausted.
WIFE: So you think my day was a picnic? I worked my tail off, too!
WIFE: I’m worried about the bills.
HUSBAND: It wasn’t my idea to buy the new car.
Habitually reacting to your partner without anger management says:
Your need for attention makes me angry.
I don’t respect you.
I don’t value you or this relationship.
I want to hurt you.
I want to drive you away.
One thing I have noticed in my years of practice is that couples often use their partner as a convenient whipping post for things in their life they are not satisfied with. It can become very easy to use the five anger management reactions described here as a way to lay that blame on someone. While they may bring you some satisfaction in the short run, they have been scientifically shown to be very toxic to a relationship and if you use consistently use them your marriage will be very short lived. If you find yourself in this position you may want to consider an anger management class or consider marriage counseling.
Watch Your FREE Introductory Anger Management Class, Link on the Home Page!