Are you drained from being the target of your angry partner’s criticism, complaints, and rage?
How many times have you been embarrassed by your partner’s unpredictable outbursts or exasperated by his or her dramatic retreat into sullen silent treatment?
Do you find yourself matching your partner’s snarky and sarcastic tone or avoiding contact when his or her mean streak starts to show?
If days spent biting your tongue, stuffing your feelings, or anxiously contemplating counterattacks are testing your sanity, you may need a few techniques to help you manage life with a person whose temper is out of control.
1. Prioritize your own safety. Never allow yourself to be abused. No matter how angry your partner gets, verbal, mental, and physical abuse are never okay.
2. Seek to understand your partner’s anger without engaging it. Is there a message in there? It may bring you solace to know that underneath it all, your partner may be communicating something important. Throw out all the angry blustering to seek any morsel of truth or point of concern. When your partner calms down, compassionately communicate that you heard him or her and offer to calmly work through the issue.
3. Don’t take the bait. Forget about trying to control and confront your partner. Reasoning with rage is rarely effective. Well-timed feedback is the better course.
4. Don’t blame yourself for your partner’s anger problem. Don’t allow your self-worth to get mixed up in your partner’s complaints and negative commentary. Despite what your partner says, it’s really not about you. Nothing you do, change, or become will assuage the anger issues. The anger is his or her problem to resolve.
5. Check in with reality. What was it your partner said that caused him to lose it? Why was it she needed to scream and yell? Write it all down. When you see your partner’s anger in black and white, you’ll be able to examine the incidents with a bit of emotional distance. You may get a clearer picture of what is valid and what isn’t. You don’t have to get sucked in.
6. Define your limits. You have every right to calmly state what you won’t tolerate. Your partner may try to use anger to manipulate and tantrums to force your hand. Change the game by respectfully sharing what you will no longer accept. Share that your relationship is important to you, but so is your own mental health and happiness.
7. Stay civil and respectful. The high road is usually the best path for preserving your own peace of mind. You’ll feel better about yourself if you manage interactions with graciousness, respect, and dignity.
8. Meditate, pray, journal. Give yourself a mental break. Soothe your mind, concentrate on your own feelings, value peace and introspection.
9. Take care of your body. It’s hard to cope with anything or anyone if you aren’t eating and sleeping well. Exercise is also an effective stress-reliever.
10. Feed your mind with friendship. Make sure your corner is filled with people who love and support you. Non-judgmental encouragement and perspective is vital nourishment for your mental state during tough times. Resist isolation. Reach out to others often.
11. Seek professional help. If love is a constant battlefield, you may need a neutral mediator to alleviate depression, tame anxiety, and expedite peace. A counsellor may be the resource you need to facilitate deeper understanding, mutual relationship satisfaction, and help you facilitate a more secure bond as you move forward.