Anger Management for Couples
Anger itself is neither good nor bad. It’s just a signal that something is bothering you. We all need to listen to that signal and learn from it.
Sometimes, however, anger can become a destructive force in any committed partnership or marriage. It can also become a stubborn habit. Most frequently, anger leaks out when a partner tries to communicate their needs. Their partner never hears what the person intended! They only hear the anger which causes emotional distance. Emotional distance can really move into your relationship and stay. Partners start living separate lives, because when they are together there is either arguing or stony silence. If you relate to this, be sure to seek couples therapy and begin the healing process.
You can call me at (415) 999-4414 to discuss your situation.
I work with the wide range of anger issues that couples bring in ranging from:
- anger is expressed insensitively, without regard to partner’s feelings
- hostile communication
- passive aggressive behavioral patterns
- repressed anger… interestingly, it is couples who avoid talking about their anger and frustrations that create a ticking time bomb in the marriage.
- domestic violence (physical, verbal, emotional or sexual abuse)*
I use advanced healing strategies for anger for couples recovering from difficult situations like infidelity, addiction or financial betrayal, etc.
Recovery may mean learning to:
- Engage in a dialogue, learning to play the roles effectively of both speaker and listener.
- Be aware of what you are feeling and be able to label it, i.e. sad, hurt, disappointed.
- Be committed to transforming your style of anger expression from disrespectful or overwhelming, to regulated and respectful.
- Learn how to make your communication intriguing to your partner, not something that makes them feel distant and want to distance.
- Practice self-calming techniques.
- Not to let things build up, react just out of habit or avoid.
- Track the thoughts you repeatedly think that are generating the anger, and find more balanced ways of thinking. This is called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
- And various other steps that a particular person may need, i.e. such as treatment of depression, which sometimes masquerades as anger.
The most common scenario I see is frequent angry arguments that couples have a hard time stopping. I work with couples to get out of that pattern by working on many levels. There is the level of the communication, the words, the need to express oneself in a non-blaming respectful way, but there is also the level of working with one’s expectations of your partner. Often couples can be challenged by the latter, but only see their problem as a communication problem.
A major focus of my couple work is to help individual partners be able to respect their own needs and desires and communicate those needs to their partner. Often we start by first inviting your partner to share with you. When we give, we increase the chances we will receive. Learning to be a better partner is hard work, but in the end, very rewarding and empowering.
A Special Note about Abusive Behavior*
If you are experiencing any form of physical, emotional, verbal or sexual abuse by your partner, please be sure to tell me when you call. I am knowledgeable in these areas and can help. I will take special steps to address the abuse and support your partner, or yourself, to stop the abusive behavior. I have many tools in my toolbox to help with this, and many years of experience helping couples with this. Even if you are worried about talking about it, be sure to let me know about the abuse in our first phone call. We will discuss how to proceed from there.