Understanding Your Partner’s Anger Issues and What You Can Do to Help

Key Takeaways

  • Uncontrolled, intense, or inappropriate Anger is a common issue, affecting about 8% of adults in the United States. Understanding the nature, causes, and possible solutions to Anger issues is the first step in dealing with them.
  • If your partner has Anger issues, ensure your safety first. If needed, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233).
  • Anger can be categorized into four types: assertive, aggressive, passive-aggressive, and suppressive. Only assertive Anger is healthy. Signs of unhealthy Anger include intimidation, manipulation, threats, or physical harm.
  • Addressing the underlying problem is crucial in managing Anger issues. A treatment plan might include Individual Therapy, Group Therapy, Couples Therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes.

Everyone feels angry from time to time, but some people experience an intense rage that goes uncontrolled. This unhealthy type of anger is quite common. In fact, roughly 8 out of 100 adults in the United States have uncontrolled or intense anger. What happens if one of those eight is your boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse?

These relationships can be complex and difficult to navigate. It’s hard to balance your desire to help them and your need for safety. The first step to take is to get a better understanding of anger issues, their causes, and possible solutions.

How Do I Know If My Partner Has Anger Issues?

Generally speaking, there are four types of anger that people express:

  • Assertive
  • Aggressive
  • Passive-Aggressive
  • Suppressive

Only assertive anger is healthy.

Aggressive, passive-aggressive, and suppressive types of anger are all unhealthy in different ways. If your partner intimidates, mocks, manipulates, threatens, or physically harms you when angry, this is unhealthy anger. If you’re scared of your safety when your partner is angry, they probably have aggressive anger. However, sometimes passive-aggressive anger behavior can be demeaning as well.

People with healthy anger:

  • Are honest about their feelings
  • Avoid threats, humiliation, or intimidation
  • Do not blame others for their feelings
  • Address others with respect, even when they disagree
  • Try to resolve conflict

4 types of anger

A Guide to Dealing With a Partner with Anger Issues

Learning how to help a partner with Anger issues is challenging, but overcoming it is not impossible. Follow these eight steps to make dealing with an angry spouse easier, so you can live a life free from conflict.

Educate Yourself

Firstly, try to understand the reasons behind your partner’s Anger. Education about causes of anger issues can give you the tools to handle challenging situations, thereby reducing tense situations. Perhaps your partner is living with a Mood Disorder, or maybe they are suffering from Depression or Anxiety. The more knowledge you have about the condition they are living with, the better equipped you will be to support them.

Understand Their Triggers and Self-Reflect

Dealing with an angry spouse requires introspection as much as it involves knowing their triggers. Self-reflection helps you understand how you react and interact with your spouse, so you can respond calmly in tense situations. Understanding their triggers will help you anticipate and navigate situations that could cause a flare-up. Different triggers result in different types of anger behavior, which include passive aggressive behavior, verbal anger, abusive anger, judgemental anger, etc.

Start the Conversation When Your Partner Is Calm

Discussing your partner’s Anger issues when they’re in the throes of rage is unproductive and potentially dangerous. Instead, approach them during a calm moment. This setting encourages open, non-defensive dialogue about their Anger, its impacts, and potential strategies for management. Doing so will make dealing with an angry person in a relationship less confrontational and more solution-oriented.

Seek to Influence, Not Control or Change Them

It’s essential to remember that you cannot control your partner’s emotions or actions. However, you can influence their choices by expressing your feelings and setting boundaries. Attempting to change your partner can breed resentment and resistance, hindering progress. Rather, provide support and encouragement as they make strides in managing their Anger issues.

Get Professional Help

Find support with a LifeStance provider if you need help in managing these issues. Book an appointment and access the expert help you need to return to a place of peace within your relationship. A trained therapist can work with your partner to manage their impulsive behaviors through treatments such as Psychotherapy or Couples Therapy.

When Anger Turns to Violence

Domestic violence statistics published by the National Domestic Violence Hotline show that Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) affects more than 12 million people every year. People who struggle with anger issues may not always exhibit violence towards their partner. However, if they do, it is crucial to address this matter promptly.

Relationships require mutual respect, trust, and consideration. But what if one of the partners battles uncontrollable Anger and impulsivity? A study from St. John’s University highlights how higher levels of partner Anger can be associated with greater instances of both physical and psychological IPV. While Anger doesn’t always lead to aggression, the added element of impulsivity can contribute to the likelihood of IPV perpetration.

Most importantly, ensure your physical and emotional safety. You can’t help anyone if you are not safe. Get help. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233) to connect with resources that can help you.

The Role of Impulsivity in Anger Management

Impulsivity, often seen in people with anger issues, is the tendency to act without forethought. It’s a contributing factor to why some instances of Anger lead to aggression. While everyone gets angry, not everyone has the urge to react impulsively. This difference is due to various factors such as upbringing, exposure to violence, or even neurological factors.

One can be impulsive and angry without engaging in violent behavior. Yet, the above study reveals that higher impulsivity levels are associated with greater perpetration of psychological IPV. Impulsivity, coupled with Anger, can lead an individual to act harmfully toward their partners. IPV, otherwise known as domestic violence, is a crime in the United States.

Knowing When to Draw the Line

Throughout our lives, we experience ups and downs, challenges, and joys. In the throes of a difficult life situation, people may be quicker to Anger than usual. Having patience for your partner throughout hard times in life can strengthen your bond and build your ties together, but there comes a point when you need to put yourself first.

If your partner is physically violent or consistently emotionally volatile, distance yourself from this person, and reach out for support. Look out for any of these signs of domestic violence to protect yourself. Your own well-being is paramount.

Don’t go through it alone. Our providers can help.

Authored By 

LifeStance Health
LifeStance Health

LifeStance is a mental healthcare company focused on providing evidence-based, medically driven treatment services for children, adolescents, and adults suffering from a variety of mental health issues in an outpatient care setting, both in-person and through its digital health telemedicine offering.