How to deal with an aggressive partner: Tips for a healthy relationship

Dealing with an aggressive person can be quite challenging. Dating one may test your patience even more. But you can have a healthy relationship with an aggressive person too.
Tips to deal with aggressive partner
Know how to deal with an aggressive partner. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Natalia Ningthoujam Published: 11 Jun 2023, 16:30 pm IST
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Everyone wants to have a healthy relationship, but some end up in a toxic one. Some can be even aggressive partners, who will give demeaning remarks, verbally abuse or withhold money. Sometimes they even control personal choices of food and fashion sense. These signs of an aggressive person shouldn’t be ignored if you want your mental health to be in check. However, there are ways to deal with an aggressive partner.

To find out more about aggressive partners, Health Shots checked with Ludhiana-based wellness coach and relationship expert Aakriti Sethi. She says that often, people confuse anger with aggression. Anger is a natural feeling or an emotion. It can arise out of frustration, betrayal, injustice, being unheard, unseen or feeling threatened. Aggression, on the other hand, is a behaviour that is intended to cause harm or damage to oneself, others, or the environment. It can be physical, verbal, psychological and even cyber.

Different factors can contribute to the development of aggression. These include factors such as biological, psychological, and environmental.

• Biological factors include genetic predispositions, brain chemistry, and hormonal imbalances.
• Psychological factors include personality traits, emotional regulation skills and unhealthy coping mechanisms.
• Environmental factors include social and cultural influences, family dynamics, and exposure to violence or trauma.

aggressive partner
Being in a relationship with an aggressive person can be challenging. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Signs of having an aggressive partner

One of the main causes of aggression in relationships besides inherent elevated personality traits is the feeling of assuming power and threatening other, says Sethi. It is also the strength in recognizing that there is no excuse for a behaviour that’s intended to harm. Some signs that shouldn’t be ignored:

• Gossiping or spreading rumours
• Physical abuse
• Stopping the partner from getting a job or going to work, or to study
• Gambling with the shared money
• Non-consensual sex
• Violating personal boundaries
• Forcing the partner to drink or take drugs
• Threatening the partner to comply with their desire
• Stonewalling – being unresponsive purposely
• Asking the partner to stay away from their family members and friends
• Ridiculing the partner’s faith

Tips to deal with an aggressive partner

Managing a relationship with an aggressive partner can be quite challenging, but it’s not impossible.

1. Evaluate how healthy the relationship is for you

If it is healthy for you, then accept that the partner has an unhealed version of themselves that needs work. Work on your calm and encourage them by leading through example. It may be possible that they resist or laugh over your journey, but eventually, they will get along on the journey with you, says the expert.

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2. Accept the anger but pause the aggression

Acknowledge and validate that they may be angry because of an underlying feeling. This may make them feel heard and seen, which could deescalate the intensity. If not, refuse assertively to be a victim of their aggression.

3. Establish clear boundaries

Let your partner know what is not acceptable to you and re-iterate that there is no excuse for abuse. Having clear boundaries and listing a firm consequence to their actions can be helpful.

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4. Know your partner’s “hot buttons”

Recognizing their triggers is essential to make them feel safe and secure within the relationship. A healthy relationship thrives on knowing your partner’s triggers and supporting them with little moments of calm, peace, joy and affection.

5. Practice self-compassion

It can be extremely overwhelming to be with someone who is aggressive. So, practice self-compassion. You can channelize the comfort to yourself – nourish your mind, body, and soul with things that you like on daily basis. Be it going for a walk, cooking your favourite meal for yourself, hugging yourself or doing things that you love.

aggressive partner
Every relationship can work if you want it to work. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

6. Build your community

Banking on a community of your own can make you feel safe, help you to meet your needs, and feel healthy. Choose the size and type of people that make you feel good about yourselves. They can be your friend who accompanies you for a walk or a spiritual group, work friends or college friends.

7. Recognize and appreciate positive behaviour

When your partner makes progress towards healthier communication and conflict resolution, you must acknowledge it. Rewards and appreciation can lead to positive behaviours.

8. Seek support

It’s okay to ask for help. Don’t shy away from talking to a mental health professional, a legal authority, or a domestic violence helpline. Don’t wait for damage to be done.

If, after trying your best, there is no real change then think if it’s really worth it to be in the relationship.

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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