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How many times has it happened to you that in a fight or argument, you end up saying exactly what you should not say to your partner? This is what occurs when your emotions—especially your anger—take over you. Ladies, while disagreement in a relationship is inevitable, anger is not. The thing about fighting is that, as frustrating as it may feel when it’s actually happening, if handled in a healthy way, the resolution may really bring you closer to your relationship. But, this is not to say that you should stop fighting with your partner. Instead, you need to learn ways to control your anger in a relationship during or after a fight.
If you’re having a tough time controlling your temper or anger towards your partner, we’ve got your back. Health Shots spoke to Dr Sonal Anand, Psychiatrist, Wockhardt Hospitals, Mira Road, Mumbai, who helped us understand how to deal with anger in a fight.
When you’re angry, you must have noticed your breathing gets quicker and shallower. So, the best and quickest way to improve your control over your temper is to take deep breaths. Dr Anand says, “By focusing on your own heartbeats and breathing you can recognize your own meltdown features and become aware of your emotional state.” So, to calm your body and reduce anger, belly breathing for a few minutes is recommended.
You can try the 10-second rule. What’s it? Well, it’s about taking a 10 seconds gap before replying or choosing your course of action during a fight. Many times, things said in anger hurt the other person the most, even though they were not intended. So, ask for a timeout rather than banging on the door or puffing away. According to Dr Anand, “You can also distract yourself by drinking a glass of water or going to another room in order to avoid escalating tempers.”
When you and your partner are having a disagreement, sometimes you may feel the urge to slam a door in their face and give them the silent treatment. However, doing this is the worst thing you can do because while it may briefly settle you down, it is likely to make you feel more anxious and angry. “You may require some time to gather yourself and collect your thoughts, but don’t make it prolonged and give the silent treatment,” says Dr Anand. Instead, express your issues, concerns, and observations in a non threatening manner. Communication through the proper channels can help with healing.
Is it displaced anger or trust issues that are bothering you? Dr Anand says, “Cognitive restructuring about negative situations can help in developing a different perspective and modifying thoughts in a positive manner.” Well, it is a technique that helps people change the way they think, and this technique is especially used when the person is stressed or angry. For that, you can take help from your partner and can work together towards finding a practical solution or replacing stress producing thoughts with more balanced thoughts.
Accept that everyone is not perfect. Accept your own mistakes and accept that you can forgive your partner’s mistakes as well. Use humour, talk it out, be assertive in problem solving. Focus on previous strong emotions and how your bond has become stronger with time. Remember, that owning your issues and accepting it is half the battle won.