What to Do if Your Partner Shows Signs of Anger and Aggression

If you’ve been with your partner for awhile, there’s no doubt you’ve seen a whole spectrum of their emotions (and there’s a good chance they’ve seen yours, too). And in a healthy relationship, you should be able to respectively work out whatever differences may arise without it devolving into anger and resentment. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. And while we’re all human, you may be reasonably troubled if you’re finding your partner is showing patterns of anger and aggression toward you.

If you’re worried about your partner’s angry outbursts, here’s what you should do.

Create boundaries

stressed couple

Stressed couple | Tomwang112/iStock/Getty Images

Setting boundaries may seem unnecessary (your partner knows you inside and out, after all), but it’s important in maintaining a healthy relationship, no matter who you are. Break the Cycle notes when setting these boundaries, communicate with your partner what you want, what your values are, and where your limit is — and they can do the same for you. Not only does doing this cultivate a respectful environment, but you can communicate exactly how you feel during their bouts of anger. Additionally, you can say when your personal boundaries have been crossed by their aggression.

Boundaries aren’t meant to be the ball and chain of your relationship. Instead, they should help your self-esteem grow — and they can help you understand yourself and your partner more.

Disengage when they become angry

It’s tempting to yell back when your partner gets angry, but it’s wise to refrain. Instead, aim to neutralize the heightened emotions in the situation. GoodTherapy notes yelling at an already aggressive partner can escalate the situation — and they’re not going to become more cooperative as a result. Instead, wait for them to calm down so you can talk out the dispute in a respectful manner.

Margaret Paul, Ph.D., also tells mindbodygreen that disengaging from an angry conversation is a sign of respect for yourself. Retaliating or shutting down emotionally may be signs you’ve given up completely.

Cultivate a compassionate environment

Couple talking outdoors in a park

Couple talking outdoors in a park | AntonioGuillem/Getty Images

It’s important to note why people get angry in the first place. GoodTherapy explains anger often comes from one person feeling like they’re unappreciated or not being heard. If you can create an environment between you and your partner that encourages good listening, compassion, and understanding, then you may also find that the anger disappears.

The publication also notes that validation is important here. Validating someone doesn’t necessarily mean you’re agreeing with everything they say, but it does involve considering their perspective and trying to understand the situation from their point of view. If both parties can actively do this, it’s likely there will be less aggression over all.

Assert your self-worth

It can be easy to lose yourself when you’re feeling like there’s a lot of tension in your relationship — but it’s important to remember, and assert, your self-worth to your partner. Know that all feelings involved are valid, and hear yourself out if something seems off. When your partner is in a calmer state, try bringing up your triggers and frustrations with them in a way that’s productive.

If the situation is becoming too much for you to handle, don’t forget that reaching out for help is also a good plan. Couples’ therapy can help you get opinions from an objective point of view that neither you or your partner can offer.

If the anger becomes routine, consider leaving the relationship

Two friends hugging together

Two friends hugging together | UberImages/iStock/Getty Images

There are situations when anger can lead to abuse, and if you find you’re walking on eggshells around your partner or completely altering your lifestyle to avoid their rage, it may be time to leave the relationship altogether. If you’ve already asserted to your partner that you need to be treated with respect and they fail to do that, then you cannot force them to learn compassion. Instead, the best thing you can do for yourself is start fresh in a different situation.

If you’re ready to leave, reach out to those close to you for support. They’ll be able to help you make the transition, and they’ll also give you the love and respect you deserve. You certainly don’t have to go at it alone.

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