How To Deal With A Partner With Anger Issues

Do you have a partner with anger issues? It adds an extra layer of difficulty to a relationship. Sometimes anger can derive from a bad childhood or bad familial relationships. Other times, it can be used as a form of control. It can be hard to genuinely love someone with anger problems since you might make excuses to stay when things get dangerous. These seemingly innocuous issues can easily lead to physical abuse. If your partner is starting to display signs that they have anger issues, here’s what to do.

  1. Try to control your own emotions. Consider anger to be like fire, and insults to be like kindling. The more you fight back and use your words, the worse it will escalate. Try hard to stay calm. Don’t let your partner provoke you to continue fighting. You might also want to practice talking calmly. Record yourself when they’re not around and see how you’re coming off. The right attitude can de-escalate a situation very quickly.
  2. Don’t put them down. The worst time to talk about someone’s anger issues is right in the midst of an anger issue. The best time to talk about them is when both of you are calm, and you know it won’t lead to a fight. While discussing the issue, be gentle. Don’t tell them how their anger is ruining the relationship. Instead, try something like “It upsets me when you get so mad. What should I do in a situation like that to help diffuse your anger?” Be understanding, and try to work as a team — especially if you’re in this for the long run and recognize that it won’t escalate into something worse.
  3. Take all slight pushes and shoves seriously. Speaking of “escalate into something worse,” note that your partner should never put their hand on you. Even if it doesn’t hurt, your partner may be testing the waters. The second they shove or get physical, you’re in danger. Find safe friends to talk to and don’t be afraid to leave the situation. If you feel fearful of your partner, try to call the police and get out of the house. This is behavior that should never happen, no matter what.
  4. See if they’re up for counseling. Counseling is great for plenty of reasons, and it can really strengthen the way you and your partner communicate with each other. If they’re up to giving it a shot, it’s an excellent sign that they recognize their behavior has become an issue. Having a third party can be beneficial towards making real change. It may also be good for you and your partner to go individually, just to try and make sure you’re the healthiest people you can be in the relationship.
  5. Witness how their parents talk to each other. Sometimes, people might think anger and extreme conversations are normal in a relationship. If their parents act the same way towards each other, it could have been learned. It’s possible their parents constantly yell but still have a loving and fulfilling relationship. And, that’s a better sign that your partner is normalizing the way they speak to you. If that’s the case — and it’s not a serious issue that can evolve into more — kindly telling them that it makes you uncomfortable would be a good way to get it to stop.
  6. Validate their emotions. It’s okay to be angry. Right now, there’s a lot to be angry about. But, it’s not okay to direct all of that anger out on your partner. Your significant other may need a new outlet to channel some of their feelings. If they’re into art, maybe buying some paint and a big canvas will help. If they’re a musician, maybe they can think up a new song that’ll help them better express their feelings. It’s important that they have a solution for their anger that they can be happy about.
  7. Try not to take it personally. If they’re raging on about work, they’re not angry at you — even though it can feel that way sometimes. Unless they start calling you stupid for not understanding their stress, note that you’re simply the listener here. You didn’t do anything wrong. That said, if they start getting catty towards you for no reason, that’s unhealthy and straight-up hurtful. And, it can lead to a huge decline in your partnership if it’s not dealt with.
  8. Have a firm idea of your boundaries. You can leave if you want to. This isn’t something you should feel obligated to address for the rest of your life. If your partner refuses to get help or claims they don’t have a problem, chalk it up to a compatibility issue. You should never reach a point where you feel uncomfortable or sad in your relationship. If enough is enough, you can say goodbye.
Karen Belz is a New Jersey native who is currently living in Maryland. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Communication with a focus in Broadcasting and Print Media Studies from Millersville University of Pennsylvania. Since graduating, she has written for sites like LittleThings, HelloGiggles, and Scary Mommy and is currently an e-commerce editor at Bustle.

When she's not writing, she enjoys making her phone run out of memory after taking too many photos of her dog. You can find her on Twitter @karenebelz or on Instagram @karenbelz.