Two weeks is enough, I heard myself saying to my spouse on the phone. This was getting hard and triggering all kinds of angry feelings. I was alone again in this marriage. I could just feel the back of my neck tightening when he said there were no truckloads back to Colorado.
Connection Through Anger in Marriage
It sounds so stupid as I write it down, but it is true. My husband and I connect through anger. If we are angry, we know: 1) the other person is still there, 2) we still have emotions for each other, 3) you can’t get super close to an angry person.
Connecting through anger does just that, keeps us connected with just enough rope to hang ourselves. It all stems from fear. The fear is:
If I really connect with you through tenderness and joy, then I have exposed my soft underbelly and you might just bite it or worse yet, not notice.
But how can you not notice me being angry? I get large and loud and you acknowledge me. That way I know you are there and you know I am there. We never really have to be vulnerable. Anger also covers the feelings of hurt, fear or loneliness
The Damage of Marriage Connection Through Anger
- Deeper Loneliness
- Unresolved problem
- A poor example for children
- Relationship based on fear
- No rest in the relationship
- Constant power struggle
If showing your heart may cause you to be seen as the problem in the family, why do it? Plus, anger is familiar and safe. It also makes the other member of the family go away. And then, we wonder why we are lonely in a marriage or family.
Anger Increases the Feeling of Being Alone
Harboring anger isolates. Displaying anger pushes people away immediately. Anger stops intimacy. Anger is not a primary emotion. Anger is a defensive emotion that keeps us from being vulnerable. It is the bodyguard of emotions.
Without vulnerability, isolation becomes the norm. Although we think anger is a connection; it is really just shoving vulnerability.
Tools to Connect Beyond the Anger
Slow down the harsh start-up words, demands and commands instead just be nice. How? Start with yourself, say nice things to yourself.
- Stop Asking Why
Why is combative. Why puts people on the defensive. Do you really want to know why? Or, is what you really want to know is more about the situation. Instead of why try “tell me more”.
- Manage yourself-this is what we did in this last podcast
H.A.L.T. Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired are you feeling any of these. It is time to do a little self-care.
- Stick with the Original Emotion
Be brave, acknowledge you are sad, hurt, disappointed, rejected. Don’t mask your true feelings with anger. Take responsibility for first emotions and share with your marriage partner.
- If your partner is angry with you, offer to help with something that is happening at the moment.
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