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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,

I'm new here but I'm hoping you all can help me with something that's really been bothering me.

I've had anger issues since I was a teenager. This is something I've been aware of for many years and have taken various avenues toward fixing. I've gone to a counselor in the past and have actually completed an anger management course. My anger is much better now than it used to be but I still find that sometimes things just really anger me to the point of wanting to scream and yell.

The thing that I'm really starting to notice however is that its my wifes anger more often than not that actually makes me want to explode. She refuses to admit she has any sort of an anger problem. She never admits fault or apologizes.

I feel like its been getting worse recently. She gets angry with work and spends the majority of the day venting to me and her parents (I do mean the majority of the day). Sometimes this goes on for multiple days just from one thing at work that makes her unhappy.

We are currently in the process of switching banks because she got mad at the security policies of our current bank. We no longer shop at our regular grocery store because she had 1 bad experience. We haven't been to Walmart in 2 years because they did something she didn't like (thankfully I didn't like Walmart to begin with). The point is eventually were going to run out of places to shop, people to bank with, cell phone service providers, etc.

What I am afraid of is this anger issue hurting our marriage in the long term. We both have anger that we need to work out but without her even understanding she has a problem I feel like I can't help her. And its making me angry because she's constantly snapping at me (even when we're having a calm conversation), she's getting angry and venting for days, and her anger is determining where we shop/bank/etc.

When she gets angry she gets completely irrational and I have no idea what to do at this point. Has anyone had a similar experience? I don't want to sound like I'm blaming her for everything. I have my issues as well but I know that they need to be worked on and I have improved over the years. Hers seem to be getting worse.

I'm looking for advice on a few things:

  • How to make her understand she has a problem.
  • How to stay calm when she's taking her anger out on me.
  • How to keep this from hurting our marriage.
  • How to improve both of our anger issues in the long term.
Any advice may help. Thank you!
 

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You’ve both probably got pretty sensitive egos and weak personal boundaries. And you’re both using your anger to protect your egos. Read up on personal boundaries and ego defence mechanisms.

Think on it this way. Our ego values things about ourselves. Things like our integrity, credibility, calmness in a calamity, social skills, humour, dedication, work ethic etc. etc. When the things we value about ourselves are under attack (criticised, minimised, denied etc.), we start to defend our ego. A lot of people defend their ego by using anger and if they do this often it makes them an Angry Person. These people have usually been brought up by at least one but maybe two angry parents.

But there are other ways of defending our egos, take a look at http://talkaboutmarriage.com/mens-clubhouse/28845-defence-mechanisms-manning-up.html. Every time you feel under threat, you have at least 15 ways of responding, none of which includes anger!

Also look into personal boundaries as it is these which defend your values and hence your ego. Take a look at Finding Your N.U.T.S. and buy some other books on boundaries.

As far as your wife is concerned I don’t reckon you will change her “directly”. She has a “way of being” that works for her, believe it or not. And the more you try and get her to change, the more she will become like she is already.

But if you take the time to change and become a Calm Man even under the most severe provocation she may just respond to that and start working on herself.

You will know (your probably very sensitive) ego is under attack when you feel your anger rising. That is the time when you walk away and recall the at least 15 ways you could respond to the attack. Other good reads for you are Awareness (Anthony de Mello) and Emotional Intelligence (Daniel Goleman).
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Wow. That's one way I've never thought about it. It makes a ton of sense. I really appreciate your insight. I think it'll help a lot. I'll check out those links.
 
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