The Secret Meaning of Anger in Relationships

The Secret Meaning of Anger in Relationships
Few live with a clone who can read the mind. Therefore most people in a relationship who disagree do so to communicate their feelings and pave the way for compromise and change. However, when anger is always present during a “discussion,” do you know that anger could signal sadness?

It is important to know the difference. Anger can choke off communication. In addition, anger can disguise a lack of personal empowerment. On the other hand, sadness can signal that it is time to climb that slippery slope of self-esteem and assume responsibility for personal happiness.

Sadness in a relationship is often easier for the other person to cope with than anger. The person you live with, who cares about you, will try to remedy the situation by understanding what you are experiencing. However, anger often degenerates into a shouting match and this person can’t even hear you anymore. You are out of relationship rhythm and therefore lose the common ground to work things out.

However, many who feel angry along with a simmering resentment don’t realize that they are really sad according to Dr. Keith Sanford’s study in the Journal of Family Psychology, “The Communication of Emotion During Conflict in Married Couples.” Sanford explains, “If a couple falls into a climate of anger, they tend to continue expressing anger regardless of how they actually feel . . . It becomes a kind of a trap they cannot escape.” How difficult to deal with two emotions one layered on top of the other! Anger makes sadness more difficult to perceive.

The next time you are angry, try this checklist to distinguish what is truly bothering you:
  • Are you really angry, or do you feel sad that you allowed yourself to be hurt?
  • When you feel angry, do you feel so angry that there are tears in your eyes?
  • Do you find yourself always criticizing this person?
  • When you fail at something do you feel inadequate?
  • Do you feel if you say no to a friend, you will not be well-liked?
  • Do you speak on the phone to a family member, or friend, even if it is not a good time for you?
  • Do you experience physical aches and pains that come and go?
  • Do you feel if you revealed the truth, for example, that you are being taken advantage of, that you are showing weakness?

For more information on managing your stress and reclaiming your life read my book, Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life. To listen to archived radio shows with guest experts visit Turn On Your Inner Light Radio Show

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