Quarreling is not one of our favorite pastimes. In a previous relationship, now more than 20 years ago, I was allowed to experience the destructive side of arguing and anger when this became cross-border on both sides. Because yes, ultimately that destruction led to the disappearance of self-image and to a separation. How can arguing and anger be good for your relationship or for yourself?
A few examples:
- Anger as a path to life energy
Nothing is what it seems. Anger is very human and a normal emotion. Anger hides an enormous power and life energy. If you are used to adapting to your partner and always putting your own desires aside, it can happen that anger suddenly overwhelms you enormously. If you dare to admit that, you discover the added value of anger. Finally you dare to show yourself!
- Anger as a message from your limits
A person only gets angry when someone goes beyond your limits. After all, if you agree with what is happening, there is nothing wrong. Your feelings of anger say everything about the frameworks within which you want to live. Where are your limits? What do you go for and what do you reject? If you are never angry, you may adjust yourself too much to someone else’s wishes. Or that you are completely happy in the way you have designed your life, of course :).
- Your body as a guide to emotions
Your body sends out very clear signals, sometimes even before you realize it. The expressions “say what you have on your heart” or “spit your gall,” or “have something on your liver” refer to a connection between emotions and your body. Stored emotions cause your body to block and in the worst case you get sick. Listen to the signals from your body and make sure you ventilate your anger or irritation. Preferably in an effective way of course. Investigate what the anger wants to make clear to you!
- No anger without security!
If you are afraid to express your anger or negative feelings, this says something about your sense of security in a relationship. If you do not feel safe, you do not dare to express yourself and fear will stop you. Fear of being yourself, fear of showing what really lives in you, fear of the future or condemnation of the other. If you dare to argue in your relationship, you feel safe enough to express yourself.
- Anger as the opening for conversation
If, after a long time of silence, you finally explode and end up in a fight, make sure you cool down again. During a fight it is impossible to listen carefully to each other. Often you are only concerned with what you finally want to make clear to your partner and usually it is about something you do not want. After a period of cooling (which can also be hours) it is good to start a new conversation with the aim of really hearing and acknowledging the other person. What is it really about? What is the underlying message of your anger? Where are your desires?
What is anger about?
Of course there is also a downside to the usefulness of arguing and anger. It doesn’t work if you stick to the same pattern and are just repeating your message without actually hearing or acknowledging the other. Before you know it you end up in a power struggle. Especially when it comes to things that hardly matter: the cap of the toothpaste or the towels that are not folded correctly.
As soon as your quarrels continue to be about that, it is time for further investigation. Power struggle is about wanting to keep control and always says something about an underlying pain that is not recognized. What is your actual pain? In what are you not seen or heard?
If an argument becomes destructive …
Quarrels become destructive the moment you say things that you don’t mean, but that you only say to hurt the other. Anger has taken possession of you instead of experiencing anger as an emotion. If this happens you can be sure that it is your inner child that speaks for you.
In every person is a hurt little girl or boy who has not yet learned how to channel feelings and who responds from a survival mechanism. A mechanism that probably helped you as a child to survive, but which is no longer effective.
Embrace the child within yourself, give it all the love it has missed and go inside to feel what you need. Because there is a need under every negative emotion. Investigate this. The book is a must for reading Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg. You have feelings but you are not your feelings. You are much more than that!
Repetition of the past
Often what happens in the now is a trigger of something from the past. It stirs up old pain of not being seen, not being heard, or being excluded. If you have the cause of your old pain in sight, and you can separate this from what is happening in a relationship, you are already a long way off. Sometimes that is only possible through insight. Sometimes help from outside is needed to achieve that insight.
If you are angry because of jealousy, you can be the boss in the online jealousy course, and you will investigate this yourself. But a normal therapy consultation is of course also possible. Do you want to do something about your impulsive behavior of anger right away? Then literally count to ten, breathing in five counts deep and five counts out. Breathing clears the way in your body.
Compassion and self-compassion
Connect with your feelings of compassion, for your partner and for yourself. Self-compassion is feeling love for the way you act, often born out of need. No person is perfect, not you and not your partner. Just like your partner, you are looking for happiness in this life. Forgive yourself for what you have consciously done to yourself and to others and forgive yourself that you have come to believe that you are not good as you are. You are completely ok as you are. Every day is a new chance to do things differently.
Break through patterns
If you are unable to break through destructive patterns of arguments and if you just keep blaming, it is time for action. Your no or threat is worth nothing if you dare not act accordingly. Threat of leaving someone if he or she is not … nothing helps if you stay and continue to complain. Take action and break the pattern by reacting completely differently than you are used to. If you are unable to step out of a destructive relationship pattern on your own, ask for help.
You have to do it yourself, but you don’t have to do it alone! A relationship coach can help you to look in the mirror again and show you what you overlook. You are worth it! Please contact us.
I have tried so many things, but …
If you have already tried everything, you know that it is nonsense to react so violently to certain people or events, you really understand how it all works because you have already done so much coaching or therapy, attended workshops and raised awareness … but your feelings are and remain too overwhelming and your head and heart are not aligned …
… then it may be that other things play a role and that your feelings have nothing to do with the here and now but with a very distant past, or perhaps even with past lives. I can perhaps help you to remove this old energy from your body, so that you can take your step towards inner freedom and you can feel free to react as you please: from your heart. Maybe a Trauma Liberation Intensive is something for you. You can read more about it here.