Christian Couples Anger Management
God's Word on Anger
My dearly loved brothers, understand this: Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for man’s anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness.
But now you must also put away all the following: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth.
Impact on a Relationship
If you or someone you love struggles with anger management issues, now is the time to take action. Unaddressed anger issues can have lasting effects on a person’s relationship with God and on one's physical health.
Furthermore, anger issues can be extremely damaging for a relationship. Intimacy requires emotional and physical safety. It is hard to feel safe if you experience your partner as aggressive and constantly feel that you have to walk on egg shells.
COMMON CAUSES OF ANGER
Those who struggle with anger probably have only a rudimentary understanding of what causes the angry feelings. Often, those who struggle with aggression believe that the anger is justified. Even though they may reluctantly admit that they may be partially at fault but the real problem is somebody else's fault.
It is extremely helpful to flip this mindset on its head and consider whether the source of their anger comes from within rather than from an external source.
Here are a few common internal causes of anger:
Sign of Injustice
Anger can be a sign that you have found something or someone worth fighting for. Anger is a great motivator to do something about the injustices in the world.
Sexual slavery is a horrible injustice and being angry about it may drive you to do something about it. Even the Lord Jesus became angry and overturned the tables of the money changers who had set up shop in the temple.
Anger can be healthy and used to protect your own rights and the rights of others. Yet, how that righteous anger is channeled must be constructive and expressed with discernment.
Deep Emotional Wounds
The root of uncontrollable anger often lies in deep, hidden emotional pain arising from feelings of shame, abandonment rejection, fear, loneliness, loss, and sadness. Anger then becomes a coping mechanism, a way of keeping others at a distance so you do not have to feel those deeper painful feelings.
Lack of Emotional Vocabulary
Anger often stands in for other emotions which may be sitting silently right below the surface. A partner may struggle to express emotions because sharing emotions was never modeled in childhood and there is no easily accessed vocabulary. Often, this pattern is locked in during childhood when expressing vulnerable emotions resulted in ridicule or shame; thus, expressing emotions as adult feels like speaking a second language.
Aggression Modeled by Caregivers
People with anger issues typically have caretakers who used anger to deal with frustrations and disappointment. Fits of rage, physical abuse, shaming, name-calling, or even yelling may have been a part of every day life. These patterns which are set at an early age must be acknowledged and healed for a couple to constructively work on healing the patterns of aggression in a current relationship.
Consider the following ways of addressing needs in a relationship:
Passivity is when I sacrifice my needs for you. This creates passive aggressiveness.
Aggression is when I sacrifice your needs for mine.
Assertiveness is when I can hear and respect your needs and also clearly and kindly share my needs, and then work together for both of us.
Our goal in couples therapy is to teach you to assert yourselves without running over your partner's equally important needs.
Unaddressed Other Issues
Anger may be a sign of other issues such as physical struggles, depression, anxiety, addiction, financial struggles, sexual disconnect, parenting discord, or a host of other issues. These issues must be addressed to take the pressure off of the couple at the same time the anger management work is done.
Our Approach to Anger Management
Although our approach is always customized to the dynamic of the couples, our steps for healing include:
allowing you and your partner to understand triggers to anger outbursts and build a shared plan for when triggers occur,
teaching you ways to manage your anger in the moment (timeouts, prayer, journaling, exercise, self-soothing) ,
understand your anger processing style (spewers, leakers, or stuffers) and what to do about it,
helping you understand the deeper problems underneath the anger (see the list above),
give you structured tools to communicate so you can feel heard and understood when talking about the triggering topics, and
actually build a plan to address the items underneath the anger.
Learning to appropriately express your anger to yourself, your partner and to God can be incredibly freeing and can transform your marriage.
At the Christian Couples Counseling Center, we understand the difficulty for a couple to work through anger issues and promise to create a safe place for your shared healing.