How to Talk to a Loved One About Their Anger
Anger is a normal emotion; one that everyone experiences from time to time, and one that’s healthy when expressed appropriately. However, for some people, anger is an emotion they express far too frequently, and in harmful and hurtful ways. Their anger gets out of control, and begins to seriously affect their life negatively.
If you have a loved one whose constant outbursts of anger can make them unpleasant to be around, you may be wondering what, if anything, you can do. There are ways you can encourage your loved one to get help. The first thing you need to do is determine how serious their anger issue is.
Recognizing a Serious Anger Issue
While only a trained professional is able to make a diagnosis of an anger disorder, as the loved one of the person with anger problems, there are signs and symptoms you should be able to recognize. If you or others tend to avoid this person because of their angry outbursts, that is one sign of a serious anger issue. You may also be aware of other problems your loved one may be having such as trouble with the law, an inability to maintain steady employment, and broken relationships. If you believe your loved one may have a serious problem with anger, then your next step is to talk to them about getting some help.
Talking to Your Loved One About Their Anger
It will come as no surprise that you can expect the conversation to be tense and difficult. However, if you care about your loved one, care about their quality of life and you want to continue to spend time with them, it’s important to have this discussion.
First, plan out what you’re going to say. Be sure to rely heavily on using “I” statements to avoid them feeling defensive. For example, “it scares me when you yell” instead of “you’re always yelling about everything.”
Next, choose a good, positive time to talk about the issue. Make sure you and your loved one are as comfortable as possible. Be sure to remain calm when speaking to them, and don’t get angry yourself no matter how much they may try to provoke you to anger. Make what you have to say brief but succinct, and finish the discussion by offering to take them to an anger management group or workshop, or to help them find someone to talk to.
Ultimately it’s up to your loved one to seek help, or to continue with their path of self-destructive behavior. If your loved one gets angry and refuses to discuss the issue or seek help, then it’s up to you to create and enforce your own healthy boundaries of what you are and are not willing to tolerate. Once you set your boundaries, be sure to stick to them.
Are you or partner struggling with anger, and need help managing it? A licensed mental health professional can help. Call my office today and let’s schedule a time to talk.