When it gets scary
When anger goes unchecked it can wound you, your boyfriend/girlfriend and your relationship. It can hurt innocent bystanders like children, and lead you to say or do things you later feel ashamed of.
Unchecked, anger can blind you to another point of view or your own role in a conflict. It can cause feelings of affection to fade away and invite violence.
Anger or conflict is getting out of hand when either person:
- seems overheated or out of control
- argues in a way that is going nowhere
- gets louder and angrier by the minute
- says extremely negative and hurtful things that they can't take back
- appears at risk of coming to blows
When conflict is getting out of control, terminate it. Use a prearranged signal or just say you're taking a time out. You can say you will continue the discussion at a later time. If possible, remove yourself from the immediate situation so you can cool off. Never block your partner from leaving or follow after.
Do things to soothe yourself. Resist the urge to engage in negative self talk that gets you more and more angry. Wait to get back together until you're both feeling normal.
When you are both ready, talk about what happened for both of you. Use communication skills to be sure you really understand each other.
Get help if you have a gut feeling that you're in over your head and can't handle things alone. You need help if you're irritable all the time and can't get a handle on it.
If the fighting is intense and frequent, or if there's physical violence of any type, you should step back and think. If you see a cycle of angry outbursts followed by feelings of remorse, this should be a cause for concern.