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Anger: the invisible toxin

Anger is particularly destructive in relationships. When we live in close contact with someone, our personalities, priorities, interests, and ways of doing things frequently clash.

Leandre Kurz from Let’s Talk Psychologists gives us some insight into the invisible toxin that lives in relationships.

Relationships are ongoing negotiations between individuals trying to live together and mutually meet each other’s needs. Dissatisfaction is bound to arise at some stage. The success of any relationship will depend on the ability of partners to renegotiate and find common ground in compromise. Anger is a common emotional response to dissatisfaction. Is this complex emotion adaptive and useful or maladaptive and detrimental to coping with the stressors encountered in relationships?

Anger, often an expression of disapproval of behaviour, disrespect, broken promises or an expression of disappointment and hurt, may result in aggressive verbal or physical exchanges. Anger has a negative impact on our psychological and cognitive mechanisms used to process information, generate response behaviours and therefore our ability to negotiate the terms of our relationships effectively.

The above-said anger is an antagonist to the commitment and relationship satisfaction. It is a maladaptive response and coping style as it results in aggression and it does not allow us to solve problems and come to solutions of compromise. Instead, it results in yelling, heightened emotions, miscommunication and partners experiencing resentment toward one another because of hurtful physical or verbal exchanges.

Take a deep breath. Remind yourself that anger is counterproductive to finding solutions. Everything you say should promote relationship growth and not destruction. Take a time out if it will allow you to better choose your words and response behaviours. Be kind.

“The best fighter is never angry”… Lao Tzu