What Is the Effect of Anger in Relationships?

B. Miller

The effect of anger in relationships is almost always a poor one. People who have an anger problem that they are not dealing with are more prone to lashing out at others, expecting the worst from people, and picking fights. If the situation escalates to violence, it can be much more dangerous, and even deadly. Even if this is not the case, this anger can destroy trust and communication, and in many cases will destroy relationships completely. People with anger issues should seek help from a qualified therapist in order to deal with the problem and repair their relationships.

People who harbor resentment towards others may just snap, or lash out.
People who harbor resentment towards others may just snap, or lash out.

In some cases, anger in relationships stems from a legitimate issue or problem, such as infidelity. In this case, expressing the anger in a healthy way and taking steps to resolve the problem can be quite beneficial in the long run. Anger is not always detrimental if it is expressed with care for the other person's feelings, and if it is not allowed to fester. Some couples or families find that marital or family counseling can be a good way to resolve anger and move past it with a new understanding of each other. If anger is expressed in an unhealthy way, however, problems will arise.

Difficulty with controlling anger can lead to high blood pressure in all parties involved.
Difficulty with controlling anger can lead to high blood pressure in all parties involved.

There are a number of different ways that anger in relationships may manifest. Some people will harbor resentment towards others, and will snap or lash out, but will not yell or fight. They may always assume the worst in other people. Others will pick fights, call people names, and yell in order to deal with any type of issue or conflict. Others may even get violent and abusive. All of these will cause damage to a relationship, but a physically abusive relationship is extremely dangerous, and it is important to seek help if this is occurring.

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Excessive anger in a relationship may lead to physical abuse.
Excessive anger in a relationship may lead to physical abuse.

The effects of these types of anger in relationships are both immediate and long-lasting. It is difficult to trust or communicate with a person who responds in anger most of the time, which can really begin to break down the relationship. People in these types of relationships, no matter whether they are romantic or platonic friendships, will often begin to withdraw from each other, and may even be led to cheat in certain situations. Over time, anger can erode the relationship to the point where it is no longer possible to maintain. People dealing with anger issues may find this repeating over and over again in their lives, that they cannot maintain a relationship; this is one of the reasons it is so important to seek help.

As communicating with someone who lashes out is difficult, anger in a relationship can cause problems to build up over time.
As communicating with someone who lashes out is difficult, anger in a relationship can cause problems to build up over time.

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Discussion Comments

mrwormy

I have to admit I had a real problem with anger management when I first got married. If I had a bad day at work, or some driver irritated me on the way home, or I got an unexpected bill in the mail, I'd take it all out on my wife. I'd yell at her for some minor little irritation, when in reality I was yelling at my boss through her.

We almost got a divorce because of my anger issues, but then I agreed to counseling. My counselor showed me how to compartmentalize my anger, so I wouldn't be taking out my workday frustrations on someone who had no control over them.

Buster29

I find that it's easy for me to apply my anger to other parts of the relationship that aren't actually problems. What I mean is that I will become angry about my partner's inability to pick up after herself, but then get just as angry about other things she does that really shouldn't bother me. If I don't get rid of the original anger, then everything else gets painted with the same brush. Once we've discussed the "picking up" issue, then everything else works out better, too.

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