How to Communicate with Your Spouse when You’re Angry and Upset

When you’re angry, it can be difficult to communicate with your spouse. Whether you’re having marital problems or just having a bad day, it can be difficult to control your frustration and say the “right” thing. Anger, on the other hand, does not have to result in squabbles and shouting matches. You can figure out how to talk to your spouse about what’s bothering you and find a solution by staying calm and tuning in to how you feel.

1. Take a moment to collect yourself.

It is critical to respond calmly. A knee-jerk reaction is usually angry and harsh, which can irritate your spouse. Instead of reacting immediately, concentrate on remaining calm: take a few deep breaths and visualise a calm environment. This will assist you in not snapping at your spouse.

2. Take a break if you’re too angry to talk.

If you’re having trouble controlling your temper, it’s time to take a break. You won’t be able to have a constructive discussion if you can’t explain why you’re angry, or if you’re too angry to talk to your spouse calmly. Instead, tell your spouse that you need some time to calm down and that you will return to it later. You don’t have to solve every problem right away.

“Right now, I’m very upset, and I need to take a break to calm down. Can we return to this in an hour?”

“I don’t think we’re in the right frame of mind right now to have this conversation. Let us sleep on it and discuss it tomorrow.”

3. Identify the source of your anger.

It’s not always obvious why you’re angry. Check in with yourself to see what is truly bothering you. Is there anything else going on? Fear, sadness, isolation, or something else? Were you already frustrated or angry about something your spouse did, or were you upset about something else and took it out on them? You’ll be able to communicate more effectively if you can figure out what’s bothering you.

4. State clearly why you’re angry.

It is beneficial to share the source of your rage calmly. You won’t be able to find a solution if you suppress your emotions or give your spouse the cold shoulder. But you don’t have to yell at them to make your point; doing so will draw attention to your rage rather than the source of it. Explain why you’re upset in a calm voice: “I’m angry right now because .”

As an illustration: “I’m upset because you didn’t salt the walkway despite my request. I had to carry the baby in, and if I had slipped and fallen, we could both have been hurt.”

Keep an eye on your tone of voice and body language; these will have an impact on how your spouse reacts. Stop raising your voice if you catch yourself doing so. Take a deep breath or take a break to relax.

5. Be as specific as possible about it.

It’s critical to express all of your grievances. “I’m upset because…” frequently only scratches the surface of the problem. If there’s an underlying issue or a pattern that’s bothering you, it’s important to bring that up as well, so your spouse understands the full extent of your annoyance.

“I’m angry because you invited your mom over,” for example, isn’t very clear. “I’m angry because you invited your mother over, even though she insults me in front of you,” expresses the underlying issue.

6. Express your feelings using “I” statements.

Your spouse will understand how you’re feeling if you’re open about how you’re feeling. Statements like “You should know why I’m upset” only serve to stifle your emotions and may irritate your spouse. However, by using “I” statements, you can express how you feel or why your spouse’s actions bother you without making accusations or lashing out. You can use a “I” statement by saying something like, “When you , I feel , because .”

For example, you could say, “I’m deeply offended that you invited your mother over. She’s made it clear she doesn’t like me, and when you invite her to family gatherings, I get the impression you don’t care how she treats me.”

If your spouse did something that irritated you, discuss the behaviour rather than your spouse. Instead of saying, “You’re disrespectful,” say, “I feel very disrespected when I get home and you don’t look up from the TV.”

All-or-nothing language, such as “I always” or “You never,” can make your spouse feel disconnected. Avoid using these phrases as much as possible.

7. Speak kindly.

Even if you’re angry, your spouse deserves to be treated with respect. Sarcasm, insults, and the word “divorce” are all destructive verbal weapons in a marriage. No matter how angry you are, always be kind when speaking to your spouse.

You don’t have to put up with unkindness from your spouse either. Set limits if necessary: “Please treat me with respect.” If you start calling me names, I’ll have to stop talking until we’re both calm.”

8. Ask for your spouse’s perspective, too.

Your spouse must be able to express their point of view. When you’re angry, you might think your spouse is attempting to annoy you. Do you truly understand what your spouse felt or intended, or are you making assumptions based on your own rage? Inquire about your spouse’s point of view, and listen without interrupting or cutting them off. This will help you better understand each other.

For example, perhaps your spouse throws away food rather than saving leftovers. Instead of assuming they are wasteful, inquire as to why they do it. Perhaps they simply hadn’t considered storing leftovers.

Avoid accusatory questions by being patient and gentle. The distinction between “I want to understand why you do this” and “Why do you keep doing this?” is significant.

9. Be open to criticism from your spouse.

If your spouse brings up an issue, it is critical that you listen. They need you to listen and respond to what they’re saying, and saying things like “I couldn’t help myself” or “You’re too clingy” will make them feel ignored. Instead of brushing it off or assigning blame, take the time to truly listen to what your spouse is saying and validate their feelings.

For example, if your spouse expresses displeasure with how close you are to a friend, don’t immediately assume, “You’re being jealous and controlling.” Instead, inquire as to why they are concerned.

If what they said touched you, consider why. Perhaps you feel like you’re being watched, or you know you’re in the wrong but don’t want to admit it. 

10. Focus on solutions.

Marriage is about collaborating. You and your spouse will not always agree on everything, nor will you always be on the same side. However, you should make it your goal to find a solution that works for both of you. Find and agree on a common goal, then have an open discussion about what solutions you’d both be comfortable with and figure out how to get there.

For example, if you’re fed up with how much your spouse spends on groceries, set a budget together and look for coupons or discounts. If you’re upset because they never remember their chores, talk about making a chore list, developing a routine, and setting reminders.

However, don’t force a solution on your spouse. Collaborate to find something that will benefit both of you.

Remember to be flexible. You don’t have to “win.” Take a break from the discussion if you find yourself getting stuck on being “right” or having the last word.

11. Apologize if you’re harsh or snippy.

Marriage is not an excuse for bad behaviour. It is not uncommon to lose your temper with your spouse at times, but if you do, you should admit your mistake and apologise. All you have to do is say something like, “I’m sorry.” I’m extremely stressed and frustrated right now, and I’ve taken it out on you.”

Don’t say things like, “I’m sorry you feel that way,” or “I’m sorry for everything.” It’s a non-apology, and your spouse will be disappointed.

12. Continue to address issues directly.

Dropping hints or acting coldly isn’t going to help. Passive-aggressive behaviour will alienate your spouse, and the silent treatment (literally) says nothing about why you’re upset. Make it your goal to talk about your feelings, get your spouse’s perspective, and come up with constructive solutions.

Do not bring up the past or things that cannot be avoided. There’s nothing you can do about it, and it doesn’t solve the problem at hand.

13. Talk to a professional if anger is harming your marriage.

Anger that is intense, explosive, or violent is too much to handle on your own. If you are frequently angry with your spouse or have screaming matches with each other, or if you have an urge to physically or emotionally hurt your spouse, it is time to seek professional help. There are anger management specialists who can help you learn to cope with how you’re feeling. You and your spouse can also go to a couples therapist to work on repairing your relationship and communicating more effectively with each other.

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