All too often, people grow up in homes with too much anger. Frequent anger is a problem, even if it isn't violent. Any anger that conveys "You are not OK," or "You are not safe," is problematic. All forms of anger become increasingly problematic with frequency and/or intensity.
Anger can be directed at a partner and/or children. The intensity of anger tends to develop gradually over time. It can start with too much telling other people what to do, insistence that someone did something wrong, too much blame, and a lot of criticism. You then might see loud yelling, name-calling, or cursing (this is verbal abuse). Once things escalate past that point, there is usually violence involved towards either objects or people (this is physical abuse).
People who are effected by this anger find themselves coping to minimize the behavior that they cannot control.
"He's just stressed out" "If I just did what they wanted me to do, the violence would stop" "I can't live without her"
These statements could be a sign of denial, which calms someone by telling them that the anger isn't really a problem.
What can you do if there is too much anger in your family?
The first step could be to journal the instances of anger you witness over a period of several days. This could give you clarity about the anger patterns, such as, when it occurs, what triggers it, and what is gained from it. You should also try to leave the situation or change the topic. Explain to the person that you will be discuss the situation once it can be talked about calmly. Be clear that you will only interact with calm tones.
If you find yourself getting increasingly angry, try to exit the situation as soon as you begin to feel worked up. Try to calm down and then return to address the situation with a soft tone. You can look to solve the problem instead of criticizing or blaming someone.
Anger is a stop sign.
It is trying to warn you that there is a problem. Do not proceed with the conversation until you or your family member has calmed down, talking cooperatively, and toward the goal of solving the problem.
If you are experiencing domestic violence, you can call the domestic violence hotline @ (800) 799-SAFE, where advocates are available 24/7. All calls are free and confidential. You can also receive the same support through live chat services - click here.