How to Manage Anger in Relationships

Check out “The Dark Side of Anger: Every Couple Should Know” by Roberta Navarra, Psy.D., an article about how to manage anger when it surfaces in relationship. I have included four strategies that Dr. Navarra wrote about in his article. Please click the links below for the full article.


“When you notice that one or both of you seem to be flooded and overwhelmed, then it is important to agree to take a break from the conversation. This works best if both partners agree to a signal that it’s time to take a break from the conversation. This really works as a preventative strategy, before things escalate. One research study identified a 20-minute break on average for the parasympathetic anti-stress hormones to put the brakes on runaway emotions.

Once you both agree on how to signal a break, plan on doing anything that helps you to avoid “distress rehearsing thoughts,” playing over in your mind what just happened. Thinking about your partner and the conversation keeps the physiology going. Instead, read, take a walk, meditate, listen to the radio or podcast. Do anything that takes your mind off the incident.

After you are both calm enough to have a conversation, make sure you approach each other to try again. This time things are likely to go better when the mid-brain isn’t running things.

At some point, it can be very helpful to discuss what triggers might have been pushed. “I’m guessing my strong reaction might have something to do with usually feeling ignored as a kid. I hate that feeling.” This is the time for the partner to show compassion, not judgment. A great response would be to validate your partner’s vulnerability in sharing a trigger. “I can see why my not responding to your question could really trigger that feeling.”

Full Article:  – The Gottman Institute

Originally Posted:

The Dark Side of Anger: What Every Couple Should Know