You love them. You have an almost unbreakable attachment to them. You must have, because you stay and put up with their behaviour. That is the bottom line to living with someone who has anger issues.
They are either your child in which case you have, or try to have, unconditional love for them or they are your partner and you still see what attracted you to them in the first place. Either that or you are trapped.
We will address this at the end of this article but unconditional love is not sufficient to make this work and if you simply hang on in there you risk making yourself a victim.
Here are some of the more common pro’s and cons we hear from our clients victims. Please be aware the language in this article is clear and therefore may be experienced as quite harsh. I am simply stating facts.
High Standards – Having high standards can be a huge strength in someone. You will find they can be tough on themselves. They will see it as they are tougher on themselves than anyone else can be and that may be true.
|With high standards often comes a hugely judgemental and critical side which when expressed without a filter can be cruel and hurtful. Our clients often feel that since they are so tough on themselves it entitles them to be tough on others…normally those closest to them.|
Caring & compassionate – have you noticed when they are on form how caring your angry person can be? That is the most often cited characteristic we get from those that live with them.
|Neediness – They expect it back 3 fold and if they do not feel respected, loved, appreciated or listened to (just for starters) then there is hell to pay.|
Loyal– there is no one better to have on your side when you are up against it. They know what it is like to be in a fight. They know how to win and they will support you no matter what….right up until the moment when they suspect you do not deserve their loyalty.
|They expect your absolute commitment and loyalty back in return. No matter how stupid, aggressive or how many scenes they have caused in restaurants and how rude they have been to your childrens teachers. You must back them up.|
Competitive – being competitive can be a great asset in a partner and in life in general. This does not just apply to men.
|Cannot bear to lose and woe betide you if they see it as your fault that they lost.|
|Driven – another huge strength in this world where we all need to get up and and push for what we want to achieve.||They are rarely happy with what they achieve. As soon as they hit one peak it is not enough and they have to aim higher.|
|Scary – even if they are not exploding it is scary. That dark brooding sulking before the storm hits evokes fear in you, your kids and their employees.|
|Bullying – there is no avoiding this. If they express their anger in an unhealthy way and get away with it they are bullying. Be it by withholding affection, scaring you or criticising you or any of the other tactics they have. This is about them feeling powerful|
|Hypocritical – It is rare that our clients do not have this realisation about themselves. When they are angry they have one rule for them and another for everyone else.|
|Poor role models – our children learn most powerfully from role modelling. Angry parents are creating angry parents of the future because that is the way it is. In the other half of the partnership if you put up with this behaviour you are role modelling another part of the unhealthy equation….victimhood.|
You will have noticed the balance is on one side of this. That’s the way it is.
So what can you do when you live with an angry person?
Be clear about your boundaries – you need to be clear about what is and is not acceptable behaviour and you need to name it when it happens. You also need to be clear that you will not tolerate it and whatever sanction you decide is appropriate you must, must follow through. Empty threats simply prove to your angry person that they can get away with it and they will carry on.
Respect yourself – that is wrapped up in the statements above but goes deeper. The more you learn to respect yourself the more you will hold your boundaries and hold your angry person to account.
Stop rescuing them – It is their responsibility to change their behaviour. Your responsibility is to point this out and show them the consequences of their behavior.
If they will not change do not tolerate them. If you continue to tolerate their poor behaviour you are on a one way trip to unbearable low self esteem.
Finally, back to the”V” word….victim. You will only be a victim in these situations if you choose to be. The angry mob make decisions every day about their behaviour but those decisions are based upon the reaction and responses you have. Those are your decisions.
Your ultimate decision… is how long will you put up with it? Only when your member of the angry mob knows you are serious will they start to change.
Finally….by being so straight talking and direct about the pros and cons it would be easy to assume that I, as the author, are a cynical, judgemental unempathetic person sitting here in an ivory tower just firing off articles. It’s true, I can be all of those because I am human.
When I run my anger management weekends (click here to know more) I am humble, vulnerable, strong, engaging and compassionate. I see my role as holding people accountable with empathy. Every con I described above I see in myself and more. The same applies to the pros. My role is to help people work their way through being human. ..it is possible and so is change.