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How Does Anger Affect Relationships?

by April Sanders

Everyone gets angry sometimes -- it's human nature. The important thing is how you react to and control feelings of anger. Manage your feelings appropriately, and your relationships don't have to be negatively affected. But if you let anger control you, you might hurt the loved ones in your life. For this reason, it's very important to learn anger control techniques if you have a quick temper.

Creates Fear and Distrust

When you lash out in anger, it can create fear and tension in a relationship. This is especially true when the relationship is not equal: for example, between a boss and an employee, or a parent and child. Yelling at a child in anger may cause her to fear you, and it can cause a spouse to fear you as well. And if you do it to a friend or coworker, she will probably avoid coming to you with her problems in the future. Such actions will eventually destroy any trust they have in you.

Creates Distance and Resentment

Some people lash out in anger, but others bottle it up -- and that can be damaging to a relationship as well. Bottling up anger builds feelings of resentment that can drive a wedge into your relationships. This can be especially prevalent in close relationships, when you are trying to avoid conflict with a significant other or best friend. And the longer you simmer those feelings of anger, the more the distance will grow between you and your loved one.

Creates Tension and Frustration

Anger can cause you to cast blame and jump to conclusions. This can be especially harmful in business relationships, at it can make interactions tense between coworkers if they feel they have to take sides, and could even spell the end of your career if things get out of hand. If you are angry at someone you see daily at work, it's important to clear the air as soon as possible so your work environment is not stressful. This goes for the home environment as well: There's a reason why counselors often suggest that you don't go to bed angry. Without resolution, anger causes frustrations to mount.

Healthy Reactions

The best way to handle anger is to sit down and talk about your feelings with your loved one. To do this, use "I" statements, such as "I was hurt when I found out you did not invite me to your party." In addition, try to avoid things that trigger angry feelings: Rest a bit before tackling homework with your children, for example, or send an email to avoid having to talk to a coworker. If you do feel your anger rising, release it in other ways: Leave the situation and go for a quick walk, if you can, or give a stress ball a couple of squeezes before replying to a voice message.

About the Author

I can write in a wide variety of styles, from academic to humorous (see links to my blog above).

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