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Anger: What to Do About This Roadblock to Trust

By Susie and Otto Collins

Sarina has promised herself that she won't let her husband, Timothy, yell and scream at her again. They've both been under a lot of strain during the past year.

After Sarina had an affair, they almost split up.

She admitted the infidelity to Timothy, they took some time to decide what they each would do next and then, as a couple, they chose to stay together.

They both want to work things out. Sarina has apologized to Timothy for her mistake, she's made her life an open book to him and has tried to make amends in any way she can.

Timothy has been working to forgive Sarina but he still feels very angry and hurt. He can see that she is trying to help rebuild trust, but he always comes back to images in his mind of her cheating with
another man.

In an effort to save their marriage, Timothy tries to just push past his anger.

He tries to stay focused on what's going on now instead of on the past. But, unfortunately, those upsetting images come up again and again in his mind.

He flies off the handle and yells at Sarina over even the littlest of things. Recently, he felt so mad at her, he had to restrain himself from hitting her.

Being violent to Sarina is the LAST thing Timothy wants to do.

Our aversion to anger.
Anger is one of those things that every single one of us feels from time to time. The intensity of anger varies from person to person and the way that anger is expressed is also different.

A lot of us have had frightening experiences in the past-- perhaps as children-- watching adults be angry with one another or even having that anger directed at us.

Anger can come out in destructive, hurtful and even violent ways.

For this reason, many people have an aversion to anger. We cringe or go into a defensive mode when we are around people who are angry. We
tend to deny or try to ignore our own angry feelings.

In short, just about all of us do whatever we can to get as far away from anger as we possibly can...even if the anger is within ourselves.

The trouble with this understandable reaction to anger is that it just doesn't work.

Yes, of course, giving space to a loved one who is having an angry meltdown is possibly a wise idea.

But, when you are the one who is angry, there's nowhere to hide. You've got to own up to how you are feeling and find ways to express those emotions that are healthy and non-violent.

A first step to improving communication with your partner if either or both of you have a tendency to become angry is to acknowledge that you do feel anger.

Practice responding instead of reacting.
Regardless of whether or not you are the one with the "anger problem" in your love relationship or marriage, it's vital that you learn how to respond instead of react.

Anger-- whether you deny it or spew it out-- can be a roadblock to rebuilding trust after infidelity.

If you two are trying to heal after infidelity, there might be more tension, stress and uncertainty. This can most certainly be a challenge for anyone who has a difficult time with anger (which includes quite a few of us).

If you tend to have a short fuse and you get intensely angry easily, take ownership for your habit.

Don't make this about your partner. Yes, he or she may have said or done things that were not okay and even very hurtful.

You are certainly entitled to feel how you feel.

However, if you want to heal and improve your relationship, you've got to be responsible for what you do with your angry feelings.

Don't take them out on your partner-- no matter how much he or she might seem to deserve that.

Most definitely, do NOT allow your anger to explode in violence (physical, emotional, sexual or other forms) directed at your mate, yourself or another person.

This is never okay and it's not going to help you or your relationship.

If your partner is the one who usually blows his or her top, you still need to pay attention to your own habits. There are possibly ways in which your own reactions to a situation are fueling the anger.

During a calm moment, you two could create some reasonable and realistic communication agreements.

Be honest about this and come up with strategies for what you each could do when tensions rise and anger is expressed.

Be clear about boundaries and limits for what you each feel is and is not acceptable when it comes to communicating about your feelings.

There are no wrong or bad feelings. Anger is just an emotion. It is a natural part of being a human being.

How you express your feelings and how you respond to your partner's feelings is up to you.

It can make a difference in whether or not you two can rebuild trust and restore your relationship.


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Contact Info
Relationship Coaches Susie and Otto Collins
PO Box 14544, Columbus, OH 43214
Contact Susie or Otto about Relationship Coaching by calling 614-459-8121.
For all other inquiries, contact us by email

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