My husband of three years can get easily flustered. Going from being happy to angry very quickly, when a situation doesn’t go his way. I’m losing my patience and it’s becoming more difficult for me to be around him when he’s angry. I’m feeling disconnected and sexually shut down. Can you offer any suggestions to help him with his anger so we can be happy again?
Pained in Princeville
It is common to think with this kind of challenge in long-term relationships that the answer is changing your partner’s behavior. So how to fix your husband? Before I address that issue, answer this: “Who can make you truly happy?” The answer is you. Conversely: “Who can make you unhappy?” You again.
Your reaction to his anger is actually trying to get you to love and accept yourself more. Once you do this, you will be happier with your husband and feel more alive and loving to yourself. Your husband choosing to be unhappy, however annoying or bothersome it is to you doesn’t have the ability to make you unhappy. Let’s transform the situation.
Snuggle into the anger. Rather than point the finger at him and run from the uncomfortable feelings in your body, let’s explore the tools of how you can turn around this situation. Let’s say your husband has gotten angry; regardless of the reason, the following process is the same. Instead of first telling him to stop being angry, choose to not be affected by his behavior. Only you can turn your feelings around by these six steps:
1) Be aware that you have reacted to his anger. How do you know? You feel tense, unhappy, embarrassed. You feel emotionally heavy in your body and so uncomfortable that you could say to your husband: “Would you just knock it off and stop being angry.” On the surface, you may feel better; however, even if he stops, your feelings have not been cleared and swept under the rug.
2) Stop the need for your husband to change and start working on yourself.
3) Get excited, because this is an opportunity for you to transform yourself.
4) Accept that you have been reacting to your husband’s anger.
5) Mentally scan your body for feelings. Leave the room momentarily if needed and try to detect where the feelings are most intense in your body. Are they in your jaw, neck, shoulders, belly, etc? Let’s say that you find an intensity of feelings in your jaw. Say the following phrase (out loud quietly, if it’s appropriate): “Feelings are my friends. Feelings are my friends. Feelings are my friends.” Keep repeating this phrase for a few seconds to a few minutes. Like magic, the feelings in your jaw will start to diminish. You may want to put your hands on your jaw, where you are feeling the discomfort and continue to say “Feelings and my friends.” You will feel a shift in the intensity; the intensity will lesson. After you feel the shift happen, the feelings may not be totally gone, yet subsided enough to where you feel your normal self returning.
Check yourself: on a scale from one to 10 (10 being the most intense) what is the level now? Is it five or below? If so, good. If not, do another round of “Feelings are my friends, feelings are my friends.” Once the intensity has become a five or less, you are ready for the last piece:
6) Say an affirmation: “I choose to be happy and not affected by my husband’s anger now.” “I choose to recognize that this situation is inviting me to love myself more now.” “I choose to offer assistance to transform my husband’s behavior now.”
What if your husband is still irritated? Once you are calm, approach him lovingly. Say: “Honey, can I share something with you?” and hopefully he’ll say yes. Then ask him, “When you are angry, do you recognize that you sometimes react very quickly?” Hopefully, he’ll say yes, even though he may resist at first. If you ask him, “Would you like to transform anger and be happier?” If he responds with a yes, share with him steps 3-6.
Now, he can explore why he is reacting to the situation by examining his feelings. By being honest and transparent, he’ll recognize he’s choosing to react negatively, regardless of the reason he got angry in the first place. He may find it uncomfortable to transform this old habit quickly, so be patient. As you both continue to work with this issue you are bound to see and feel positive movement, which will deepen your connection and love for each other. You will find yourself being grateful for the “anger” which has brought you closer.
I know it’s not always easy to do this exercise. Have fun and don’t try to be perfect. Can you see how you don’t need to rely on your husband to change? By transforming your reaction, you will transform your life and be a happier person. You may not like his behavior; yet, you have the choice of not reacting to it. Keep your cool. A new level of joy and harmony will be birthed in your heart, transforming your life and your world.
If the angry bursts continue, seek out professional assistance. The pattern is deeply rooted; he may feel scared to let go of the anger and transform. Have compassion, yet take steps to grow into a new life together!
• Cary Valentine is a certified relationship expert, author and wedding officiant. Call Cary to arrange a FREE Unlock The Keys To Your Love and Passion Session. (808) 346-6652 Questions welcomed at Cary@InLoveForever.tv