The Happiness Connection  

Anger can kill a marriage

When I sit down to write my weekly column, I often feel compelled to write about something that caught my attention during the week. It can be a very minor occurrence, or a few words that were uttered, but it starts me thinking.

This week, my attention was grabbed by a statement made during a podcast. It was almost a throw away comment.

“Why do I constantly feel irritated by my husband?”

Perhaps I heard the statement so clearly because I could relate to the frustration and pain she was feeling. I used to feel that way too.

It didn’t matter what my poor husband said or did, it irritated me. I’m not talking about occasional feelings of annoyance, I’m talking about constant ones. I assumed it was because he was doing irritating things, but now I know more, I understand that the irritation was mine to deal with not his.

Constantly being irritated by another person suggests you are sitting on a powder keg of anger.

Anger is a limit protecting emotion. It appears when someone threatens to invade your personal boundaries. If you don’t like the way you are being treated, you feel physically threatened, or you believe your values are being questioned, anger may well surface.

When it acts as a sentinel to safe guard your personal boundaries, it is a useful emotion, but problems arise if you don`t acknowledge its existence. Anger refuses to be ignored.

You may think the situation is too minor to warrant you attention, or hate conflict so much that you decide to let it go unnoticed, but unless you deal with it, feelings of anger will hang around, causing havoc in your life.

Anger that is left unresolved will seep into your world as irritation.

Although I was unaware of it lurking under the surface, I was angry at my husband for many, many years of our marriage. It wasn’t because my he was a nasty person; it was largely because I had unrealistic ideas of what marriage should be like.

I believed my husband should make me happy, when in truth, we are all responsible for our own happiness.

I focused on all the little things he did, or didn’t do that hurt me. I believed it was evidence that he didn`t care about me, or love me enough.

I got angry with him on a regular basis, but because my feelings were left largely unresolved, they didn`t go away. They lurked under the surface.

Anger refuses to lie quietly in the dark. It lets its presence be known, by seeping to the surface in the guise of irritation. If you aren’t consciously examining your relationship, you may be like me and not recognize how mad you are, but if you are regularly irritated by your partner, take a closer look.

For me, irritation seeped and festered until one day I couldn`t squeeze any more anger into the dark. I call it my last straw event. This time the anger demanded to be noticed and as it stared me in the face, I decided I had to do something to let it go.

I knew our marriage could not withstand how I was feeling.

I reached out to a friend who is a life coach. She walked me through an NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) technique. I wasn`t sure it would work, but I was so desperate that I would have tried anything.

I immediately felt lighter, although I`d be lying if I said I stopped being angry right away. It took time. Remember, I wasn`t aware of all the anger I was feeling, just the fury that accompanied this one circumstance.

The unexpected outcome of consciously releasing the anger that was staring me in the face, was that all the unacknowledged anger disappeared as well. Let me say again, it wasn`t immediate, but it slowly receded until one day I realized it was gone.

I stopped feeling irritated. Even the snoring fails to annoy me. We were able to build a relationship that makes us both extremely happy.

If you are constantly feeling irritated by your partner, look at your life and see if anger is lurking beneath the surface. If you have difficulty finding any, seek out a professional to explore your situation. It may be buried so deeply that you aren`t sure where it is.

If you recognize you are mad, find a way to set those emotions free.

I am in a place where I can usually talk to my husband about difficulties as they arise. If this isn`t possible, I acknowledge my feelings by writing them down on paper, and then symbolically releasing them by burning or shredding the document.

Never be afraid to reach out to friends or professionals to help you find a way to release the feeling that are holding you back.

Letting go of anger is one of the kindest things you can ever do for yourself. 

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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