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Karin Samms
Karin Samms, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 299
Experience:  with over 15 years experience offering support with relationship, mental health & addiction issues
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My boyfriend of 3 yrs has been having anger problems occasionally.

Customer Question

My boyfriend of 3 yrs has been having anger problems occasionally. when we argue i like clarifying so i keep asking questions to understand the issue however he feels like im pushing his buttons and testing the limits with him. and this results in him exploding and saying hurtful and mean things to me however i do not say mean things back or yell. i do not yell back i stay quiet because i have been hurt however i do tell him that what he said was mean. he then gets angry at himself for saying hurtful things to me. it has happened before and i cant seem to brush it off because respect is essential and i refuse to have relationship where we are both yelling at each other. i have told him that he should take a minute before replying to as to think before he saying things he'd regret but he says it is very difficult to control and he cant change something thats been with him all his life. any suggestions on how he can stop saying mean things when he's angry. or atleast ways on how he can control his emotions/anger. he is not an angry person its just if we argue and if he feels like im pushing etc. your help is much needed
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Karin Samms replied 1 year ago.
Hi there, welcome to Just Answer. I will try and help you with your question.

I'm so sorry that you are experiencing this, it sounds very frustrating and a very emotional situation for you. You say that when he gets angry he says mean things to you and that he feels that he cannot change because he's always been like this - well, this really doesn't have to be the case. Anger management is something that allows a person to understand their anger, where it comes from, and therefore, find strategies to manage it more effectively and in essence un-learn unhealthy responses - so yes, you can change the behavior - it just requires the person to put some effort into understanding it and wanting to change it.

When you say he's not usually an angry person I wonder if he realmses he is saying mean things at that actual point? Sometimes when people get angry, they very often state that they see red or that they regretted their verbal attack on the other person - usually someone they very much care about.
He may need to consider when he's angry to - at that point- be very aware of his emotions and leave the room, putting some distance between you both, finding a way to express his frustration as opposed to then projecting this level of anger onto you. Does this make sense so far? He needs to work on why he feels that you are "pushing" when you've clearly explained that you're not one for challenge nor confrontation?

Another point might be to not ask too many questions when you're at a point of arguing - he may well see this as a trigger and then his frustrations become heightened and his sense of lack of control also become heightened. You could express to him that saying mean things to you makes you feel very upset and that this does not make it easy for you to be close to him when he gets like this. You could also have a key word between you both (a mutual sign) that signifies that you are both feeling helpless and a sense of anger and powerless, so that you can both just stop, take a moment and re-assess where this particular argument is heading - before any level of name calling occurs (so preventative measures). This trigger/stop word allows you both a sense of mutual respect and a level of maturity that enables rather than disable you both within the relationship. It is also essential that you continue to not yell back - so well done to you, as if you are both yelling - then in effect, you have both lost control, not just him.

Additionally, when one of you is calmer, it actually helps the other to have to eventually calm down as they cannot hear what you have to say otherwise - I teach this to my clients in workshops on anger management or when working with people in distress. A further strategy for him would be to encourage him to go away for a moment and calm himself down by taking himself to another room or outside and perhaps even to write down adjectives and feelings of how he feels right there and then - and perhaps when he's ready to, to show you these descriptive words and share his feelings with you - this will eventfully make him realize (so long as you are reassuring and able to understand his predicament) that you are not a threat and that his anger or misplacement of it, is not healthy and need not be directed at you.

He clearly means a lot to you and you to him, so I really hope my response is helping, but do come back to me for further assistance and support if you need it, I'd rather support you as much as possible and receive a positive rating and I'd be more than happy to continue supporting you until you feel satisfied.

Please if you will, kindly take a second to accept my answer if my response has been helpful, however please don't hesitate to come back to me if you need any further clarification. If I have answered your question, kindly rate my service so I may be credited for my time. If you choose to rate me anything less than positive, please do come back to me and I will clarify further or support your query further. Your question will not close and I will continue to support your question.

I wish you nothing but the best.

Kindest Regards, Karin
Karin Samms, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 299
Experience: with over 15 years experience offering support with relationship, mental health & addiction issues
Karin Samms and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

thank you very much your response is very informative and i will definitely talk to him about it and see how he feels about applying it. however i would like to know more about the trigger/stop words you stated as a preventative measure. if you dont mind would you please explain it to me a little more. thank you

Expert:  Karin Samms replied 1 year ago.
Hi there, yes of course, I would be more than happy to explain.

The trigger word/stop word is a word that you both agree to use whenever you both feel that an argument is about to begin or about to become unmanageable. At such a point, you would both agree to use this word (the word can be anything that you both can relate to: XXXXX XXXXX it could be "PEACE" or "TRANQUILITY" or "CALM" this word once used then pacifies an argument before it reaches the point where he says mean things. This requires more of him than you but you can help him achieve this by praising him when and if he tries it and wants to make a go of it. The trigger word is used a lot for kids that have tantrums etc.. and who don't know how to manage and cope with their overwhelming feelings - those who don't know how to articulate the words. Once the word is used by either one of you (eg, child or parent in my previous example), the child then moves in to changing behavior by leaving the room to calm down or going outside to get some fresh air, or perhaps going to their room and writing stuff out that helps them convey their feelings onto paper. Your boyfriend would need to think of what could work for him but there's always a way forward, so please be reassured.

I came across a website for services in the UAE, thought you might like to take a look - no pressure, just thought it could help you and him to think ahead also in case he needs or wants to talk to someone professional about it.

http://www.counsellingdubai.com/anger-and-anger-management.html

Good luck and do come back to me for further assistance and support if you need it, I'd rather support you as much as possible and receive a positive rating and I'd be more than happy to continue supporting you until you feel satisfied.

Please if you will, kindly take a second to accept my answer if my response has been helpful, however please don't hesitate to come back to me if you need any further clarification. If I have answered your question, kindly rate my service so I may be credited for my time. If you choose to rate me anything less than positive, please do come back to me and I will clarify further or support your query further. Your question will not close and I will continue to support your question.

Kindest Regards, Karin :)
Expert:  Karin Samms replied 1 year ago.
Hi there,
It is very kind of you to rate my service and for the bonus, it is very much appreciated!
Please remember I'm here if you need any further new questions answered or need any further support, just put "For Karin" at the start of any new questions and i will do my best to help you.
My best wishes to you.
Take care and good luck to you and your boyfriend. :)
Karin
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you very much Karin. I will definitely let you know if I need further assistance :)
Expert:  Karin Samms replied 1 year ago.
You're very welcome and best of luck.
Karin :)

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