Is Your Partner Hot-tempered? Here Are 6 Ways To Cope With Him/Her
According to medical experts, anger is a natural, healthy emotion, and so it is normal to be upset. But it sometimes becomes an issue of concern when people are unable to manage or control their anger. In fact, in some climes, an adult that is hot-tempered is compared to a toddler having a tantrum.
From punching the pillow to smashing valuables on the floor, screaming at the closest person and even holding the head as if they want to pull it from the neck, findings have shown that both men and women manifest that level of anger even though they show it differently.
The difference, according to Amy Morin, a social worker and psychotherapist in the United States, is that while men tend to be aggressive and dramatic about theirs, women are more likely to use an indirect approach, like cutting someone who offended them out of their lives.
Being temperamental is even more disturbing in marriage, when a partner is constrained to live with such for the lifespan of the marriage.
A clinical psychologist with the Los Angeles Country Department of Mental Health, Dr Seth Meyers, explained that if attention is not paid to the issue, someone living with a partner that is hot-tempered could over time have problem with their self-esteem, largely because they tend to suppress their feelings from time to time so as to accommodate and prevent the person’s (violent) tendencies.
He said, “These environments slowly chip away at the victim’s self-esteem to the point that they start feeling hopeless about the future or things ever getting better.
“Recently, a client of mine told me about what happens in her house when her husband loses his temper. In short, everyone gets scared and walks around on eggshells until her husband gets his mood under control. My client loves her husband but is afraid this trait will never change. What’s more, I know that she is but one of millions of women who live with someone with an anger problem.”
But, on a cursory look, it seems helpful to know why some people demonstrate such level of anger. Meyer said, “The people who engage in this behaviour do so because they are able to get away with it without suffering serious consequences.
“Far too often, the loved ones tell themselves that the one with the temper can’t truly change. I explain consistently to my clients that people can’t necessarily change their personality but can certainly change their behaviours.”
Thus, there are ways to live with such behaviour in marriage:
1.Let them know their temperament hurts you:
In a bid to dwell in an atmosphere of peace, Meyer advised that people who are hot-tempered need to be confronted, peacefully, about the import of their actions. He said people around them must be decisive to help them to change the behaviour. In his post on Psychology Today, he said, “The most important thing to do if someone in your life has tantrums that affect you is to sit the person down and seriously describe how the tantrums affect you. Explain that you are willing to work together with that person to help them find better ways to cope when they feel overwhelmed.”
2. Don’t try to compete with them:
There are times people could be tempted to stand up to a partner that is hot-tempered, perhaps as a way of showing that they too could be aggressive. But, according to Mrs Franca Attoh, an associate professor of sociology, University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos, such move could worsen a bad situation. She said, “If your partner is temperamental, the first thing people need to know is that two wrongs cannot make a right. When he is angry, that is the time for the partner to be calm, because the moment the partner becomes angry, then tempers would rise and the situation would become escalated. And if attention is paid to the matter, it could lead to domestic violence. In a very unfortunate situation, it can become fatal and even lead to death.”
She added, “Sometime in the 80s, there was a case of a couple that had five children. There was a sort of misunderstanding between the husband and the wife. As they were screaming at each other, the man pushed the wife and she fell from the top of the staircase. By the time she hit the last step, she was dead. It was no longer a problem of anger; it became murder. The woman was from a rich home, so the family members insisted that the man must be tried. I didn’t follow the case to know how it ended, but there was no way the man would have escaped it and the least he would get would have been 14 years for manslaughter. These are things people should be very careful about.”
3. Know when to step aside:
Usually, until people who are hot-tempered have satisfactorily expressed their anger in any given circumstance, they seem not to care about anything else. Perhaps, one of the ways to avoid troubles when having an issue with someone that is temperamental is to step aside, not only for safety, but also to prevent the issue from festering. Attoh said, “Marriage requires a lot of wisdom, tact and discipline and you must know the kind of person you are living with. If the person is angry, you can decide to leave that place for some time so it doesn’t aggravate and when things are calm, you could bring up the situation for discussion so you could both reason logically to see whether you can arrive at a middle ground. That is where wisdom comes in. He cannot be shouting and you will be shouting at the same time. Such could result in a tragedy.”
4. Don’t kill your feelings:
To some, taking a walk when an issue is about degenerating could mean that they are killing their feelings, all in the name of peace. But, according to Attoh, it is not so. “If you kill your own feelings, you might go into depression, so we are not telling people to kill their feelings for the sake of their partner. What we are saying is that they should embrace another approach to solving the problem, and that is by talking about it when things are calm. It might not even be that day. They might not admit that they were wrong; they are human beings, but say what’s on your mind. In their lone moments, no matter how bad the person is, they will reflect on it and realise that they didn’t act properly. You don’t have to reduce yourself to the level at which the person was acting.”
5. Know that your silence is not weakness:
One other reason people tend to engage hot-tempered persons, especially if it has become a habit, is that they do not want to be seen as weak. Attoh, in response, stressed that being silent or taking a walk when a partner is raging is not a sign of weakness but of strength. She said, “There are situations that when you keep quiet, it makes the other person feel small. If the person is mature; you are talking and the other person is not saying anything, indirectly, the person is telling you that you are acting like a baby with the way you are throwing tantrums, except if the person is not knowledgeable. If the person is favourably disposed to learning, they would begin to work at it to get better. So, silence is not a weakness.”
She added, “People annoy others in the work place, but instead of flaring up, you just walk away, not because you don’t know how to talk, but you know you can always address it after that episode. If your boss at work is always shouting on you and you don’t answer him, they should go home and ask themselves whether they are mentally okay. It’s only people who are not mature that would think that not answering someone who is yelling at you is a sign of weakness.”
6. Don’t be hard on yourself:
While this might not come easy, Attoh said it is possible. In fact, she said being able to be calm with a raging partner is a sign that such a person has control over their emotion. “That you are able to keep calm in the face of anger is a sign of strength, because it means you can control your emotion and it means you are cut out to be a leader. The hallmark of strength is when you keep quiet in such situations because everybody wants to speak when there is an issue.”
While advising people that are hot-tempered, Attoh said they should see it as a weakness that they need to work on. She said, “It’s a weakness and the hallmark of maturity is that if you know the area where you are deficient, you must begin to work on it so that you can have a better relationship with your fellow human beings. There is no problem that doesn’t have a solution but it depends on the people involved. What happens most of the time is that ego comes in.”
She said failure to work on it could be detrimental to them in other areas of life. “If you are temperamental, it’s not only your wife that witnesses it; it would affect you in your workplace. It can even cost you a business deal, your job or a promotion. These are things people must know,” she added.