What to do when your communication has triggered your partner’s anger | Michele Willmott

What to do when your communication has triggered your partner’s anger

What to do if your partner has been triggered by your communication

It can be tricky to navigate situations where your partner has been triggered into anger in response to something you have said.  It very much depends on the nuances of the situation but here are some things to remember as well as some tips to how to deal with the situation.

Things to know:

Firstly, your partner is responsible for what they do with their trigger.
It is an opportunity for them to take a closer look. It is an opportunity to heal and re-integrate a part of themselves that is being disowned.

They are always responsible for what they do with their feelings. Yes, you may have triggered them initially however, it is not acceptable for them to take their anger out on you. It is not okay for them to be reactive to let snide and passive aggressive comments slip in. Neither is it okay for them to shut down and not speak to you for days. If they do, they need to hold their hand up (when they are ready).

Secondly, it is okay to feel anger.
We are human beings with feelings and emotions. We all make mistakes.
However, we don't want this to be a recurring pattern. Feeling and owning our anger is very different from being angry and taking it out on our loved ones.
A man or woman in their power will allow themselves to fully feel the anger in their body.
They will use it as fuel to motivate them to go back and have a conversation where they take responsibility.
When anger is taken out on our partner we are not in our power. We are in a victim or bully energy.
This is never going to help us create the connection we want. 

What to do when your partner is angry:

1. Hold Yourself

If you believe that you have spoken with transparency and ownership then it is important to try and hold yourself.
By holding yourself I mean holding the tension that you are feeling.

Resist the temptation to let yourself fall into reactive more and lower your standards for how you want to behave.
Breathe. This may not be easy.

Resist the voices in your mind that are trying to go over the next possible conversations.
At the very least if you cannot practice thought stopping here, watch those voices without 'buying-in' to them. 

This might look like a shut down on the face of it, but it carries a different energy. 
Being able to hold yourself creates energetic space in you and your relationship.
It creates space for a better solution to pop up.
It comes from an energy of compassion.
It also demonstrates to your partner that you are not going to abandon them and storm off.

If you feel you are moving into shutdown or passive aggressive energy yourself then...

2. Take a time out

If you are finding it difficult to hold yourself and you think you might retaliate, then say to your partner that you need some time because you don't want to react in a negative way. 
Make sure you then come back to them when you feel calmer and initiate a repair attempt. 
The repair is CRUCIAL (see point 4 below)!

3. Take full responsibility

Even if you believe that you communicated in a way that was transparent be prepared to accept the opposite. 
Accept that if your partner is triggered you may not have delivered your message 100% cleanly.
You may well have been projecting some of your frustrations onto your partner.
You may well have been hiding behind your frustrations and missing some important points. 
You may not have been as vulnerable or as honest as you think you were.
Words are often very limited. 

Be willing to admit this and take responsibility for the part you played in the dynamic.

I rarely come across situations in my couples work where only one person is at fault.

4. Be prepared to initiate a repair attempt.

Once things have calmed down be prepared to initiate a repair attempt.
This is of paramount importance.
Most couples whose relationships start dying a death do not repair.
They just let things die down and think they have moved on.
All the while the pile that has been swept under the carpet is getting larger.
This is the pile of rubbish that is responsible for all the arguments and disagreements that happen over seemingly trivial situations.

Initiating a repair attempt is not an excuse for training, coaching or telling your partner where they went wrong.
It is an opportunity to take responsibility and explore other perspectives that neither of you could see before.
It is also not a reason to go over the specifics of what did or did not happen in order to try and be 'right'.

This is an opportunity for growth and learning.
Growth and learning are essential for consistent connection and intimacy.

In many ways it does not matter that things got messy between you and your partner.
Maybe it is really a good thing because you both learn something new.
You both get to see where and how you can show up differently next time.
This is a recipe for more freedom, harmony and love.

You just have to be prepared to have the difficult conversations.
You also have to be willing to admit your mistakes and where you could have done better.

Granted it is not always to easy to navigate repair conversations.
This is because there are parts of all of us that are prone to sabotage.
Unfortunately these parts do not know how to get their needs met in a healthy way.
With my clients I am able to point out the subtle forms of sabotage that they are not seeing.
I am always on the hunt for the sabotage.
This then helps you become more aware of when those sneaky voices show up.
Then it is a case of practising healthy and transparent communication that is very unlikely going to create another trigger situation.

If you are at crisis point or just wanting to move past niggling points of resistance please do get in touch.
You have in front of you a huge opportunity to transform your relationship in ways that right now may not seem possible.
Here is the link to book a call with me if you would like to explore getting in-depth support.

I look forward to hearing from you.

About the Author

Michele Willmott, Relationship Coach and Mentor. I help successful men, women and couples renew and transform their relationship for the long-term.