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Three Ways to Avoid Letting Past Anger Effect A Relationship

All couples fight.  The nature of people is that sometimes they are going to get on each other’s nerves.  Sometimes you are going to be in a bad mood, or sometimes you partner will be.  Sometimes you are going to fight over big things, and sometimes the reasons for fighting are not going to be particularly clear.  During a fight, most of us have brought up some kind of relationship issue that was committed years previous to the fight you are currently having.  Regardless of the fact that most of us have done this, it can be very harmful and counterproductive.  Continuing to be angry about something that happened years ago and bringing it up while you are fighting can turn a small disagreement into a major fight before you even know that it is happening.

There are three things that most therapists will suggest for dealing with this issue and working on building a better relationship.

1. Let Go of Past Anger

This is clearly a lot easier said than done, but forgiveness actually increases your wellness. Letting anger fester even if the infraction is relatively minor can be harmful for you and your partner.  The anger can eventually explode and do true damage to your relationship.  Since past anger tends to resurface when you get angry again, it is unhealthy to hold on to it at all.  Forgiveness can go a long way toward improving everyone’s quality of life.

2. Do Not Save Yourself with Past Anger

Harbored anger can come up in all kinds of situations. One of the most common situations is in the case that you are expecting to be blamed for something current so you bring up a bigger issue from the past in order to fend of the blame of your transgression.  By retorting or preempting your partner with a greater problem, you are reminding him or her of his or her problems and suggesting that you are less guilty.  But this does not do anything to deal with the problem at hand.  It has really created a bigger problem than the one you had already.  It is creating resentment and tension when it should have been able to be diffused rather quickly.

3. Do Not Punish with Anger 

All of this anger harboring can show up in the form of making your partner feel guilty. This reaction often originates from the feeling that your partner has hurt or rejected you in some way.  Bring up a past issue puts the blame on the other person which makes him or her feel worse.  This kind of behavior is considered manipulative.  People who are skilled in this form of negativity can very often get their own way in the short term, but are sacrificing long term satisfaction and are leading their partners down the path of resentment and contempt.  A relationship that is threaded with contempt is unlikely to be viable for long.

Forgiveness Is Difficult, But Its’ Benefits Are Amazing

In order to be able to let go of your anger, you will have to learn to forgive.  Forgiveness does not come naturally for everyone.  In order to learn the skills, it can help to start small.  Work on forgiving small things first.  Consciously make the decision to let go of your annoyance over something that is not really worth getting upset over.  Let your partner know what you are doing and tell him or her that your love is still strong.  If you do this enough, you will find that it feels less and less like something that is out of the ordinary.  Eventually, you will be able to move on to forgiving bigger angers or bigger issues.

In order to really forgive your partner, you need to realize that you anger or annoyance or resentment is really your problem, and it is not your partner’s fault.  You are responsible for the things that you feel and the things that you say.  As an adult, it is your choice to hold on to your anger or to let it go.

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