Not mad at me, are you? How do you and your partner deal with anger?

Dr Gary
By Dr GaryCA Latest Reply 2013-09-25 23:17:34 -0500
Started 2012-10-22 16:53:49 -0500

Felt angry lately? If you’re human, the answer is probably yes. So the better question is: What did you do about it? Something? Nothing? The wrong thing?

It’s only human to get angry. Yes, while anger is an emotion that comes naturally, it is also the emotion we often have the most trouble feeling and expressing. And the emotion we often have the most trouble dealing with in others.

Life challenges bring up a lot of emotions, including anger. Living with a chronic condition, or living with someone who is living with a chronic condition, can certainly bring up a lot of anger. Whether the anger gets expressed or not, and what happens if it does, is complicated, to say the least.

Feeling angry doesn’t mean you are angry at your partner. It just means you’re angry. And talking about anger doesn’t have to lead to a blow-up.

How do you deal with anger in your relationship? Talk about it? Talk around it? Blow up? And what are the results?

Anger is just anger. And talking about it doesn’t have to lead to a break down in communications. Check out my article in Living with Diabetes.

It would be great to hear about how you are dealing with anger at your house!

20 replies

Stuart1966 2013-09-25 23:17:34 -0500 Report

"I love you"… an odd way to start a conversation. Typically, there is a serious "but" in those sentences… (: /

When serious anger is vented, the filters/scabs which normally apply do not remain in tact. Strong feelings, another's "truth" can be painful to hear, much less accept with empathy.

The venom of anger can shred issues thought firmly sealed-closed? Gentle laughter seems a good answer to me…

Like your tips… the question is how to manifest them? Not as colorful as Dr. Polonsky (sic. with his gorgeous but frozen metaphors), but a boat-load better than Dr. Surwit's foolish contentions (???) that anger seems mandatory & a fundamental component of diabetes. Pleased you left alone the potential Freudian parallels he seemed to love e.g. living solely/governed by the "ancient" past events over which there is no control?

Not sure I accept your perspective that anger is "identifiable"? Regardless believe the article is definitely headed in the right direction… more specific techniques for corralling such anger "brush fires". How do we reach this compassion prey tell???

lavenderchild 2012-11-27 07:09:26 -0600 Report

My son lives with chronic illnesses, not diabetes and I live with diabetes.. I understand he is really sick and we have been dealing with his illnesses for a number of years. He has conditions that neither he or myself can control not even the doctors can gives us straight answers sometimes and no pain medication has helped him.. He has been so supportive with my diabetes but some days I say to him I understand that he is in a lot of pain and I get that, I watch him I see it in his face I see it I really do then he turns around and says to me mum at least your in no pain and I agree with him totally.. But I to struggle but don't say anything because he unintentionally makes me feel like the bad guy so to speak… Sometimes I want to yell from the roof tops I'm having a bad day as well but I don't because if I do I feel bad… I have tried to talk to him about it but it falls on deaf ears, Maybe it's because his mum is never sick or keeps it to herself and maybe sometime I need to say I am having a bad day.. This artical was very good… Thank you…

Anonymous 2012-11-26 14:01:37 -0600 Report

Hi Dr. Gary, my husband has type 2 diabetes. He usually does very well with not letting his anger get out of control. He is usually a very sweet loving husband and father. He can become very hateful and cruel. He then is angry for several days. Do you think this is an issue with his diabetes? I can usually see it coming. His behavior starts to change and then in an instant he blows. I usually just let him say what he needs to. But, this weekend he was very cruel and hurtful. One of our sons was is from college. He had knocked something over. My husband became very angry. Our son did smart off and he should not have. But, my husband's anger far exceeded the circumstances. Our son said he would just go back to school. My husband told him to get out and not come back. I want to help himl, but, I do not know what to do. He then started acting as if this was an on going issue with our son. I do not see how it could be. He comes home for two days every 2 or 3 months. This is the only time there has been an issue. He recently received a letter from the DMV stating he had to have paperwork from the doctor or they will suspend his DL due to an eye test he had while trying to get his CDL. Do you think this may be more of a stresser than we realize.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2012-11-26 16:31:21 -0600 Report


I really appreciate that you shared so clearly and honestly what's going on with your husband. I am so sorry to hear that you weekend was ruined by your humband's outburst. It must have been so hard for you and for your son to experience your husband's rage.

From what you described, it sounds like a couple of possibilities. Do you know if his diabetes was under control? Diabetes can affect mood and emotions in various ways. So I am wondering if this may have been at least in part directly related to his blood sugar levels.

But it also sounds like your husband is dealing with a lot of emotions related to the effects of his diabetes. People who are under a lot of stress, and not dealing with the stress, can be prone toward over the top emotional reactions, including anger, and strike out at everyone around them. Is he talking about what's going on with the DMV and his eyesight, and how hs is feeling about that? He may be feeling fearful about the future, and fearful of loss of control. The possibility of losing his license may be terrifying to him.

It mgiht help to offer him as much support as you can. Remind him that you are there for him, that you want to support him. Maybe encourage him to talk.

In the meantime, I would encourage you to reach out to your son and, if you haven't already, help him to understand what's going on with his father.

I would also encourage you to talk to your husband about the outburst, and encourage him to also reach out to your son and get the commuhnication going again.

I am not suggesting that your husband's behavior toward your son was appropriate, but it does sound like your husband is suffering emotionally.

I would also recommend talking to his doctor about what happened, maybe with your husband if he is willing, and see if he can offer suggestions for dealing with the emotional outbursts.

Again, I am so sorry to hear about this. Please keep us posted on how you're doing.


Set apart
Set apart 2012-10-27 08:38:35 -0500 Report

Hi Dr. Gary As you know I've been dealing with new health issues, at first I can say that I was angry and I said "enough is enough." still not sure what I am facing in the future, but my spouse and I have decided that we'll take one day at a time and hope for the best! Sometimes it's hard not to be angry, especially when you feel like you're the only one dealing with issues, especially health related! Yes I get angry, but snapping at my husband isn't going to solve anything, we are in this together and I have to learn to breathe through the rough times and enjoy the good times!

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2012-11-26 16:19:42 -0600 Report

Hey Set apart,

So good to hear from you!

All that uncertainty, and the day to day ups and downs, can really take a toll. Feeling frustrated, and angry, and wanting to vent that frustration to someone who will listen, is only being human. You can vent without taking things out on the other person, letting the frustrations you are feeling be known, without making the other person feel they did something wroing. It's okay to be human.

Taking one day at a time is a great approach. Dealing with things as they come up, working together as a team.

THanks for checking in!


GabbyPA 2012-10-23 18:31:20 -0500 Report

Oh boy. This one is hard. My hubby is chronic due to his wheel chair. I am chronic due to my diabetes and there are days when everything we say to each other comes out wrong or we are too sensitive. Actually, my husband is the one who tends to stomp off and pout. But we often do clear the air. Sometimes it takes a few days to get to the bottom of it, and if I push too hard to clear it, he warns me that it doesn't help. I have to stop and wait. He will usually catch up.

Patience is what works with us best. We are not yellers or pounders. We just have blurts that start the ball rolling. Once it is rolling we have never gone more than 24 hours mad at each other. And the feeling of relief after getting it all out and worked out is so good. I don't know why we don't work it out sooner.

Oh, I think it has to do with that pride thing that often goes with anger.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2012-11-26 16:08:47 -0600 Report

HI Gabby,

Thanks so much for sharing your experience here. I am sorry I didn't catch your reply earlier.

Getting things out in the open, clearing the air, can really make a big difference in your communications. So much better than holding it all in.

Patience, toward yourself and your spouse, is all part of being a compassionate person. Sometimes it just awhile to figure out what's going on so that you can hash it out, and some more time to let it sink in. Not to mention overcoming the pride that can get in the way.


Nana_anna 2012-10-23 13:56:52 -0500 Report

You can read my latest, in my last discussion post. Dealing with my spouse/mouse, is like dealing with a teenager. It's tough. I am not in the mood to do that these days. I raised a very hard son, that finally took in life, and decided to participate and is doing great. Now I am not saying my spouse is bad. Only when he doesn't do his part in the "in sickness and in health" part. He annoys me. I pray. Mostly for me to handle him on a positive note. I hate argueing with someone who doesn't hear, or comply with your partner's well being. Boy wouldn't a Judge love to hear what he has neglected? So be it, let her rip on him! I don't think it would sink in. I am better off taking care of myself. I can't wait for that time.

pontufex 2012-10-23 16:25:24 -0500 Report

If I've read everything you've posted correctly, you're the one with diabetes, not him, so it's your job to make sure you have what you need. It's not his job to follow you around and and keep track of your illness. Maybe if you didn't treat him like an animal he might be a bit more attentive.
It's because of women with attitudes like yours, that I will never seek companionship ever again.

Tony5657 2012-10-26 10:26:15 -0500 Report


Hey buddy, please read & consider what others have said here. Harbored anger will kill you, mentally, spiritually, emotionally & physically. My 2 cents worth of advise is to let the past go and start anew. I've been through a divorce & it isn't fun, BUT it isn't the end of the world & there can be a life on the other side, a light at the end of the tunnel so to speak. Please read Dr. Gary's article & digest it even though you don't have a partner. Anger, resentment, unforgiveness and all negative thoughts/emotions are killers to the holder, you. They place you into bondage. You can get past this past hurt/anger/resentment and enjoy life again. We only have one shot in this life so we can't afford to blow it.

I wish you well and wish you the BEST, my friend…Tony5657 in New Braunfels, TX

MAYS 2012-10-22 21:23:11 -0500 Report

Those days of (induced) anger are long gone, and it feels great!

Being angry, and dealing with it can take it's toll on you in more ways than you can ever imagine, dealing with any situation causes stress and stress is silent (sometimes) in how it damages your life physically, mentally and emotionally.

It's always better to communicate and resolve any issues BEFORE they grow into a MAJOR catastrophic nightmare.
I agree with you, anger is just anger and talking about it doesn’t have to lead to a break down in communications, but sometimes it's easier said than done, but as I stated earlier, those days are long gone, not few!

Tony5657 2012-10-26 14:13:20 -0500 Report

A monumental testimony, Mays. Thanks. I'm sure lots of us needed that. You're a great man of, like we say here, "piss and vinegar." I'm not really sure what that means, but I think it's a good thing. LOL seriously
Tony5657 in New Braunfels, TX

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2012-10-23 12:47:56 -0500 Report


Thanks for checking in here. Always nice to hear from you.

Walking around with a lot of anger is a hard way to live, I agree. Hold all of that anger in, and it can do a lot of damage, as you said. Dealing with it early on, before it boils over, can prevent a lot of relationship damage.

Sounds like you have learned some lessons in this area, and have used them to great benefit.

Take care!


Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-10-23 10:21:41 -0500 Report

Mays there are really only to things you can do with anger, either deal with it or let it go. If you dwell on the anger this is where the problems begin. You ever hear people say "I should have said" when they are angry with someone. Depending on what you should have said, you should have just said it. When you don't say what you really mean or feel and get angry at yourself because you chose not to say something you will dwell on this for a few days.

I am going to say what I mean and what I feel depending on the situation or the circumstances. The problem with anger is that it can destroy you and others over time. The couple that constantly argues over everything will separate if they don't come to a workable compromise.

Friends and spouses get angry with each other when one of the parties do not live up to expectations one of them has. You can never live up to anyone's expectations on a satisfactory basis.

Communication is the key. You have to talk about the small problems because over time they can become a major problem. You also have to learn how to communicate effectively and in a manner that you and the other party/parties do not get angry. You also have to recognize when being angry isn't working for you.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-10-22 20:32:07 -0500 Report

Hi Dr. Gary,

It depends on what is causing the anger. I can't remember the quote exactly but on M*A*S*H, Hawkeye Pierce said something about anger turned inward causes depression. This may be true because if you don't vent your anger over time you can possibly become depressed.

The problem is how to vent the anger, do you yell, scream, take it out on someone who did nothing to cause the anger, do you mow the lawn like a mad gardener or hit walls?

There should be an anger rule. Never try to have a discussion when angry. There will not be a positive outcome for the simple reason the person who submits may have submitted to stop the argument. The problem is the person who is always angry or have anger issues should seek anger management.

There are times my sister makes me so mad I could go on the roof and scream. When I am this angry, I won't say anything because I know it will blow up and nothing will be solved. I will either play games on the computer and listen to music and stew or totally ignore her unless I have no choice but to answer a question. I wait a couple of days and then ask why she did or didn't do something.

Venting can be the best thing a person can do to stem the emotions that come with anger. Not only is the person dealing with anger, they could also be dealing with fear of should I take a stand or run.

You have to fight the fight you can win and you can't pick a fight simply to get your point across or to get what you want. The problem is that when you get into an argument you should be able to recognize how severe the anger is. If a person becomes so enraged that the person becomes violent, this can be dangerous for everyone involved. An enraged person who is violent isn't going to always walk away and calm down. The anger has built itself to the explosive stage prior to the verbal argument and after the verbal argument ends the anger continues to build for days sometimes months before the person blows completely in a manner that can cause harm to him/herself or others.

If I get angry, after about an hour, I assess whether or not the situation is worth being angry. In most cases it isn't so I let it go and move on. If I get angry and act on it, it is usually over something that was totally wrong.

I think the best thing to do when angry with a spouse, friend or stranger is to take a step back and look at the situation before blowing up. Unfortunately that is easier said then done.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2012-10-23 12:45:36 -0500 Report

Hi Joyce,

Thanks for your insight here. I have also heard that anger turned inward causes depression.

I agree. Taking that step back, getting perspective on what is really bothering you, can help you avoid putting the anger where it doesn't belong. It is hard to do that when you are in the moment, I agree.

And when you're anger is at something that is out of your control, then doing something positive, getting active, can be a good way to channel all of that anger energy in a positive direction.

The world would be a much better place if we could all learn to deal with our anger in a more productive way.

Thanks again!


veggielover 2012-10-22 17:14:03 -0500 Report

I usually vent my feelings instead of keeping them inside, even when I'm alone, then I feel better about what is bothering me.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2012-10-23 12:33:23 -0500 Report

Letting anger out in a way that is not harmful to yourself or to your relationships is a good thing to do. Don't bottle it up inside.

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