Just because you are mad doesn't mean you have to treat your loved ones badly.
Isn't it ironic how the people we love most also push our buttons the most? Whether it's your spouse, children, family or friends, it's inevitable that fights WILL occasionally happen with those you truly care about.
Anger is a raw, real, powerful emotion that we all feel — even if we try to pretend not to.
Each of us displays this emotion differently: Some of us yell, cry, or withdraw by going silent. When anger really gets out of control, people can hit things or display violence in other ways (Note: This aggressive type of anger needs to be dealt with professionally because it’s not acceptable).
So, is it even possible to show someone that you still care about them even when you're angry?
The answer is simply "yes." It definitely takes a bit of effort, but it is well worth it for the sake of your relationships.
Here are seven ways to say "I still love you," even when you're annoyed or angry:
1. Communicate your feelings (including the positive ones).
It's OK to tell the person you're angry about this particular situation, but also let them know clearly that even though you're angry, you still love them. This is extra important when a child is involved.
2. Don't withhold love or care.
Sometimes it takes awhile for the air to clear during or after an argument. In the meantime, keep doing what you normally would for the person you love. If you normally cook the meal or help with an activity, still do it. Suddenly refusing to make the coffee just because you're angry shows immaturity and only makes the situation worse.
3. Vent in your journal, not at the person.
Anger needs an outlet, but lashing out causes irreparable damage to relationships. Writing can be very therapeutic. It gives you space to safely express how you feel. Once you let the pent up anger, hurt and/or confusion out, you can usually think (and communicate) with a much clearer mind.
Sometimes writing a letter to the person you're upset with can also help you articulate what you're hurt and angry about (and why) but with space for reflection. You can edit and refine your points to ensure your words communicate the real issue honestly yet respectfully AND explain that you love the person still.
4. Keep the conflict private.
Do NOT write about your anger (or the other person) on social media under any circumstances! If you typically put everything on social media, don’t this time. Honor the privacy of your relationship. This shows your loved one that you respect what is happening between the two of you, value them and their dignity, and won't offer their mistakes up for the world to judge.
5. Offer small gestures of kindness.
Break the tension between you by doing something small, like watch the TV show you know the other person wants to watch (even if you don’t like it). Do this without resentment. After all, you love this person and want them to know it.
6. Hear the other person out.
Your point of view is not the only perspective to consider in this situation. Ask the person you're angry with to share what's going on for them. Create a safe space where they can be honest about the situation so you can understand both sides of the story.
This one might just be the hardest gesture to do. But after everything else — the conversation, the writing, the listening — if you can manage a real hug then give it a go (especially with children!). Nothing says “I love you (even though I am so mad at you)” like a genuine hug!
It's important to remember that anger is just a cover up for a whole basket of other emotions — like hurt, pain, guilt, shame, fear or resentment.
Once your anger diminishes (and it usually does) that's when you see the real emotions below it.
Anger can really mess up a relationship, so be careful what you say in the heat of the moment and how you manage it afterwards!
Having trouble with anger? Leanne Allen is a Psychologist and Life Coach at Reconnect Wellness Centre. She can work with you in person or on Skype to better manage your anger, to release it energetically and to generally be happier. Want to know more? You can contact her here.