“Life doesn’t make any sense without interdependence. We need each other, and the sooner we learn that, the better for us all.”
Family dynamics can challenge even the healthiest interpersonal environments. You can commit to communication and conflict resolution. It will help, for sure, but nothing can prepare you for the myriad possibilities within a family unit.
You all live under the same roof. You know each other in more ways than anyone else. These conditions can breed closeness and solidarity.
They can also contribute to a build-up of resentment and frustration. This may be a recipe for a climate of excessive anger.
The Basics of Anger
In a vacuum, anger is neither good nor bad. It’s an emotion like any other. Anger can serve to protect us and our loved ones. In other contexts, anger helps create scenarios of conflict, fear, and even abuse. The goal is not to eliminate anger. Rather, in an ideal sense, we can understand it, respect it, and preempt it before it leads to ongoing issues.
Within a family, anger always has the potential to become volatile. Left unchecked, it may result in:
- Child abuse
- Sibling rivalries
- Separation or divorce
- Domestic violence
Even in less extreme cases, family anger can cultivate tension that feels as hereditary as one’s DNA. Needless to say, excessive family anger must be acknowledged and addressed. If things have already reached a point of violence or abuse, you must reach out for help immediately.
4 Tips to Help You Respond Better to Excessive Family Anger
1. Work to Understand While They are Angry
Anger has a way of blocking out our most compassionate instincts. But it is crucial to tap into our empathy and do our best to comprehend what a family member is going through. You would want the same level of understanding.
2. Choose Your Battles Wisely
Not everything is worthy of debate, never mind an argument. Set boundaries, identify your priorities, and take it from there. Black-and-white thinking will keep the anger cycle going. Family dynamics contain many gray areas. This means discretion is required. Surrender is not the acceptable goal but compromise is very much required.
3. Learn How to Apologize
In situations of excessive family anger, you (and everyone involved) will need this skill. Own up to what you’ve said or done. Take responsibility for your actions. Express and show remorse. Hold yourself accountable. Promise to not let it happen again and do the work to fulfill that promise. You have every right to demand equal apologies in return.
4. Become Aware of Your Non-Verbal Communication Style
Anger is expressed in many, many ways. It can be provoked by many, many factors. Non-verbal cues fall into both categories, e.g.
- Body language
- Facial gestures
- Vocal inflections and tone
Timing also plays a role. Look for the opportune times to discuss differences. Do the work to identify your triggers and the triggers of your loved ones. It may not be what you say but instead, how or when you choose to say it.
Getting to the Root of the Family Problems
Ideally, the above tips — and others like them — may serve to reduce tensions and increase healthy communication. More often than not, however, you and your family will need outside help. It could be individual therapy for the relatives involved. Just as well, you may opt for group therapy to get everyone in the same room at the same time.
Even during a time of reduced social interactions, you have the option of online family therapy. Telehealth gives your counselor a chance to witness family dynamics within the family home. Whatever approach you choose, it will be a giant step toward a deeper understanding and a move toward healing.