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3 Ways to Keep Anger from Ruining Relationships

 

Guest Post | Author, Nigeria Lockley

I became an angry black girl in the fourth grade. I hadn’t realized it until my teacher, Mrs. Jefferey-Roebuck told me I needed to change my attitude. I didn’t think I had a bad attitude.

I knew was angry. I was mad because I didn’t live with my biological mother. I was angry because the new boy didn’t like me. I was angry because my hair shrunk when it was wet and all the other girls in class had perms.

But I was totally unaware that anyone else knew I was angry. It turned out, everyone knew I was angry. Because I was brash and abrasive when I dealt with my classmates. 

Now, I would love to tell you that my relationship with anger improved but it didn’t.

  • My first little boyfriend cheated on me because I wouldn’t put out. When I found out I was angry.
  • The next one forced me to put out. That made me feel both angry and powerless. So I decided not to take any junk, trash, or offense from anyone.
  • My father moved without telling me and I only found out because I popped up on his doorstep. I was angry and embarrassed.

To me, everything was wrong in my life and nothing was right. That made me angry.

Two Ways Most People Handle Anger

There are two ways most people handle their anger, particularly women:

  1.  Store up all of your anger until someone does something so insignificant that if you were in your right mind you’d ignore them. But instead, you vomit up every undigested ounce of anger and rage.
  2. Every time someone does you wrong or upsets you, it must be dealt with immediately.

I chose the latter. But neither method is helpful.

In the long run, these behaviors make it hard to form positive, successful relationships because most people with good sense don’t live near active volcanoes. And no one besides the donkey in Shrek has ever tried to live with a fire breathing dragon.

What the Bible Says About Anger

These responses leave no room for God to work in your life and they absolutely put you on the wrong end of Ephesian 4:26, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down on your wrath.”

That scripture seems nearly impossible. How can you be angry without sinning and how can you resolve a conflict before the sunsets without storing up any anger?

Express. Address. Assess.

Express Your Anger

Express your anger, Don’t yell, scream, or cut up his tires.

Tell someone why you are angry—whether you tell God, your best friend, or talk to yourself in the mirror, don’t just absorb that emotion or pretend you don’t feel it.  Remember, “to thine ownself be true.”

It’s best talk to someone not directly involved at this stage, so that you don’t create a bigger problem. Use wisdom and discernment when inviting someone into this kind of situation.

If you can’t find anyone who you trust and can remain neutral, you better lay on your floor and talk to your God.

Address Your Anger

Address your anger by speaking to the person who angered you or discussing the event that transpired with the people who participated in it.

Try to use “I” statements and take ownership of your role in the conflict.

This conversation is not to condemn or chastise the person(s) involved, but rather inform them that you are upset. They may not apologize. They may not even be able to comprehend why you’re angry, but you will be free from the burden of your anger.

By addressing your anger without all the screaming or holding it in, your anger is no longer a threat to you or your relationship.

Asses the Situation

Assess the situation after your conversation with those who angered you.

  • What do you need to do differently going forward?
  • Do you need to be more explicit when speaking to people?
  • Do you need to step away from this relationship?
  • Do you need to be more forgiving and understanding?

Don’t focus on what that person needs to do. Because you cannot control someone’s behavior. You will always be frustrated if you try to control someone’s behavior.

It’s not going to be easy to be angry without sinning, especially if it has become very ingrained in who you are. Or you don’t have access to the people who hurt you to walk through the Express, Address, Assess cycle.

But it is still possible.

Turn to God, go through the process in prayer with the Lord and remind him of His word, “Anger rests in the bosom of fools and I have decided to no longer be a fool. Please remove this anger from my bosom and restore the peace, joy, and relationships in my life that my anger has corroded, in Jesus name. Amen.”

If you need someone to express your anger to leave a comment. Or if you have a good method to help others deal with their anger please leave a comment.

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Available: July 28th

I am THRILLED to have Nigeria with us here on the blog today to share her thoughts on anger! It can have such a profound impact on how we relate to others.  Her new novel, Seasoned with Grace will be released on Tuesday, July 28th.

In her novel, Grace King allows bitterness to fester and become anger. As a result, she lashes out at the people closest to her…even though they had no involvement with her past pain. Be sure to pick up a copy!

Love, Simone

A Bit More About Nigeria 

Nigeria Lockley is an author, educator, speaker who resides in Harlem. Her debut novel Born at Dawn is a finalist for a 2015 Wheatley Award for First Fiction.  Nigeria also serves as a deaconess and clerk for her church King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Church of God. Visit www.nigerialockley.com to subscribe to her blog, The Neophyte Author and to learn more about her.

18 Comments

  1. Whoa, I did not know I was going to be going to straight up chu’ch when I stepped in here! Nigeria preached an entire sermon on this post.

    I used to be the type of person that let anger fester until it exploded and I would go totally ballistic. It was destructive and pointless. Once I matured I realized that justifiable anger is okay as long as you know how to handle it. For me that means stepping away from the situation until I calm down, then addressing the person that angered me in a respectful manner so that we can resolve the issue.

    I also generally stay away from foolish folk, and that cuts down on my anger significantly!
    Faith Simone recently posted…Book Review: Seasoned with GraceMy Profile

    • Simone

      July 26, 2015 at 3:21 pm

      Bwhahaha! She sure did. All we need is a set of drums, so I can do my praise dance.

      And I agree with you! I’ve never been one to hold things in and had a tendency to explode right then and there…especially when it comes to my family. I’m sad to say, I was the worst with them. But Morris, my husband, is so patient and calm and I think he’s rubbing off on me. Because my family says I’m nicer since we’ve been married:-).

      That’s why I love your point about maturity. I can now, honestly say, about 95 percent of the time I take the time to calm down and try to pinpoint what angered me and express it in a respectful manner. But even the five percent of the time (i.e. when I yelled at my younger brother on Father’s Day), I’m learning to apologize and ask for forgiveness quickly.

      And Yasss!!! Avoiding foolish folk is key, Proverbs has a whole lot to say about that:-).

    • Learning to avoid nonsense is definitely a big help. I’m so glad that you can relate to past craziness and were blessed the wisdom God has now given me.
      Nigeria recently posted…Seasoned with Grace Book Trailer and ExcerptMy Profile

  2. Thank you for having me. It a pleasure being allowed to share my thoughts with your audience.

    • Simone

      July 26, 2015 at 2:47 pm

      Thank YOU! For sharing your thoughts on anger with us and ways to resolve it. Blessings…Simone

  3. What an awesome read Nigeria! So many people will be able to relate to much of what you said. It’s great to know that God is listening and confirms it by placing people and this article in front of me. Thank you for your obedience and sharing your gift. It continues to bless me! Stay writing. It’s so inspiring😊

    • Simone

      July 26, 2015 at 3:05 pm

      I agree with you, Shenetta! Nigeria does have a gift and I’m so grateful her story blessed you.

      I especially like what Nigeria said about addressing anger: “By addressing your anger without all the screaming or holding it in, your anger is no longer a threat to you or your relationship.” This is so key and something I’m learning (little by little) to do with my family…address my anger with love. The Bible talks about this in Matthew 5:23-24 the point is reconciling with our brothers and going directly to them.

      Matthew 5:23-24 Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.

      Thanks SO much for stopping by, Shenetta!

    • Hi Shenetta! Thank you for the encouragement and I am so glad that my mess can be used as a message to others now.
      Nigeria recently posted…Seasoned with Grace Book Trailer and ExcerptMy Profile

  4. Love. Love. Love this post. I find myself getting easily upset with my boyfriend. I feel like I’m in the 2nd of the two options you mentioned. But, I know it’s not him and more so other factors I’ve been dealing with.

    I’ve been reading a book about the power of thinking and not being reactive to situations. This post is spot on and and super helpful with the tips!
    Jennifer Kennedy recently posted…11 Ways to Create Your Course Even While Holding Down a Full-time JobMy Profile

    • Simone

      August 1, 2015 at 2:04 pm

      Hi Jennifer! I’m so glad this post was helpful. I know what you mean, it is so easy to react and get it off your chest. And I have often found myself falling into the second option that Nigeria mentioned.

      But I’m learning, little by little (mostly from my husband) to choose my words carefully. But it is a process. I think we are on the right path, though, because we recognize the problem. So many people just write it off as “well, that’s just the way I am…like it or lump it.” But once we recognize that it’s a problem, we’re positioned to improve. Thanks SO much for stopping by!

    • Jennifer, I am so glad that this article blessed you! Sometimes it’s hard for us to not penalize the person in front of us when we’re angry even when the situation has nothing to do with us. But God is able to help us once we acknowledge where we fall short.
      Nigeria recently posted…#WriterWednesday I Know It’s Only MondayMy Profile

  5. What a great post! A general rule I have is not to make decisions or react when I’m angry. Wait, wait, and then wait some more. This post will help many, I’m sure. Nigeria, congrats on your release. I wish you much success!

  6. This was definitely a must read for me! And on one accord with what I am learning in this season. It wasnt until I realized how a loved one’s anger hurt me that I understood how me being quick to anger hurts others. Im learning to respond and not react and to communicate and resolve conflict instead of holding on to anger which is just a mask for deeper pain. Im encouraged to know Im in good company of women who are healing and growing!!
    Nicole M recently posted…Everything Has ChangedMy Profile

    • Simone

      September 3, 2015 at 12:47 pm

      Hey Nicole! I read your beautiful post on this topic a few weeks ago. “Things I Wish I Could Say”…about anger being a barrier. It is AMAZING seeing God show you things, despite the troubles.

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