Anger is a common emotion, and it’s normal for us to get mad for specific reasons.
However, getting angry too often and easily isn’t normal behavior.
For example, have you ever made a flippant comment that made your boyfriend mad? Or experienced moments when he was angry, and you had absolutely no idea why?
If you’ve found yourself wondering why your boyfriend gets angry quickly, you’re not alone.
Many women have been in relationships where they walked on eggshells, not knowing if their next move would tick off their partner.
And while this might leave you wondering if it’s worth the effort of staying, there are ways you can deal with a boyfriend who’s easily triggered.
In this article, I’ll share tips on how to do this.
Let’s get started.
How to deal with a boyfriend who gets mad easily
1) De-escalate and neutralize his emotions
I’m sure we’ve all experienced facing an angry person at one point in our lives.
And as you might know by now, telling an angry person to just relax and calm down doesn’t work. They might even feel more upset.
On the other hand, if you respond with the same level of anger, you’ll find that it doesn’t help at all, either.
In fact, getting just as angry as your boyfriend increases the tension, and before you know it, you’re throwing things at each other.
I certainly hope that hasn’t happened to you, but I know many couples who have gone this route.
So, what should you do then?
Psychologists say that the trick to defusing an emotionally charged situation is active listening.
This means you must stay calm, try not to get defensive, and let him vent.
Acknowledge his feelings and let him know you’re listening to his perspective.
If this still doesn’t work, you should step back and walk away to give him time to cool off.
2) Address the problem when your boyfriend is calm
For many people, anger is a fight-or-flight emotion rooted in a deeper issue. Often, it’s an expression of something that lurks beneath the surface.
Typically, it is a response to the combination of pain and some anger-triggering thought.
Frequent outbursts point to a deeper, underlying issue. It’s worth finding out what’s causing your boyfriend’s anger so you can address it.
However, it would be best to have this conversation only when he is calm. Otherwise, it won’t be productive.
High emotions and tension affect our cognitive state, so an angry person might find it challenging to discuss things rationally.
Once he has calmed down, you can sit down and have a good heart-to-heart conversation.
Encourage him to explain why he feels angry and keep asking questions until he fully explains his side.
He might need help identifying his triggers and understanding how he can cope with them.
A 2015 study found that anger is commonly triggered by five major categories:
- Intrapersonal demands
- Other people
- Psychological and physical distress
- Unknown triggers
It’s important to note that triggers are different from causes.
A trigger is anything that sparks an intense negative emotion.
For example, your boyfriend might get angry if someone bumps into him.
This is the triggering action, but his anger might stem from an underlying cause, for example, stress at work or tiredness.
To be able to handle your boyfriend’s angry outbursts or silent treatment, it’s important to explore not just the triggers but also the possible causes.
Here are some of them:
- He needs more attention from you
- He’s jealous of your male friends
- He doesn’t like you
- He feels inferior to you
- He’s stressed and tired
- He likes someone else
- He’s looking for ways to break up with you
- He had a tough life
- He caught you in a lie and no longer trusts you
3) Work through existing issues
After pinpointing the issue, talk about the steps you could take to address it together.
Is it a lack of attention? Resolve to carve out more time in your day to spend quality time with him.
Is it a trust issue? You may need to reassure him and make some gestures to show him your love and loyalty.
Are past issues coming up to the surface? Sometimes, we think we’ve settled our past issues, not knowing they would come rushing back with the slightest trigger.
Whatever the reason is, it’s essential to work through it together.
If necessary, you can enlist the help of a relationship expert. That’s exactly what I did when I had issues with my boyfriend, and we couldn’t figure out how to move forward.
Luckily, I found a relationship expert from Relationship Hero who coached us and taught us valuable strategies for communicating with each other.
If you think relationship coaching might help you, click here to get started.
4) Practice empathy and patience
Staying compassionate and patient might be the last thing you want to do, but it’s essential to keep your emotions in check and try to evaluate the situation.
Remember that anger could be hiding vulnerable emotions like hurt, sadness, fear, or pain. Your boyfriend might not have the tools to access these emotions and express them in a healthy manner.
He might feel like anger makes him feel powerful and in control, not knowing that it’s not helping him process what he really feels.
Patience is a valuable trait in this instance. It involves being wise enough to let the anger pass and to avoid doing anything that may be seen as reactive.
5) Explain your side assertively and respectfully
Being patient and giving your boyfriend some room to vent his anger doesn’t mean you have to sit there and take all the hostility in.
Make yourself heard, too, but do it in an assertive and respectful way. That way, you won’t have to hold your feelings back and develop resentment over time.
Aside from that, being assertive empowers not just you but your partner as well.
He’ll see that the responsibility for the relationship is an equal load, and he will feel more encouraged to do his share.
6) Pick your battles
Picking your battles to win the war is a cliché for a reason—it absolutely works, even in relationships.
We spend energy in every aspect of our lives, whether at work or in personal relationships.
And just like soldiers on the battlefield, we only have so much energy and resources to distribute across these areas.
If we try to “win” every single argument, we’ll end up feeling burned out and exhausted.
Plus, you might indeed win the argument but end up damaging your relationship in the process.
Sometimes, the smartest course of action is to concede in the arguments over the things that matter the least.
Exercise restraint and avoid fighting over every little difference you have with your partner.
Look at the big picture and be selective about the issues you use your resources and energy on.
7) Set boundaries
Constantly dealing with an angry person can make you feel exhausted and even depressed.
That’s why it’s crucial to set boundaries—it’s necessary for your own emotional health and safety.
As much as you need to be understanding, you must also let your boyfriend know your limits and expectations.
He needs to understand that his behavior is hurtful and disrespectful. Your responses train him in how to act and treat you.
For example, you could tell him, “I understand you’re angry. But I’d like to talk when you’re calmer.”
Or, “I can’t accept being yelled at. I want to understand you, but I need to calm down so I can hear you better.”
Notice something about these responses?
They’re all framed as “I Statements.”
This helps to put YOU and what YOU need to take care of yourself in focus.
8) Reflect on your actions
It takes a great deal of maturity to reflect on your actions and the role you might have in triggering your boyfriend’s anger.
It’s easy to slide into a blame game where nobody wins and nobody takes responsibility for their actions.
Being a responsible partner means cultivating a level of self-awareness where you can examine your own actions.
After all, you can’t really control someone else’s behavior, but you can control yours.
Understanding what triggers you to behave or react the way you do helps you manage conflict and prevent it from happening again.
9) Admit when you’re wrong and apologize
In any relationship, we should be mature enough to take responsibility for our mistakes.
Defensiveness or avoiding accountability will only make an angry person even angrier.
If, during the conversation or after careful reflection, you find that you were at fault, don’t hesitate to apologize.
Saying sorry helps mend trust. It lets your boyfriend know you understand how you contributed to the conflict.
Of course, there’s no guarantee that he would accept your apology. But often, an apology would be enough to set the right tone and get him to simmer down.
10) Aim to influence instead of controlling him
I once had a boyfriend who went into silent mode when he was angry. Instead of lashing out, he would put up a wall and give me the cold shoulder treatment.
Needless to say, it was difficult to resolve the issue. How could we fix what was wrong if he kept shutting me out?
I did the only thing I could think of—I kept insisting that we talk, even going so far as to yell at him so that he would tell me why he was angry.
It didn’t work.
No amount of pleading and shouting could break down that wall, not until he was ready to open up.
In the end, I learned that trying to control or change someone never works.
Relationship experts say that influencing your partner is the better way to bring about change when it comes to relationships.
So, what does influence look like compared to control?
According to Dr. Alex Lickerman, influence involves challenging others to become their better selves.
Control, on the other hand, aims to get the exact results we want in all circumstances.
And that never works in a relationship because it’s impossible to have complete autonomy over someone else’s thoughts and actions.
When you operate with an influence mindset, you accept that your boyfriend will often not do what you want.
But by working toward influencing him, you’ll be demonstrating habits that will affect your relationship positively.
Examples of this are listening with intention and empathy, showing more affection, and being kind and generous.
In a nutshell, influence is about care, while control is about self-interest.
11) Lead by example
Leading by example is an aspect of the influence mindset.
Instead of asking him to be kind to you, take the lead and treat him with the kindness and sweetness you want to receive from him.
This strategy does wonders in shifting the energy in your relationship from a negative to a positive one.
Ultimately, you want a healthy environment that’s all about cooperation and collaboration rather than control.
12) Consider getting professional help
The strategies discussed above are generally helpful for dealing with a boyfriend who is often angry.
However, some cases might be too complex for you to handle and call for the intervention of a professional.
Anger management begins with self-awareness.
Unfortunately, some chronically angry people are unaware of how angry they are and lack the self-awareness tools to monitor their anger levels.
If that’s the case with your boyfriend, he might need more counseling from a therapist to help him work through his anger issues.
Counseling and therapy can provide support for chronic anger, such as self-monitoring strategies, self-soothing exercises, and assertiveness training, among others.
Professional counseling is also helpful for cognitive restructuring, which involves examining and breaking down the core beliefs and automatic thoughts underlying his anger.
If you think your boyfriend can benefit from relationship coaching, you can find an expert here.
13) Practice self-care
Dealing with a boyfriend who quickly gets mad or angry people, in general, can take a toll on your mental health.
While it’s important to provide emotional support for them, you must also look after your own well-being.
Take the time you need to decompress. Lean on other people for support and comfort.
It’s essential to recharge your own batteries if you want to have enough energy to deal with an angry person.
14) Stay safe
Lastly, make sure you have a plan to keep yourself safe.
Your boyfriend may not necessarily be a violent person, but anger can make him feel the urge to lash out, even physically.
Fortunately, only about 10% of anger experiences lead to aggressive behavior. Still, it’s wise to have a safety plan.
Know when to walk away. You shouldn’t continue interacting with him if you feel threatened or unsafe.
Listen to your gut. Your instincts will tell you when a situation is becoming unstable so that you can prioritize your safety.
A safety plan includes:
- creating a list of phone numbers of people, organizations, and services you can call if you’re scared
- Arranging to stay at a “refuge”—this could be a friend’s, a neighbor’s, or a family member’s house until things have calmed down
How do you know when your relationship is toxic?
Sadly, no matter how much we try to handle a partner’s anger and make the relationship work, we just don’t get the happy ending we want.
How do you know when your relationship has crossed the line from merely being difficult to being toxic? How do you know that it’s time to call it quits?
The most serious and obvious red flags include any form of abuse, harassment, or violence.
In some cases, the signs are more subtle.
Watch out for persistent unhappiness and constant stress. If your relationship brings you more negativity than joy, it might be time to throw in the towel.
I often think of a relationship as an emotional piggy bank. This gives me an excellent visual reference for assessing the health of my relationships.
We all fill our piggy banks with emotional investments, both good and bad.
And when the negatives outweigh the positives over time, it’s a sign that the relationship is making us more miserable than happy.
Other warning signs of a toxic relationship include:
- Controlling behaviors
- Lack of support
- Toxic communication
- Patterns of disrespect
- Lack of self-care
- Fear of provoking tension
Anger is a normal human emotion, and we all have triggers for what makes us angry. However, constant or chronic anger is not normal.
Having an easily angered boyfriend doesn’t mean you have to become his emotional punching bag.
It does, however, involve the use of strategies and tons of compassion and patience.
Hopefully, the tips in this article have shown you how to manage yourself and the situation.
And remember—ultimately, it boils down to cooperation.
As long as your boyfriend is willing to work on his issues, there’s hope that he can overcome his triggers and be the man you want him to be.
Can a relationship coach help you too?
If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.
I know this from personal experience…
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