Everyone wants to have a healthy relationship, but some end up in a toxic one. Some can be even aggressive partners, who will give demeaning remarks, verbally abuse or withhold money. Sometimes they even control personal choices of food and fashion sense. These signs of an aggressive person shouldn’t be ignored if you want your mental health to be in check. However, there are ways to deal with an aggressive partner.
To find out more about aggressive partners, Health Shots checked with Ludhiana-based wellness coach and relationship expert Aakriti Sethi. She says that often, people confuse anger with aggression. Anger is a natural feeling or an emotion. It can arise out of frustration, betrayal, injustice, being unheard, unseen or feeling threatened. Aggression, on the other hand, is a behaviour that is intended to cause harm or damage to oneself, others, or the environment. It can be physical, verbal, psychological and even cyber.
Different factors can contribute to the development of aggression. These include factors such as biological, psychological, and environmental.
• Biological factors include genetic predispositions, brain chemistry, and hormonal imbalances.
• Psychological factors include personality traits, emotional regulation skills and unhealthy coping mechanisms.
• Environmental factors include social and cultural influences, family dynamics, and exposure to violence or trauma.
Signs of having an aggressive partner
One of the main causes of aggression in relationships besides inherent elevated personality traits is the feeling of assuming power and threatening other, says Sethi. It is also the strength in recognizing that there is no excuse for a behaviour that’s intended to harm. Some signs that shouldn’t be ignored:
• Gossiping or spreading rumours
• Physical abuse
• Stopping the partner from getting a job or going to work, or to study
• Gambling with the shared money
• Non-consensual sex
• Violating personal boundaries
• Forcing the partner to drink or take drugs
• Threatening the partner to comply with their desire
• Stonewalling – being unresponsive purposely
• Asking the partner to stay away from their family members and friends
• Ridiculing the partner’s faith
Tips to deal with an aggressive partner
Managing a relationship with an aggressive partner can be quite challenging, but it’s not impossible.
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1. Evaluate how healthy the relationship is for you
If it is healthy for you, then accept that the partner has an unhealed version of themselves that needs work. Work on your calm and encourage them by leading through example. It may be possible that they resist or laugh over your journey, but eventually, they will get along on the journey with you, says the expert.
2. Accept the anger but pause the aggression
Acknowledge and validate that they may be angry because of an underlying feeling. This may make them feel heard and seen, which could deescalate the intensity. If not, refuse assertively to be a victim of their aggression.
3. Establish clear boundaries
Let your partner know what is not acceptable to you and re-iterate that there is no excuse for abuse. Having clear boundaries and listing a firm consequence to their actions can be helpful.
4. Know your partner’s “hot buttons”
Recognizing their triggers is essential to make them feel safe and secure within the relationship. A healthy relationship thrives on knowing your partner’s triggers and supporting them with little moments of calm, peace, joy and affection.
5. Practice self-compassion
It can be extremely overwhelming to be with someone who is aggressive. So, practice self-compassion. You can channelize the comfort to yourself – nourish your mind, body, and soul with things that you like on daily basis. Be it going for a walk, cooking your favourite meal for yourself, hugging yourself or doing things that you love.
6. Build your community
Banking on a community of your own can make you feel safe, help you to meet your needs, and feel healthy. Choose the size and type of people that make you feel good about yourselves. They can be your friend who accompanies you for a walk or a spiritual group, work friends or college friends.
7. Recognize and appreciate positive behaviour
When your partner makes progress towards healthier communication and conflict resolution, you must acknowledge it. Rewards and appreciation can lead to positive behaviours.
8. Seek support
It’s okay to ask for help. Don’t shy away from talking to a mental health professional, a legal authority, or a domestic violence helpline. Don’t wait for damage to be done.
If, after trying your best, there is no real change then think if it’s really worth it to be in the relationship.