The 5 Anger Languages in Relationship


Anger is a human emotion that comes out when a person feels betrayed, harmed or disrespected. According to Charles Spielberger, Anger is “an emotional state that varies from mild irritation to intense rage.” 

When two people love each other they are on a rollercoaster ride of different emotions and one of them is anger. When anger is not handled properly, it causes intense damage and trouble to a relationship. It is very important to understand the various ways in which people express anger as it can lead to misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and damage the relationship. 

The most common cause of anger is fear. It could be a 

  • Fear of being wrong about something 
  • Fear of being controlled 
  • Fear of being treated badly 
  • Fear of being weak or lacking somewhere 

Anger languages are about expressing and dealing with anger in relationships. The 5 Anger Languages are: 

1. Righteous Anger 

It refers to “I am right and you are wrong” or “You do not know anything” kind of behavior which causes conflicts when the other’s perspective is denied. It leads to intense arguments as both the partners continue defending their positions rather than working on mutual understanding. 

According to a study, people may use negative emotions like righteous anger to increase their self perception and self esteem. For example, A conflict may arise between the partners regarding the discipline of children, where one partner wants a strict authoritarian approach while the other partner wants a more compassionate approach. 

Read More: 9 Healthy Ways to Channel Anger and Find Inner Peace

2. Indignation 

It refers to a sense of disbelief or victimhood, where a person feels unfairly treated by the actions or words of others. Such people are defensive while expressing anger and portray themselves as innocent victims. Feelings of victimhood may lead to a cycle of retaliation that destroys the trust between the partners which can further make it difficult for them to communicate and find solutions. For example, a conflict may arise between the partners when a person feels betrayed by their partners due to a failure in fulfilling promises.

Read More: Importance of Trust in Relationships

3. Retribution 

It literally means “a payback” or “an eye for an eye mentality.” It is basically a desire of a person to take revenge for the injustices that happened to them. When people get such feelings, they start holding on to grievances and think of punishing those who have done wrong to them. People may end up saying mean things or taking actions that they will not be able to take back. For example, the desire for retribution is caused due to anger or betrayal often. People get sadistic pleasure after seeking revenge thinking that it was their right to give pain to those who did wrong to them. 

4. Distraction 

It refers to avoidance tactics where a person avoids confronting the issues between them and their partners. When people engage in distraction while arguing, they bring up past issues to shift the focus away from their own actions or behaviors. This leads to confusion and frustration between the partners and in the relationship. By refusing to address the underlying issues, the potential for growth and healing within the relationship decreases eventually. For example, when one partner forgets to do some household chores, the other partner may bring up instances from the past where similar things took place.

Read More: Psychology Behind Relationships

5. Justification 

It refers to the thought of a person where he thinks that anger is right because they were treated unfairly. The concept of Karma plays a significant role in Justification. Such people justify their anger, blame others, and do not take any responsibility for themselves. They have a genuine lack of empathy. For example, if a person feels betrayed by cheating, they may justify their anger by saying that their partner deserves to feel the pain they have given to them. 

How to Manage Anger in Relationships? 

Words have power which can bring joy but they can also hurt and even destroy. Words spoken in anger are rarely logical or factual. Angry words or actions can cause damage that can not be undone, but there are various ways to manage anger in relationships. 

1. Recognising Anger 

A person fails to recognise anger when he/she is grown up in a family that does not allow strong feelings like anger to be expressed, or might have grown up around so much anger it seems normal. It is important for a person to practice paying attention to the emotions they feel as it helps the person in making better choices. 

2. Learn to Listen 

Listening is an essential part of communication skills. To become a good listener, it is important to make the person speaking feel heard and understood which can be done by nodding heads or making short responses. Asking questions away from judgments is another way to become a better listener. 

3. Practicing Empathy 

Relationships can suffer without showing empathy. Empathy refers to sensitivity to the needs and emotions of another person. It also refers to feeling what others feel. 

4. Taking a Break 

If a person is in the middle of a disagreement and finds that it is leading to a heated argument, he/she should let their partner know that they would like to finish the conversation after taking a break. Taking breaks before getting overwhelming feelings in a relationship can be helpful for both the partners. A person might need 10 minutes, an hour or a complete day to calm themselves down or get over things. 

Take Away

Understanding and recognizing anger languages is very important as it helps the partners with their mutual understanding, communication patterns, emotional bonds and empathy. It can also break negative cycles of hostility within relationships and helps people in developing skills to create a deeper connection and mutual love with their partner. 

  • Theraverse (2024, April 1) Anger Languages: Dealing with anger the calm way
  • Todd, C. (2024, March 4) 5 Anger Languages To Express Your Feelings
  • Travers, M. (2024, February 20) 5 ‘Anger Languages’ That Can Poison A Healthy Relationship thy-relationship/?sh=6076f04f9940 
  • Verano, M. (2023, April 7) The 5 Anger Languages in Relationships 4/the-5-anger-languages-in-relationships
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