Anger and the Love Styles:
Last week Marie asked if her husband’s anger might be related to his love style. Let’s take a look at how the feeling of anger is most likely handled by each of the five love style.
Overall the avoider is often even-tempered since they learned to restrict feelings as a child. This outward calm, steady, consistency is one of the traits that spouses often find initially attractive.
Rather than get openly angry, avoiders tend to withdraw and refuse to talk. This does not mean they never get upset.
Avoiders learned as kids that it was useless to reveal their feelings so they become adept at not showing any. When others are angry, avoiders just want it to stop.
When spouses of avoiders complain about not feeling connected, avoiders may become frustrated and annoyed that what they try to give is not enough.
If a display of anger will get others to leave them alone they may resort to this, but most often they withdraw and close up when things get emotional.
Last week Marie described her husband as recently more angry.
If avoiders encounter difficult seasons of stress, they may become more irritable overall because they did not learn as kids to “feel and deal”, that is to reflect on their inner state and process their thoughts and feelings with someone else.
Avoiders have a strong internalized message that they need to handle thing on their own, so when the pile gets too big, they may become grumpy and irritable and be more prone to showing anger.
Learning to identify and talk about their feelings and go to others for comfort is a tall order, but it will make a big difference in helping alleviate anger.
Avoiders often benefit in other ways as they notice an improvement in chronic health issues. Holding in feelings and trying to handle everything on your own take its toll on the body.
Pleasers have built in radar to read the moods and emotional temperature of other.
They are aware a storm is brewing before anyone else and will make effort to try and prevent others from becoming angry because it makes them very anxious to have others mad and upset.
Marie told us last week she has been married for five years. We doubt your husband has the love style of a “Pleaser” Marie because pleasers rarely get angry.
It takes pleasers years to build up resentment about always being in the giving mode. It may be quite a while, often years, before pleasers realize they cannot be responsible for the feelings and moods of everyone around them.
Pleasers feel such a remarkable drop in anxiety when everyone is happy, it’s difficult for them to resist the urge to try and make that happen.
Allowing others to be angry or in a bad mood without rushing in to “fix” it means the pleaser will have to face and deal with their fear of rejection and the anxiety they have inside.
Pleasers are often labeled as passive-aggressive which means they avoid confrontation and manipulate others indirectly resisting their requests or demands rather than dealing directly with conflict. It’s like a quiet way of showing anger.
While this may be true to some extent, in our counseling experience we experience pleasers as more fear-ridden than manipulative.
Pleasers may lie, be dishonest, forget, or resist if it means conflict might be averted.
When pleasers first begin to learn to set boundaries and deal more directly, what they fear most often occurs. Others (spouses, kids, co-workers) do in fact get angrier.
When pleasers keep growing and face this uncomfortable situation, they learn that they can indeed survive the anger and rejection of others and spouses admit they have more respect for the pleaser.
Milan and Kay
Hopefully, you have read our book, How We Love, and you understand the different love styles. Today we will look at the avoider and the pleaser. Next week, we will address the vacillator and the last week the controller and victim.