In Western culture, the prevailing wisdom for years advocated the expression of anger as a healthy release. Therapists often encouraged clients to unleash their anger without considering the repercussions on their relationships.

Anger was deemed a potent emotion, with unexpressed feelings purportedly leading to various physical ailments such as ulcers, heart attacks, and headaches. The belief persisted that allowing anger to fester could also corrode relationships, leading to a cascade of psychosomatic reactions.

However, a paradigm shift is underway. Experts, prompted by works like “Anger: The Misunderstood Emotion” by Carol Tavris, are challenging these assumptions, viewing anger as more destructive when expressed than when suppressed.

Recent studies suggest that venting anger may contribute to illness, posing greater risks to the body than anxiety or sorrow. Moreover, it exerts a profound impact on social interactions, fracturing communities and damaging relationships irreparably.

An alternative approach emerges: to be slow to anger. Expressing anger judiciously, when seeking justice or addressing a specific offense without inciting retaliation, offers a healthier outlet. Otherwise, learning effective methods to soothe and calm oneself becomes imperative.

A poignant parable illustrates the lasting scars of anger: A boy, struggling with his temper, is tasked with hammering nails into a fence each time he loses his cool. As he learns to control his anger, he removes the nails, but the scars remain—a reminder of the enduring impact of hurtful words.

In relationships, wounds caused by anger run deep, akin to physical injuries. Apologies may offer solace, but the scars persist, affecting the recipient profoundly. The parable serves as a poignant reminder to tread carefully in moments of anger, for the wounds inflicted can mar the fabric of relationships irreversibly.

In conclusion, navigating anger in relationships requires mindfulness, restraint, and a commitment to fostering understanding and empathy. By embracing these principles, couples can cultivate a culture of respect, resilience, and healing, ensuring that their bonds remain unscathed by the destructive force of unchecked anger.

Dr.Baya Mebarek, Psy.D.,LMFT

www.sandiegofamilytherapy.net