How Anger Coaching can Resolve Conflict in Relationships

When couples communicate their anger positively, their relationship will grow positively too. While this may be true, many of us struggle to express our anger properly, let alone communicate it positively. However, two main reasons for divorce, is lack of communication and constant arguing, and yet, two or more people would need to exchange in communication, for an argument to take place. Therefore, it is not lack of communication or constant arguing that causes couples to split – it is their unhealthy, negative anger, and conflict issues.

Here at the-Coaching Blog-run by Gerard O’Donovan, our aim is to constantly bring value to those seeking to improve their lives. Therefore we have a policy of publishing articles and materials by guest authors whom we value and appreciate. Today’s guest author is Tanya Heasley (UK)

Considering  that  most  of  us  will  get  angry  at someone; whether that’s our partner, our children, our boss, or even ourselves, this powerful emotion is usually triggered by the actions, words or the behaviour of another, as well as a deep hurt, fear or traumatic event that happened to us in our past. In other words, when we experience road rage, it is usually displaced anger cause by something that angered us in the past that we had not fully dealt with or resolved. For instance, if you think logically about certain arguments, were you angry at that person or situation? Or was it something else?

Nevertheless, anger is a natural emotion that we all experience and continual to experience from time-to-time. It is an instinctive communication of survival, telling you something isn’t quite right, you are potentially in danger and you need to act, now! It is something that you need to make friends with and welcome into your life. This is because it will provide you with the energy you require to get you out of dangerous situations and is essentially part of your instinctive nature to survive; triggering your response to FLIGHT, FIGHT or FREEZE.

Therefore, anger itself is not the problem, it is how we express our anger that play a key role  in whether the consequences of  our  actions  are positive or negative. Furthermore, positive anger can resolve conflict in relationships – when used properly. The key is to unlock its primary function, change the perception of it and then relearn how to express it more healthily. After achieving this, conflict resolution becomes easier in relationships and can benefit you to flourish and thrive.

First, to understand the benefits of anger, we need to look at its primary function – survival and understand its mechanisms. In the following text, I will explain how anger first began within you and when you used this powerful emotion for the first time:

Prior to your birth, and for nine months, you were growing peacefully within the womb, blissfully unaware of what was to come. Until finally, it is your birthday, and you were pushed out of that warm and familiar environment that you have only ever known, and physically entered an alien world – something was very wrong, and you didn’t like it.

Instantly, you felt anger; an emotion that you would never have experienced before, and this created a surge of energy within you, triggering your fight or flight response. This activated your instincts; telling you something is not quite right, and you need to act. But there was nothing you could do, after all – you were a helpless baby. However, anger is an energy, giving you the power to communicate your feelings to this new world, and so you began to scream.

A short while after screaming your lungs out, you experienced a familiar sense of tightness (this was someone embracing you, your mother perhaps) and you liked it. It reminded you of the security you had within the womb, and the anger-energy dissipates, allowing you to calm down. Although, soon after, you experienced the sensation of emptiness within you. This was essentially your need for food. The emptiness grew, becoming greater and greater and you were powerless to fulfil that need. Again, your instincts told you that without the fulfilment if this need, your survival is in danger. This triggered your anger again and you communicated this through crying. But nothing happened – so your anger gave you a burst of energy, and you started to scream again. Eventually, the emptiness started to fill with something satisfying – stopping you from crying. Sometime after, the emptiness returns, and that uncomfortable sensation had developed again.

Fortunately, you would fundamentally learnt that your needs are met, only after you scream. You would essentially learnt to communicate your anger through screaming and crying, and you’d developed an anger cycle that progressed in the following way: you had a need, you cried, your need was met, you stopped crying. This cycle continued until you learnt to talk.

As you grew, and eventually when you became  a toddler, you would learnt many words  and felt confident in communicating your needs  and wants of those around you, often receiving whatever you wanted. However, while out shopping one day, you saw something appealing: a new toy sitting on a shelf. You reached out to get it, and while holding it this triggered the feeling of joy within you. Your imagination was so strong that you believed the toy was yours. Unfortunately, someone took that toy off you and you instantly felt a sense of loss. You could not understand why you did not have your new toy anymore. This developed an overwhelming multitude of emotions; sadness, hurt, fear – until finally anger. This then fuelled your body, readying you to act. This developed an overwhelming multitude of emotions; sadness, hurt, fear – until finally anger. This then fuelled your body, readying you to act. However, you had limited vocabulary and you could not verbalise what you were thinking or feeling; consequently, communicating your anger in an expression that we call a ‘temper tantrum’.

Temper tantrums can stay with us into adulthood, especially when we have a past hurt that triggers our anger in the present. When this happens, our instinct is to protect ourselves and most of us will attack. We then essentially lose the ability to verbalise our thoughts, feelings, and need in an appropriate and adult manner. To learn how to communicate our anger in a healthy way and build stronger relationships, we need to learn the Art of Anger. This can be achieved through using anger coaching as a complementary approach to relationship coaching. This form of coaching will provide you with the opportunity to explore your anger more deeply, allowing you to understand the language of your anger, what your values and needs are and how to communicate it properly. To resolve a conflict and find a solution, anger coaching can assist you in developing strategies to help you establish a course of action. Essentially, anger coaching will help you use your anger in a way that will benefit you positively and allow you to communicate it positively.

To communicate positive anger and resolve basic conflict in relationships, use this simple anger coaching strategy. First, read  through  the following questions to prepare yourself and to gain a clear understanding of what you feel, think and what your needs are before setting up a clearing process. This process is meant for you to share your thoughts and feelings regarding the specific situation without judging the other person, making them feel bad, or creating a further argument.

  1. Begin with identifying how you feel in the moment, name your emotion.
  2. Share only the facts about the
  3. Summarise why this bothers
  4. State your wants or
  5. Always thank them for giving you the time to share with them.

Ask the person you would like to resolve the conflict with for a couple of minutes of their time and use the following clearing  process:  the following format is an example of a typical argument that many couples have regarding not doing a domestic job within the home.

  1. I feel……….
  2. Because…. I have asked you ten times already to take out the rubbish.
  3. When………my Father and Mother had arguments about this, I felt really scared and
  4. What I want is……. when I have asked you to do something, and you say yes – please do
  5. Thank you for listening to

Be mindful of your delivery; the tone of your voice, your posture, are you intimidating, aggressive etc. and speak with a calm voice.


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