He faces my anger like no one else did before.
In previous relationships, when I tried to express my anger, I received one of the following reactions from my partner:
- Leaving and saying that he will come back when I calm down
- Saying “it’s not that big deal, don’t overreact”
- Making fun of my anger
- Getting triggered by my anger, getting angry himself and having an argument
These reactions made me feel inadequate, like there was something profoundly wrong with me, because I got angry. The message I was getting was that my emotions were not valid. I was feeling lonely, sad, misunderstood, ashamed and guilty. I was suppressing my anger. I didn’t feel that it was Ok to be angry. I didn’t know another way. It took me 1-2 years work on myself, to get the courage to look into my anger and to learn to express it without the need to apologize for it.
And then, in my life came Rogier. Few months after we started dating I got angry at him. How he took it was mind-blowing. I was already steaming, and he was standing in the middle of the living room. I saw how he took a deep breath in and to what it looked to me, he got ready to face my storm. He didn’t run away. He didn’t try to talk me out of it. He didn’t protect himself. He was just standing there, accepting what was coming his way. The whole thing lasted probably a minute. When I didn’t face his resistance which would further fuel my anger, I said the things I had to say (a little bit louder than I usually speak) and my anger was gone. I felt super free, super accepted. He asked me “do you feel better now?” and I just melted in love and gratitude for him allowing me to let go and to completely release the emotion.
I thanked him for his reaction and he said “This is also part of my role, to be there when you need to let some steam out”
Almost 5 years later, it happens that he still takes my storm like this first time. Other times probably he sees that the anger is very superficial, he lets me speak for a moment, then hugs me tight and makes me laugh. Other times he makes me feel seen and heard, by volunteering to “take the blame” and kisses my anger away. It is very special and truly liberating.
Do you what to work with your anger? You can start by realizing that anger is the sign that your boundaries have been violated. Listen to it. Don’t suppress it, don’t push it away, don’t lose yourself in it. Stay curious and open, so that you understand how you have allowed this personal boundary crossing.