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Anger is a totally normal human emotion that can and should be expressed in healthy manners to help resolve conflict between two (or more) people. Some people experience anger in a way that creates an intense buildup in the body which results in showing their discontent at a particular situation and end up being explosive. 

There are four very distinct types of anger:  

1. Assertive
2. Aggressive
3. Passive-aggressive
4. Suppressive 

Out of the four different types, just one is considered a healthy one. Assertive anger is determined as a healthy form of expression because it’s focused on honesty, avoiding humiliation, and trying to remain respectful to solve a problem.

The other three forms remain an unhealthy form to express anger and are an immediate red flag.  If you have fears that this has gone too far or fears of domestic abuse within your home or a loved one’s, please call this number here.

Intermittent Explosive Disorder – What Is It?

Another form of anger is called Intermittent explosive disorder (IED) and is defined by either 3 verbal or physical aggression that occurs twice weekly for a duration of 3 months.  Or 3 behavioral outbursts involving destruction to property or physical injury to animals or other individuals over a period of 12 months.

5 Signs that your partner has Intermittent Explosive Disorder

1. Low tolerance for angry situations

People with IED tend to get angry very quickly and over the smallest things. They tend to burst out into explosive anger over events normal people can easily and effortlessly brush off. Aside from this type of anger occurring at certain moments, they can tend to occur randomly and for no good reason.

2. Rage

While anger is normal and is felt by most people, those suffering from IED get outbursts of rage.  They have child-like tempers and uncontrollable behavior as they cannot seem to express this rage in a healthy way. The best way to handle an outburst is to stay calm. These outbursts tend to last roughly about 30 minutes. The best solution for this type of outburst is to stay calm and wait until they’ve settled down. 

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3. Mood changes before an episode

Mood changes are normal, but just like most other symptoms, mood changes with IED are extreme. People experiencing IED change drastically and don’t seem to remember how they reacted during an episode. This can also be seen as an expression change during an episode such as dead eyes and a blank face.

4. Guilt

This is very common after an episode of explosive anger. It’s important to not shame this person as they are already feeling ashamed of themselves and further guilt will just lead to further complications. Instead, try leading with compassion and seeing from their point of view. 

5. Frustration

People with IED tend to feel a general sense of frustration on a daily basis.  If you are noticing they are constantly irritable, this is probably a sign of IED.

4 Tips To Deal With Explosive Episodes

Having a spouse with IED can be difficult. Which is why it’s important to have support and have the right tools to deal with the episodes when they arise. Here are 4 tips to dealing with someone with IED:

1. Stay calm

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As the tempers only last for about 30 minutes, it is best advised to wait for that time to come and your partner to come back to their regular senses and emotions.  They will likely be in a better place to conflict-solve while in a more calm state. It’s important to note that responding to anger with anger is never a good idea and often leads to a downward spiral of even more angered emotions.

2. Be compassionate

Your partner will likely feel ashamed and guilty after a temper. Leading with more shame and guilt will not solve the problems in the future. Instead, try to think from their perspective and point of view. This will have a better impact on problem-solving.

3. Set Boundaries

Your personal space must be respected at all times. Which means you should never feel obligated to put your spouse’s needs above your own. If you cannot tolerate your spouse’s tempers, then boundaries must be set in place first.

4. Bring back to emotional safety

Emotions like mindfulness and generosity create a sense of emotional safety for your partner and loved one which can quickly bring them back to a state of groundedness and calmness.

How to treat IED

IED can be from past experiences and traumas that trickle over into new experiences and scenarios. The first step would be to have a complete psychological exam. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a great treatment through which the individual must be committed and be ready to do the work. Other treatments such as medication can also help facilitate the process. It is noted that certain lifestyle changes must be made to encourage a healthier lifestyle and environment. Relaxation exercises like meditation, movement, and mindfulness are a few tools that can be used to help someone with IED.

You are not alone

While dealing with a spouse with explosive anger can be draining and feel like an isolating experience, it’s important to remember that you are not alone. Seek out a community and ask for help from friends and loved ones around you. 

Work With A Marriage Counselor in California

Meeting with a marriage counselor can help your partner better control their anger, and foster stronger bonds. Our caring therapists would be happy to offer support from our Sacramento area counseling practice. Contact our team today to learn more about the benefits of marriage counseling today! To start your counseling journey, please follow these simple steps:

  1. Contact us to schedule a free 20-minute phone or video consultation
  2. Meet with a caring therapist
  3. Reconnect with your partner

Other Services offered at The Relationship Therapy Center in California:

Our Sacramento area counseling clinics located in Roseville and Fair Oaks, CA are pleased to offer a variety of mental health services. Our couples services include: Couples Counseling, Counseling after infidelity, sex therapy, co-parent counseling, family therapy, divorce counseling, intensive couples retreats, and premarital counseling. Our individual therapy services include anxiety treatment, therapy for children, teen therapy, depression treatment, codependency counseling and individual relationship counseling. Our therapists offer online counseling in California to treat a variety of mental health concerns. Please reach out to our Sacramento area therapy office to learn more about the many ways we can help you or your loved ones.